Tag Archives: Fisheries and Oceans

Assessing the salmon evidence… cost and costs?

cost of Justice Cohen's recommendations?

cost of Justice Cohen’s recommendations? (# Recommendations from Volume 3 report)

In reading through Justice Cohen’s 1000+ pages reports, there is quite a bit of positive recommendations, ‘conclusions’, etc. — however there are some glaring contradictions, and sad disappointments.

Justice Cohen explains his weight given to evidence in Volume 2 of the Cohen Commission Final Report: The Uncertain Future of Fraser Sockeye – Causes of the Decline:

Assessment of the evidence
In the field of law, lawyers and judges ask whether the evidence led at a trial “proves” the case. In a civil trial, the plaintiff must prove his or her case on the balance of probabilities – that is, the judge or jury must be satisfied that the plaintiff’s version of events is more likely than not true. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove the accused’s guilt to a much higher standard – beyond a reasonable doubt.

In this Inquiry, I have not conducted a trial, and in relation to making findings of fact regarding the causes of the decline, it would not be appropriate in my view to apply either the civil or the criminal standard of proof set out above. Rather, I use terms that express likelihood or degrees of certainty to describe the strength or weakness of the evidence, as did many of the authors of technical reports and other witnesses who testified during our hearings. (pg. 103)

The good Justice suggests in the 2nd volume:

It is not, in my view, a matter of choosing one potential cause over the other [for Fraser salmon declines]. Given our limited understanding of how the many identified stressors actually affect Fraser River sockeye and how regional processes affect many different sockeye stocks, prudence dictates that neither be ruled out.

The available evidence has identified a risk that both Fraser River–specific stressors and region-wide influences may have contributed to the long-term decline. Regrettably, that is as far as the evidence takes me. However, there are things that can be done to fill in knowledge gaps and progress toward finding cause-effect relationships.

Sadly, I think this is the great mis-guidance of our time… as well as a great contradiction. Plus a ‘limited evidence trail’ that cost some $25 million to write up.

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Here’s a true “cause-effect” relationship…  Catch Fraser River sockeye, bonk on head, dead fish.

Cause of death: catching and bonking…

Effect? Dead fish.

Not complicated. Quite simple really.

‘Climate change’ and Fraser sockeye? Human-altered salmon habitat and large salmon run declines?

Well… the ‘arguments’ for this will rage until the last sockeye comes home… and… well… moo’s like the cows that came home too…

And thus there’s all this legal talk by the good Justice of “available evidence” as well as the complex, Donald Rumsfeld (Dubya Bush’s former Secretary of Defense) ‘absence of evidence, not to be taken as evidence as absence‘, etc. As aren’t we essentially looking for ‘weapons of mass destruction’ of Fraser salmon…?

But what about ‘presence of evidence’ to be taken as ‘evidence of presence’? (well that may be likely or probability is high… and enter other wiggly, slippery words here…)

Climate change is one of those sticky ones… sure the ‘climate’ is changing… but is that ‘climate’ as in the entire global — if so, how do we prove or proof the evidence? Is there evidence of presence… like on a criminal trial burden of proof? or a civil? or Justice Cohen’s ‘probably likely’ tests used in these reports? [and no offence intended, this is a complex subject... higher burdens of 'proof' or 'evidence' would have meant no report.]

When it comes to climate change, these are debates raging around the world, with deniers and climate change gurus alike. My point is not to pick a side… but to point out the obvious… if we humans (especially those esteemed peer reviewed scientists) can’t even agree that climate change is occurring or not, and that human activities are the cause, or at least accelerating what may be occurring naturally since the last ice age…

…then how are we having these theoretical discussions about theoretical impacts on things like ‘Fraser sockeye’ — from the ocean to the natal stream…?

And how do we separate out the historical reality that during the last big glacial advance, say some 10,000 or 12,000 years ago… wild salmon barely existed between north of the Columbia River and somewhere in Alaska and the Yukon (e.g. Beringia)… theories suggest some salmon were living as far south as areas in Mexico during the big glacial advances.

If that’s the case… then wild salmon have done just fine re-colonizing after cataclysmic events…  And if that may (or may not) be the case… then do we really need to spend $26 million (or so), largely on lawyers, legal realm experts, and supposed ‘salmon experts’ (who essentially bickered with each other and ‘their’ research agendas) — and trying to implement a slew of recommendations that will probably cost some $500 million or so to actually implement…

[Note: completely theoretical number... disclaimer... i'm not a government economist prone to making grandiose economic predictions...like fighter jet cost budgeting...or niggling about cliff diving off the famed Fiscal Hills located near Washington, DC]

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See it’s commentary such as this – below – that drives me batty:

Only a few studies have explored the relationship between temperature and survival of immature sockeye salmon in the open ocean.

Oh, Ok…. so if we do more studies on the temperatures of the North Pacific and the ‘relationship between temp and survival’… we’re going to be able to better manage the relationship between ourselves and wild salmon?

Hmmmm. Let’s ponder that…

salmon… North Pacific… survival… temperature…

so are we measuring the temperature at the surface… 5 ft down… 15 ft down… (I know that whenever I swim in the North Pacific temperatures can range dramatically in a 30 ft radius, especially if there’s whales peeing in the area…)

How about where in the North Pacific…? it’s kind of big…

Survival…? Hmmmm. How?

Or better yet… how, accurately? Or wait… is it precision…?

… or accuracy…?

We can’t even get accurate counts of spawning salmon in a river 20 feet wide… and say 10 feet deep… let alone an ocean some several thousands of km wide and miles deep… full of salmon… well… from all across the Pacific Rim…

This is akin to trying to accurately measure the water displacement in my bathtub when a speck of dust lands in it… or better yet, tracking that speck of dust from my bathtub drain, some 800 km upstream of the mouth of the Fraser River, downstream, out to the Pacific, and how it impacts a gray whale migrating from Baja Mexico…

Yea…ok…

Page 77 of Volume 2 report:

During the evidentiary hearings, Dr. McKinnell testified that Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projections for future climate are difficult to represent in terms of the finer-scale climate, such as climate changes that will occur in British Columbia and what the response of the marine ecosystem will be in the northeastern Pacific Ocean.

Hmmm.

These consistent theories that suggest developing more theories, devised by professional theorists, will assist in devising a theoretical ‘management’ strategy (aka theory), implemented by more professional theorists, adhering to the initial theorists’ theories to catch theoretical salmon… just doesn’t hold a lot of water. Especially, when it’s all said and theoretically done… the Minister still has the unfettered power to overrule the theorists and make decisions that make more sense to the other professional, practitioning theorists… the economists.

So no matter how much we continue to debate, argue, protest, whine, snivel, shout, cry and kick&scream and then delay doing things… because of absence of data… or… is it absence of evidence… or is it evidence of data absence…

No… it’s ‘high likelihood’ and certain certainty or is it just likelihood and certain evidence… likelihood of data absence, or evidence of data likelihood…?

ah, I can’t remember… however, one things for sure… if you’re in the salmon theorizing field (and it’s a pretty small one) chances are pretty good that your job security, or research contracts are looking pretty decent.

Oh wait… under the current Canadian governing regime, only if it’s researching fish that supply a ‘fishery’…

Likelihood that the evidence of absent data gets filled in near future by present evidence and theory…? Low.

Likelihood that $$ continues to be wasted on theoretical processes that result in preconceived, unfettered decisions…? High.

Likelihood that even if evident data gaps got filled with evidence and data-gap filler, that our ‘management’ of salmon fisheries, salmon habitat, and slowing ‘climate change’ or ‘climate change impacts’ will occur…? Low!

(cost of that opinion… well… FREE).

Beware the “weak kneed skeptics” that criticize the gutting of Canada’s Fisheries Act – what a sham

What…?! fish don’t actually need habitat in a ‘conservative’ world…

The undoubted sign of a society well under control or in decline is that language has ceased to be a means of communication and has become instead a shield for those who master it…”   -John Ralston Saul, Canadian thinker.

Wow, where did these folks come from…(see photo above)? …Oh, wait, I think I can tell you… but i’ll leave that to my inside voice.

Let the gutting of Canada as you know it… Begin.

Maybe the Harper Conservatives/Reform didn’t watch the crash and burn of Danielle Smith’s girls gone Wild-rose party earlier this week in Alberta.

Even Canada’s “heartland” folks that some might say lean towards the right side of the spectrum and maybe a little tinge of crimson on the back of the neck… were not ready for ‘gays will die in hellfire’ and ‘white folks make better candidates’-type comments coming from folks wanting to be elected to government in AB.

…And a leader that said “gee, shucks, that’s just their personal views, don’t worry those won’t affect their politics…”

Or…maybe… just maybe… was it a crash and burn, or, simply completely blown polling results… who’s to know really…

But then we have Harper and his crew.

Take the picture above, straight off the “Fisheries and Oceans Canada” website: Harper Government Commits to the Responsible Protection and Conservation of Canada’s Fisheries.

The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, announced that the Harper government will introduce changes to protect the productivity of recreational, commercial and Aboriginal fisheries. This means focusing protection rules on real and significant threats to these fisheries and the habitat that supports them while setting clear standards and guidelines for routine projects.

And there it is… a point made many times on this salmonguy site… The Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans has the mandate to conserve and protect fish and fish habitat.

NOT… “responsible protection and conservation of Canada’s fisheries”…

Someone… pardon the pun… is missing the boat.

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From the Vancouver Sun yesterday:

Fisheries Act changes introduced amid debate over new law’s intent

OTTAWA — The Harper government unveiled a massive omnibus budget implementation bill Thursday that includes Fisheries Act amendments that will strip the term “habitat” from the most crucial section of the law.The government’s intent, according to a spokeswoman, to assist “everyday Canadians” in their dealings with federal fisheries bureaucrats.

And the official said allegations that the government is giving in to demands from energy and mining lobbyists are false.

“These are changes being made in our department that are designed to help Canadians — everyday Canadians: landowners, municipalities, farmers – be able to undertake activities on their properties without obtrusive interference by our department,” said Erin Filliter, spokeswoman for Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield.

Hmmm… interesting…  this is about everyday Canadians… says Ash-field.

But… but… I thought it was about “Responsible Protection and Conservation of Canada’s Fisheries

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The Vancouver Sun the day before yesterday:

Minister admits Fisheries Act changes could help speed project approvals

The quote in the first paragraph from the article cracks me up:
The federal government’s planned overhaul of the Fisheries Act may reduce the regulatory burden companies such as Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. face in getting approval for major projects, Fisheries Minister Keith Ash-field said Tuesday.
Yes, that’s not a typo on my part, it’s a direct quote… He’s Mr. Ash-field… hmmm. someone trying to say something at the Sun…?

But Ashfield rejected opposition accusations that the federal government’s plan for a “more sensible and practical” Fisheries Act was a result of corporate pressure from the energy and mining sectors. “It certainly hasn’t influenced me in any way shape or form. I have never sat down with [or] had any discussions with Enbridge,” he said in an interview.

Ashfield said farmers, municipalities and even some conservation groups in Canada support the government plan to shift regulatory enforcement focus away from general fish habitat and toward specific fish and fish habitat that are of “vital” importance to the recreational, commercial and aboriginal fisheries.

Oh yea… what about scientists, researchers, and streamkeeper groups? What about the 100,000 plus or so BC’ers that spend time cleaning creeks and streams and looking after fish and fish habitat?

Ashfield drew attention to groups outside the mining and energy sectors backing the changes, including the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Canadian Federation of Municipalities.

What horseshit, last time I checked, Ducks Unlimited wasn’t really a fish conservation organization…  doesn’t it work on protecting wetlands so that there’s more ducks to potentially shoot…?

And of course the federation of municipalities is going to go for it…

The bullshit that elected officials will spew out in the name of marketing and PR is astounding.

But Ashfield acknowledged his proposals could reduce Enbridge’s requirements under Fisheries Act habitat protection rules for the estimated 1,000 waterways its Northern Gateway pipeline will cross. “It could be determined that some of these waterways may not necessarily be vital waterways,” Ashfield said.

The government announcement stressed that the current fisheries law, which bans activity that results in the “harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat,” has been too broadly enforced.

Too “broadly enforced”!?

Show me all the frigging fines and convictions then.

You can’t, because there were only two in 2008.

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The Globe and Mail also ran an article on this issue the other day:

Tories to overhaul Fisheries Act

…But critics argue the government is looking to reduce the regulatory burden on energy and mining companies, and the changes will jeopardize rivers, streams and lakes that are part of broad and important ecosystems.

“This announcement does indicate an intention to compromise for some of Canada’s lakes, rivers and streams – whichever the government officials deem to be not vital,” said Lara Tessaro, staff lawyer with the Vancouver-based EcoJustice group.

“In the context of environmental protection, it is a really bizarre approach to have government officials handpick which lakes are not important. … What fish need to survive is healthy and productive habitats, from spawning grounds to rearing grounds to habitats for their entire food chain.”

Ms. Tessaro added that the legislative amendments are unnecessary if all the government wants to do is streamline the process for minor development projects, because they are covered by policy guidelines that could be easily changed.

Great, we’re going to have salmon and other fish habitat decisions made by ‘elected’ officials in Ottawa. Yup, those elected officials that come with a great breadth of knowledge about fish and fish habitat… (in Ottawa). Just like the Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure…

…real solid fish habitat folks those ones…

This is a sham.

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See it’s language like this article out of the Globe and Mail that sum up the current governing regime:

Blasting ‘weak-kneed’ skeptics, Tories fan out to plug EU trade deal

The Harper government’s PR machine will be working overtime Friday as 40 per cent of the Conservative cabinet fans out across the country to shore up support for a free trade deal with the European Union.

Fifteen cabinet ministers, three MPs and a senator will stage 18 separate events throughout Canada to play up the benefits of further opening this country’s markets to the 27-member EU bloc.

Interesting, I thought we were in a time of great cutbacks and savings…?

Public servants and ministries are being hacked and slashed in the name of smaller government… and yet: “Fifteen cabinet ministers, three MPs and a senator will stage 18 separate events throughout Canada to play up the benefits of further opening this country’s markets to the 27-member EU bloc.”

Sounds like wise spending to me… better get out there and replace all those “weak knees”…

Oh no wait… Health care spending is also in the works…

The Conservatives kicked off the public relations campaign Friday morning with an Ottawa speech by International Trade Minister Ed Fast to the Economic Club of Canada.

“Trade is not for skeptics or scoffers. It’s not for the weak-kneed or faint of heart,” Mr. Fast told his business audience.

Who are these people in power?

Oh wait, I know…

The article on trade concludes:

The Tories can’t really complain of obstructionism in Parliament by the NDP now that the Harper government controls the Commons and, effectively, the Senate.

The Tories can use their majority powers – 166 seats – to limit and curb debate on any bill they want passed.

Nothing like bullies in power that love public relations campaign and the great spin machine.

Can only sit and watch the dismantling and then the nosedive and faceflop in the next election as Harper’s recent nosedive in the polls show.

Harper’s brand hits ‘new low’ amid robo-call, F-35 scandals: poll

As his beloved Ministers continue to be embroiled in conflict of interest scandals, spending scandals, lying about true costs of fighter jet scandals, etc… What’s next for the ‘Blue’ men group?

(And yet all of this shenanigan-ing on the Fisheries Act carrying on while Justice Cohen still deliberates on the Fraser sockeye situation… glad to see that Harper and the gang have essentially written off that $20 million process…)

DFO Shitshow planning on going sneaky… Some folks seem to forget: ‘NO HABITAT, NO FISH!’

one might wrongly assume that "deterrence" is the reason...

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It has been a little while since I’ve had to do two posts in one day… however the news on the wire today regarding the Harper Government assault on fish, fisheries, coastal communities and so on — is impressive.

The graph above comes from information presented at the Cohen Commission into Declines of Fraser River sockeye.

It also comes from a press release put out today by Otto Langer an over 30-year DFO staffer, and even longer-time award-winning, fish biologist.

The full press release can be downloaded here: Otto Langer Press Release on Harper gutting Fisheries Act

Here are some lowlights of the apparent Harper Conservative plan to sneak a gutting of the Fisheries Act on to the back of the upcoming Budget Ombnibus Bill.

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Langer's Fisheries Act historical summary

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Here’s the current reading of Section 35 of the Fisheries Act — pretty clear and to the point, yet still challenging to prove in court…:

current Section 35 of Canada's Fisheries Act.

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Here’s the new weasel-word, bumpf-filled, ambiguity-laced — giving Ministerial fettering to everything — language that is trying to be sneaked in without consultation with anyone:

New Reform... ahhh... i mean Conservative government weasel words proposed for Fisheries Act.

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As Langer points out in his press release:

The newly drafted provision [35(1) above that takes out 'habitat' and adds 'fish']  legislation is not intended to protect fish habitat in any matter whatsoever.

Langer’s anecdote to this is great… he remembers a time when DFO used to hand out pens at conferences and such that said:

NO HABITAT, NO FISH!

Fitting close to the press release:

nothing like a 'neutering' to ruin your day...

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In closing this pathetic state of affairs and ongoing shitshow at DFO… (and other areas of Canada)…

One could look at the graph above and suggest to Mr. “tough-on-crime” Harper that it seems crimes are going down everywhere… even in the destruction of fisheries habitat.

Look at this wonderful graph proving the ever effective crime-fighting tactic of: DETERRENCE.

Must be that Fisheries Act violations have just got so nasty and onerous for polluters that the need for investigations is dwindling, and deterrence is working….

…hmmmm….

Somehow I doubt it.

48 convictions in 1998 down to 1 conviction in 2008.

This is called a gutting of staff, balls, and teeth — and most sadly, destruction of fish habitat, especially wild salmon’s, at an alarming rate.

This also means an enforcement and compliance division within DFO that probably feels about as proud of their job as a child labourer putting together those blue jeans you’re wearing…

Nothing like job security, meaningfulness, and pride to really make a Ministry sing with glee…

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Goal for Harper and his Reform buddies… 0 [zero] convictions, under the Fisheries Act.

Let’s get tough on crime, everybody…

(or fish, i suppose, depending on which way you look at it).

Plus, I was just wondering (in reference to the ‘proposed’ amendments) … ummm…

…which “fish” does not have an “ecological value“?

And could somebody please show me the legal definition of “ecological value” or even ‘economic’ or ‘cultural value’ for that reason.

That’s the point.

This is about as gray, fuzzy, and blurry as that Hawiian highway was for Gordon Campbell back in the early 2000s. [oh right, it was his personal holiday... not government business]

Translation…. 0 convictions.

(and tarsands expansion, and pipelines rammed down BC’ers throats, and more fracking, and so on and so on.)

Hold on to your hats, here comes George W. Bush Canadian-style. (sans the required apology… “oh sorry, excuse me new NDP leader” says PM-bully Harper…)

(NOT).

Think the Fisheries Act is going to get neutered… well… this ain’t nothing yet (under this ‘majority)… going to be a whole lot of current legislation losing their balls… going to be an all out choir fest.

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And just to really ruin your fishy day… take a look at most recent post at Alex Morton’s website:

ISA virus in BC Supermarkets and Vedder River

She had Atlantic salmon tested that she bought at 3 B.C. supermarkets (most likely Vancouver Is.)

Five of them tested positive for ISA [infectious salmon anemia].

Yet, the Feds, DFO, the Province and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency continue to deny that ISA exists on the BC coast.

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Oh wait… I can hear the response from Harpers PMO office…

“ohhhh…. you mean thatISA… we thought you were talking about a different ISA…(like the cartoon character from Dora the Explorer… or something..)”

ISA from Dora the Explorer

…oh yeah, we’ve actually known that that ISA… that nasty salmon thingy…has actually been here for decades… probably since the last Conservative majority (the real Conservatives… think Mulroney, and Clarke and stuff…) …sorry for the confusion, everyone…”

[Harper (whispering): "hey Ashfield, somebody go muzzle a scientist or audit an enviro-terrorist organization or something..."]

 

department of fisheries and oceans… (DFO)… rhymes with ‘shitshow’…

 

latest page on site...

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Quite entertainingly… if you do a web search of the term “shitshow” there are some similarities in definitions, mainly:

n. A messy situation, especially involving drunkenness and partying.

There’s another good one that provides the use of the term in a sentence:

Things can’t possibly be so bad at work that you’d volunteer for another trip to this shitshow.

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I actually had intentions of doing a post on the apparent Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO/shitshow)  ‘modernization plan for Canada’s commercial fisheries.’

This was intended to be a follow-up to two previous posts on this disaster of a document:  The future of Canada’s schizophrenic Fisheries Ministry… called into question. (And DFO gets another new name.) which ended out being quite a popular post after looking at stats for this website.

The other: The future of Canada’s schizophrenic Fisheries Ministry… Politicians of Canada: time to get a frigging grip.

The last post commenting on:

Who’s responsible for this mess?

Producing hundreds upon hundreds of pages of documents and then labeling them nice boutique-y names like a “suite of policies” — does not a plan make…

Last thought… of which future posts will delve into…

At the moment, research and statistics suggest that just under 50% of Canadians do not have the literacy required to meet day-to-day life demands.

This means, 50% of Canadians have literacy levels below the International Adult Literacy rate survey rating of Level 3 — which is approximately the level that someone graduating from high school reads at.

Yet, Minister Ashfield carries on about:

It is estimated that 80,000 Canadians make their living or a portion of their living directly from fishing and fishing-related activities. But current practices and regulations, along with a challenging global market, are increasingly restricting the ability of Canada’s fisheries to contribute to Canadian prosperity in a changing economic climate.

Well… if close to 40,000 of those Canadians do not possess the literacy skills required to meet day-to-day demands of life — then how the hell are they going to wade through the hundreds and hundreds of pages, PowerPoint slides, pathetic YouTube videos of PowerPoint slides, and webpages to adequately “comment” and be adequately “consulted” on an issue that affects Canadians from coast to coast to coast?

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And as mentioned in that post, I was going to expand on this issue of low literacy in Canada, and true democracy.

You know that ‘democracy’ espoused by so many ‘western’ politicians these days that has its roots in the ancient Greek meaning of the word:

from Greek demokratia “popular government,” from demos “common people,” originally “district” + kratos “rule, strength”.

Good ‘ol, government rule for the people, by the people and so on and so on…

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I was then going to do a little map for the sheer number of documents that one would need to read in relation to this apparent ‘modernization’ plan, simply to be able to adequately comment on how all the pieces apparently fit together…

… in other words, translate the ‘bumpf’ and bureaucratic-speak…

BUTTTT…

When I went back to the DFO website to try and find all of these documents, I found this:

Ooops... how embarassing... "not found"...

Gee… is the DFO website in this area crashed because of the sheer number of people visiting the day before the apparent… slash that… the second try at a deadline for comments, which is apparently tomorrow, March. 14, 2012??

Oddly, this is still at the DFO website (this is another screenshot):

still there... no links to actual document...

But there’s no documents available anymore, no links…

… other than links to the “consultation” page.

One can still go provide their comments on the ‘modernization plan’, which isn’t actually on the website anymore, in the little defined, limited boxes:

consultation on a non-existent document...?

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So I guess DFO subversively blocked my webpost today…

I was going to ask the question: how does consultation occur with the ‘people’ that comprise ‘democracy’ if close to 50% of them do not have the literacy they require for day-to-day life and jobs — let alone commenting adequately on hundreds if not thousands of pages of DFO documents and proposals?

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But… today, a day before the deadline for comments… ummm… literacy is not the issue…

… as there’s no document to read.

It’s gone.

… slipped into the electronic ether… or just pulled off the site by DFO?

Oooops.

I’ve provided an edited cover though…

do a web search with the title of this document in it: “the future of Canada’s commercial fisheries”…

from east to west on Canada’s coast, people are pissed off.

Hmmm… wonder if that has anything to do with the mysterious document disappearance?

the DFO shitshow

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maybe the songwriters or poets out there can gets started on a catchy diddy on this one:

Hey, ho… we’re DFO… we don’t know,cuz we’re a shitshow. Hey ho, what do you know,about the DFO shitshow.consultation… blaahhh.modernization… yeehaaah.

(or something like that…)

The future of Canada’s schizophrenic Fisheries Ministry… Politicians of Canada: time to get a frigging grip.

Somehow… magically… today… a deadline disappeared.

For some miraculous reason, the deadline for feedback to DFO on their new “suite of policies” was changed from today Feb. 29 to March 14, 2012.

I’m guessing that people and organizations that may have actually waded through the paper maze, were super-impressed to see the deadline magically change sometime today. Nothing like extending for two weeks midway through the deadline day…

But wait, Conservative Minister Ashfield has a press release that just went out today.

The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced today that Fisheries and Oceans Canada will extend the period of online consultation on modernizing Canada’s fisheries until March 14, 2012.  The period of consultation will be extended to encourage further collaboration and to ensure that voices of fish harvesters are heard.

Hmmmm. If you didn’t read the last post on this matter, have a gander here:

The future of Canada’s schizophrenic Fisheries Ministry… called into question. (And DFO gets another new name.)

Wondering why maybe the extension…

new name...

Minister Ashfield says:

“Over the past several months, I have had extensive meetings with Canada’s fishing sector and I hear consistently that the system needs to change,” noted Minister Ashfield. “Fishermen want our management system to reflect their business needs.  Our role in government is to ensure sustainability of the resource and create a healthy business environment and that is what we intend to achieve.”

I bet you do… I bet you do… and I don’t imagine the lobby power of some Canadian business folks that have substantial commercial fishing interests, has had any impact on these current ‘initiatives’…?

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Latest Department of Fisheries and Oceans brainwave…?

A plan… that isn’t… actually… well… “A PLAN.”

See… a “plan” is generally defined as “a method for achieving an end.”

The online Merriam Webster Dictionary define it in a few different ways:

2. a: a method for achieving an end.
    b: an often customary method of doing something : procedure.
    c: a detailed formulation of a program of action.
    d: goal, aim.
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3. : an orderly arrangement of parts of an overall design or objective.

The Online Dictionary has a helpful definition:

a specific project or definite purpose: plans for the future.

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Well, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans apparently has a new approach: “a fresh approach.”

This from their website and fancy, glossy new document regarding the “future of Canada’s commercial fisheries” :

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An ‘IFMP’ is an “Integrated Fisheries Management Plan”.

On the DFO website, they explain the purpose of these ‘plans’:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) uses Integrated Fisheries Management Plans (IFMPs) to guide the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. An IFMP is developed to manage the fishery of a particular species in a given region. IFMPs combine the best available science on a species with industry data on capacity and methods for harvesting that species.

So… I’m curious then, how business goals of “efficiency, consistency, and predictability” fit with the #1 mandate of the Department which is “conservation”?

Also wondering how ‘consistency’ and ‘predictability’ are going to work out in an industry that relies upon nature to produce its bounty?

Last time I checked, wild salmon returns weren’t all that ‘predictable’… hence why $20 million judicial inquiries and public reviews….

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I’m also a little curious, from the snippet above,  what definition of “evergreen” DFO is going by…?

I’m guessing it’s not the definition which suggests a tree that keeps its foliage…

So it must be referring to that other use of the word:

3. Something that remains perennially fresh, interesting, or well liked.

Hmmm. Maybe the editors of this fancy, glossy document might have a think about that term… especially in relation to documents (a.k.a. plans) that generally reach several hundred pages every year…

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However, in the spirit of a “fresh approach” at one of the most outdated federal ministries going, let’s look a little further inside…

… in this “fresh approach” it appears, though, that these ‘suite of documents’ will no longer really be a “plan”.

As… ummmm…. if a ‘plan’ does not have a specific end date, is it a “plan”?

Does it have an objective?

Is it measurable… and who’s measuring?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

It would seem that a ‘plan’ with no specific end date would certainly not fit into Merriam Dictionary definition 2. a as it has no end date and thus no specific end…

Doesn’t fit 2. b because after much reading and perusing, I still haven’t found anything that clearly lays out a “method of doing something.” There’s a lot of theorizing about what might be done, but show me something actually tangible and open for comment. Like…maybe…

a plan.

Doesn’t fit 2. c because there really isn’t any real formulated ‘plan of action’ — just a whole lot of theorizing about what “may” be done. (more on that in the near future).

Doesn’t fit 2. d because there is no actual “goal” — it’s a whole lot of “aspirational” — just as PM Harper recently commented on aboriginal efforts in Canada to change education systems.

Definitely not 3., as, inasmuch as there is a whole slew of documents and PowerPoint slides and PDF files, and nice little diagrams about how it all fits together – just so

There really is, however, so little substance or anything actually tangible.

You know… like a “PLAN”.

Or as the Free Online dictionary suggests “a specific project”…

This whole shenanigan is largely a paper shuffling exercise of the n-th degree. Paper shuffling ‘Pi r squared.’ (apologies to the bureacrats that have probably dedicated the last 2-3 years, hands on keyboard, typing up this slop, and meeting, and typing, and preparing PowerPoint slides, and meeting, and typing…and… and)

And, just as Minister Ashfield suggests, “Fishermen want our management system to reflect their business needs”…

Yes, I’m sure they do… however, there’s also this great slew of Canadians that also want fisheries resources — like wild salmon — to simply meet their needs, desires, spiritual beliefs, and simple comfort of knowing they are still there cycling through their millions of years old cycle, and feeding everything that they touch.

Upstream, downstream. Coast, Ocean. North Pacific Gyre. Coast, upstream, downstream…

(rinse and repeat…)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Who’s responsible for this mess?

Producing hundreds upon hundreds of pages of documents and then labeling them nice boutique-y names like a “suite of policies” — does not a plan make…

Last thought… of which future posts will delve into…

At the moment, research and statistics suggest that just under 50% of Canadians do not have the literacy required to meet day-to-day life demands.

This means, 50% of Canadians have literacy levels below the International Adult Literacy rate survey rating of Level 3 — which is approximately the level that someone graduating from high school reads at.

Yet, Minister Ashfield carries on about:

It is estimated that 80,000 Canadians make their living or a portion of their living directly from fishing and fishing-related activities. But current practices and regulations, along with a challenging global market, are increasingly restricting the ability of Canada’s fisheries to contribute to Canadian prosperity in a changing economic climate.

Well… if close to 40,000 of those Canadians do not possess the literacy skills required to meet day-to-day demands of life — then how the hell are they going to wade through the hundreds and hundreds of pages, PowerPoint slides, pathetic YouTube videos of PowerPoint slides, and webpages to adequately “comment” and be adequately “consulted” on an issue that affects Canadians from coast to coast to coast?

Politicians of Canada — time to get a grip.

 

The future of Canada’s schizophrenic Fisheries Ministry… called into question. (And DFO gets another new name.)

New name at DFO: "Department of Fisheries and Profits"

A new name has yet again been adopted by the ‘Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ in Canada.

It will now be called the: “Department of Fisheries and Profits”. 

Cutely referred to in Ottawa (about as far from Canada’s fishing industries as one can get) as DFP.

new name...

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

The image above is from a recently released ‘discussion paper’. From what Google suggests, this document was posted in mid-January 2012, quite quietly apparently. Some groups, such as First Nations in BC just had it sent to them in the last few days.

The deadline for comment on this paper — which doesn’t actually really have anything of substance to “comment” on is Feb. 29th (less than a week from now).

As PM Harper likes to say… this is an “aspirational” document.

With next to no substance. In other words… salmonguy words… this is a bunch of fluff, bumpf and BS.

It’s also a schizophrenic document that contradicts itself at several points — however, the one thing that it makes abundantly clear: Canada’s fish populations are for economic prosperity first.

The sustainability section comes up on page 18 of 28… just after the “Prosperity” section.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

One of the odd things about this “aspirational” document, is that it comes out while Justice Cohen is still buried in his (and his team’s) work in producing a report on the $20+ million Cohen Commission into Fraser River sockeye declines.

This is the same Commission that essentially forced DFO to shut down in the Pacific Region and dedicate itself to defending and justifying itself and it’s actions since the last five or so Fraser River sockeye commissions, reviews and so on….

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Let’s take a quick tour inside of DFP’s latest: “aspirational document”:

Isn’t this just the cutest thing…?

so cute...

Rather than using the old business term “bottom line”, the clever writers and designers of this fancy document used “the top line” — so many double meanings & entendres…

They’re so cute there at DFO (like Harper and his scratching the $10 million panda bear in China).

But let’s get right to it.

This comes early in the document… and here we have it as highlighted above:

…create a business environment conducive to economic prosperity

So let’s not shy away here. Let’s just get right to it.

Canada’s Department of Fisheries & that Other stuff. (DFO) is very much now about ‘maximizing profits‘, ‘economic prosperity‘ and ‘good business environments’.

Good thing.

Especially when Canada is also ranked 125th out of 127 Nations in fisheries conservation — as reported in a recent Royal Society of Canada report.

(see: Canada is pathetically ranked 125th of 127 countries in fisheries conservation… )

And not to mention those other pesky fisheries stats from around the world (let’s just say they aren’t really a positive, feel-good type thing):

Oceans’ Fish Could Disappear by 2050: Without fundamental restructuring of the fishing industry, our oceans could essentially become barren deserts.

THE GIST

  • Fishless oceans could be a very real possibility by 2050.

  • According to the UN, 30 percent of fish stocks have already collapsed.

  • One billion people, mostly from poorer countries, rely on fish as their main animal protein source.”

“If the various estimates we have received… come true, then we are in the situation where 40 years down the line we, effectively, are out of fish,” Pavan Sukhdev, head of the UN Environment Program’s green economy initiative, told journalists in New York.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

So, yeah… let’s get Canada’s fisheries harvesters: “to self-adjust”, as suggested in image quote above:

what does "self adjust" mean?

Ummm, DFO… errrr… DFP… what exactly does “self adjust” mean?

Does that mean when estimates suggest population is down, then fishers should stop harvesting?

Or… does it mean, if market says: “we need more fish!” that we just keep harvesting?

Which takes priority — resource fluctuations, or market demands?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Curiously, the online free dictionary offers this definition:

Self-adjusting: Capable of assuming a desired position or condition with relation to other parts, under varying circumstances, without requiring to be adjusted by hand.

Hmmm.

Now this definition refers to machines and such, but it’s decent one to run with here — since DFO provides no definition of what this actually means.

If you’ve read older posts on this site, or simply look up the etymology of “manage” or “management” it comes from Latin “manus” which means hand, and maneggiare “to handle,” especially in relation to horses.

(or… I suppose, in this case, fish harvesters…)

So, management, has to do with handling others (such as horses, or people fishing, or through other regulations). Or… should we also be thinking about the good old Adam Smiths’:  “invisible hand of the market” — which refers to ‘self regulation’…

As some online definitions suggest:  Smith’s invisible hand refers to an “important claim that by trying to maximize their own gains in a free market, individual ambition benefits society, even if the ambitious have no benevolent intentions.”

Hmmm. Sounds like the history of fish harvesting on the planet.

I don’t think people fishing for a living, or simply fishing for food for their family have “no benevolent intentions”… many may actually be very conservation-minded (I know several). However, it’s simply a numbers game. We have taken far, far, far too many fish over the last century and more, and in the meantime nuked fish habitat.

See along with dancing Adam Smith and his invisible hand is dour Hardin’s “tragedy of the commons.”

Doesn’t “self regulation” and “tragedy of the commons” kind of go hand-in-hand… you know… like do-si-do (prounounced doe-see-doe) your partner in square dancing…?

Nothing like: ‘Self-regulating your own tragedy

…which we will all have in common,

as will our grandkids….

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Bottom line on the “top line” folks, when it comes to the future of Canada’s fisheries:

Prosperity... folks... prosperity

This is page 14 (of 28) so right in the middle of the document.

But read carefully: essentially, and I paraphrase. There are “restrictive licensing rules” and economic prosperity is limited…

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Similar to this thought, comes from Page 7 of the document:

"management needs to change"

.

You know, I couldn’t agree more with the “patchwork manner”.

The 'mystical', mystery, "Wild Salmon Policy"

I’ve shared this image far-and-wide.

I was involved in early consultations on DFO’s… errrr… DFP’s “Wild Salmon Policy” in the late 1990s when it first started as an “aspirational” document.

And… well… we’re still “aspiring”…

.

.

.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
And so continuing on…

The document above suggests:

“decision are often made ad hoc instead of in a structured, strategic way…”

and, apparently: we’re having trouble “maximizing economic benefits” for the fishing industry.

Hmmm. I don’t imagine overfishing and mis-guided policy drivers such as “maximum sustainable yield” over the last century have anything to do with our fisheries issues these days…?

OH, BUT WAIT…

Here it is… don’t worry… I found it at the back of the document:

"Sustainability" the biggest, mean nothing word of the new millenium...

.

… DFP (formerly DFO) is going to be “supporting sustainable fisheries”…

It’s just on page 18 after the section on “PROSPERITY”…

You know… prosperity now… sustainability later…

Here are the words of wisdom on: “Sustainability”:

 

"Sustainability"... the great fluff word of the 21st century

.

Look it says it, right up there…

sustainability is a top priority“… there’s great things like “precautionary approach” and “ecosystem mangement”…

(All of which simply exist to maximize those “threatened POTENTIAL economic gains”…)

only problem… just like the document says… “DFO has developed and begun implementing”…

If we’re just beginning, only just “begun”… then we might have a problem…

However, no worries mate, we now have “established a solid foundation for sustainable harvesting moving forward”…

BUT…

didn’t you just state earlier in the document that “fisheries management needs to change”…?

That fisheries decisions are made ad hoc, non-strategically, and non-structured…?

That the industry is inhibited?

That profit is not maximized?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

So who was responsible for that?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

.

.

.

.

Oh wait… the same ministry that wrote this document…

.

.

How is it that Canadians, and the international community (of which Canada is signatory to agreements), are supposed to trust a Ministry that blatantly contradicts itself in its own “aspirational” documents?

This is rather ludicrous…

The document contradicts itself, this ministry continues to contradict itself.

This federal Ministry is a:

CONTRADICTION

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

It’s also completely SCHIZOPHRENIC (and no offense intended to those suffering from this mental illness).

This type of document describes things as if it wasn’t actually THIS Department of Fisheries and Oceans that is responsible for how things used to be done.

ACT I:

(DFO says: “no, not us”)

ACT II:

It was a different DEPARTMENT… it was THAT department over there…

(“them… yup… them over there”…)

(said as they point in the mirror)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Last time I checked, many of the same people I dealt with in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans ten years ago… are still the same people in the organization… just that they’ve been promoted…

The simple, “stick around long enough, we’ll promote you” policies of government ministries (apologies to those senior gov. managers that do not succumb to the Peter Principle…)

_ _ _ _ _ _

OH… wait… just wait…

you can go comment on this ‘aspirational’ document at the DFO website.

Yes, you too, can participate in this shenanigan called “public consultation”…

They’ve helped you out, they ask you to comment on the following questions, and I quote directly from the site (and these are the only questions that are asked online — isn’t it great this whole digital public consultation thing… they’re so helpful…):

DFO would like your input on the current web of rules that governs how commercial fisheries are managed.   

Section #1 – Economic Prosperity

DFO would like your input on the current web of rules that governs how commercial fisheries are managed.  

  • Are there any rules you would consider obsolete given today’s economy and current management approaches?

Section #2 – Sustainable Fisheries

Canadian commercial fisheries have gained considerable experience in managing bycatch and discards over the years.

  • Does the proposed Policy Framework on Managing Bycatch and Discards provide adequate guidance on how to address bycatch and discards in Canadian fisheries?

 

[sorry, we just slipped that little "web of rules" comment in there... that's not misleading in the least... not even subliminal hints for one second...]

[cuz no one likes being caught in a "web of rules" do they?... this isn't leading the witness in the least... says the judge]

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

There’s little boxes for you to fill in… (so helpful).

Apparently, the sustainability of Canada’s fisheries only deal with “bycatch”…

Wow, please, someone recommend a gutting of this ministry.

You simply cannot be a “Department of Fisheries” and yet be responsible for conservation and preservation of actual fish populations.

It’s a contradiction in terms. Killing fish is not ‘conserving’ them, nor ‘preserving’ them.

Not that killing fish is bad, I like to eat them too, but I’d like me kids to be able to eat them too…

It’s just propaganda like this is fundamentally exhausting.

Still doubting that ‘marketing is everything and everything is marketing…’?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

Canada is pathetically ranked 125th of 127 countries in fisheries conservation. If this was our hockey ranking, what would be the National response?

Why is this not a major headline in Canada’s newspapers today?

This is fundamentally embarrassing to all Canadians.

And an absolute embarrassment to the federal government: current governing regime and opposition parties alike.

We are but an island surrounded by three coastlines – east, west, and north. We celebrate our coastlines, our oceans, our marine environment, our fisheries, and so on. Canada has the world’s longest coastline and a total of 7.1 million square kilometres of ocean.

Yet, as the Royal Society presents in their report just released:

Sustaining Canada’s Marine Biodiversity: Responding to the Challenges Posed by Climate Change, Fisheries, and Aquaculture

 

  • …among industrialized fishing nations, the status of Canada’s marine fish stocks is among the worst in the world.

.

  • Researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities constructed an Environmental Performance Index and used it to rank 163 countries on 25 performance indicators, for environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. In this analysis, Canada was ranked 125th of 127 countries in terms of fisheries conservation.

 

[If we ranked this low in hockey, what would be the National response?]

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Here are the “MAIN MESSAGES —SUSTAINING CANADIAN MARINE BIODIVERSITY” available in PDF from the website link above.

  • Canada sees itself as a world leader in ocean management, but we have failed to meet most of our national and international commitments to protect marine biodiversity.

.

  • Canada lags behind other modernized nations in almost every aspect of fisheries management. Despite pledges on conservation and sound policies, Fisheries and Oceans has generally done a poor job of managing fish stocks, planning for whole ecosystems and protecting marine biodiversity.

.

  • The government should act to review and rewrite outdated statutes, take rapid action on national and international commitments, curtail the discretionary powers of the minister of Fisheries and Oceans and move to limit regulatory conflict in that department.

.

  • Canada needs national operational objectives to protect and restore natural diversity and to rebuild depleted populations and species. Improving and protecting ocean health will restore the natural resilience of Canada’s marine ecosystems to adapt in response to the challenges posed by climate change and other human activities.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Here are some ‘lowlights’ from the report:

After examining the evidence, we conclude Canada has made little substantive progress in meeting its commitments to sustain marine biodiversity. Although Canada has developed and signed on to sound policies and agreements, and heralded good ideas with strong rhetoric, comparatively little has actually been done, leaving many of our national and international obligations unfulfilled.

[hmmmm, does this sound like our/Canada's approach to climate change?]

That can — and must — be changed, starting with the Oceans Act. This 1996 law was a landmark in the move toward managing the oceans from an ecosystem perspective, after decades of focusing on one species or habitat at a time, without regard to the intricacies of biodiversity. Unlike the Fisheries Act, it provided a clearly articulated legislative foundation for marine conservation (an objective no one would even have considered in 1868, when the Fisheries Act was written). It was followed by the Species at Risk Act (2002), which included a commitment to develop legislation for the protection of threatened species.

But neither has lived up to its promise

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

In ecosystem-based management, decisions must take into account the sustainability of ecosystem components and attributes. In several jurisdictions, policies and regulations now use this more comprehensive viewpoint.

Effective ecosystem-based management usually involves the “precautionary approach”, which stresses that the absence of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing decisions where there is a chance of serious or irreversible harm. They also set “reference” targets to warn when stocks are getting low and include plans for promoting recovery if a population drops too far.

In contrast to other developed fishing countries, Canada has not adopted the use of reference points. For example, 20 years after the collapse of Newfoundland’s northern cod (once one of the largest fish stocks in the world,) there is still no recovery target, let alone a timeline for rebuilding.

We think that is unacceptable.

One consequence of this lack of initiative is that, among industrialized fishing nations, the status of Canada’s marine fish stocks is among the worst in the world.

In fact, compared to other major fishing nations such as Australia and New Zealand, Canada is moving very slowly on incorporating ecosystem indicators into scientific guidance. Our policies for conservation of wild Pacific and Atlantic salmon, for example, recognize the need for consideration of ecosystem-level.

But they have yet to be implemented.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Driving reform of the Fisheries Act will not be easy. There is no indication the health of the ocean is a great concern for the present government.

In the Speech From the Throne that opened Canada’s 41st Parliament on June 3, 2011, there was no reference to climate change, species recovery, fisheries rebuilding, or marine biodiversity. Neither the word ‘ocean’ nor ‘Arctic’ was mentioned in the throne speech.

The ‘sea’ was mentioned in the context of a government commitment to complete the Dempster Highway to connect Canada “by road from sea to sea to sea”. ‘Fishing’ was used only in the context of a government pledge to support it and other industries “as they innovate and grow”.

As well, the Fisheries Act delegates absolute discretion to the minister of Fisheries and Oceans [who in many cases couldn't tell the difference between a northern pike and a pink salmon] to make decisions, with no formalized scientific guidelines or environmental framework for them.

That leaves important biodiversity issues open to dictates of passing political concerns and is completely at odds with the best practices of fisheries legislation that supports sustainability, such as in the US, Norway, and Australia.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Further legislative measures that should be considered to adequately protect marine biodiversity include:

  • Ending the inherent conflict within DFO to promote industry and economic activity on one hand and the conservation of fish and aquatic ecosystems on the other;

[hmmm, anyone who has read posts on this blog has heard this point before -- if you have a federal Ministry with the word "Fisheries" in it... and its central mandate is "conservation"... then there is a problem]

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

The preamble to the Oceans Act says Parliament wished “to reaffirm Canada’s role as a world leader in oceans and marine resources management.” This was a remarkable statement, given the Act was passed in 1996, a short four years after the collapse of the northern cod fishery.

That one example of resource mismanagement was not only the greatest numerical loss of a vertebrate in Canadian history, it resulted in the greatest single layoff in Canada when between 30-40,000 people lost their jobs. It also cost $2-3 billion in social and economic financial aid.

But rhetoric over substance too often characterizes the Government of Canada’s handling of its oceans and their marine biodiversity. In contrast to Canada’s self-proclaimed ocean leadership, analyses of Canada’s marine conservation and management initiatives are less than complimentary.

Researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities constructed an Environmental Performance Index and used it to rank 163 countries on 25 performance indicators, for environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. In this analysis, Canada was ranked 125th of 127 countries in terms of fisheries conservation.

Canada has consistently failed to meet targets and obligations to conserve biodiversity and promote sustainability. The government has the knowledge, expertise and even the policy and legislation it needs to correct that; but multiple factors have combined to slow the pace of statutory and policy implementation almost to a standstill.

Those factors, we believe, include the inherent conflict at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, which has mandates both to promote industrial and economic activity and to conserve marine life and ocean health. The minister of Fisheries and Oceans has excessive discretionary power to dictate activities that should be directed by science and shaped by transparent social and political values.

Canada’s progress has been unduly slow in both an absolute sense (some commitments have still not been met almost two decades after they were agreed on) and comparatively — other western industrialized nations have made substantive progress in meeting, and often exceeding, their national and international commitments to sustain marine biodiversity.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Fundamentally embarrassing and disgraceful. Yet saying so with current governing regime will get one labelled a ‘renegade’ or ‘treasoner’ or whatever other empty rhetoric that the Reform Party, err wait, I mean the Conservative party has to offer.

Yet, this is not at the hands of one political party… everyone one of the four main Parties that have been active over the last couple of decades bears a responsibility.

It’s disgraceful.

Hopefully Justice Cohen is reading this and takes a good stab at the issue in this disgraceful situation being afflicted upon Fraser sockeye — and Pacific wild salmon in general on Canada’s left coast.

And media response to this report so far… about all I’ve see is the Vancouver Sun:

Canada’s failure to protect marine biodiversity ‘disappointing and dismaying,’ asserts panel chair

Canada is failing miserably at protecting its rich marine biodiversity from the looming threat of climate change, an expert-panel report for the Royal Society of Canada concluded Thursday.

“Canada has made little substantive progress in fulfilling national and international commitments to sustain marine biodiversity,” the panel report found.

The report noted that the Fisheries Act is beset with regulatory conflicts in terms of protecting and exploiting fish stocks, and the minister of fisheries and oceans wields too much discretionary power.

The report also says the Species at Risk Act has proven ineffective at protecting and recovering marine species at risk, and a promised national marine protected areas network “remains unfilled.”

The application of a “precautionary” management approach with harvest-control rules and recovery plans remains “absent for most fisheries,” the report added.

Panel chairman Jeff Hutchings, a biology professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said the federal government’s lack of action at protecting marine biodiversity is “extremely disappointing and dismaying,” a concern that also applies to management of high-profile Atlantic cod stocks.

“Anybody can see, and anybody can assuredly be bloody angry, that 20 years after the collapse of the northern cod fishery we don’t have a target for recovery,” he told a Vancouver news conference. “How is that possibly consistent with responsible management of our oceans?”

Canada has the world’s longest coastline and a total of 7.1 million square kilometres of ocean — in the Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic — amounting to a global stewardship responsibility, the report found.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Are we going to stand for this?

Hello… anyone?

SALMONGATE: ‘Joe’ at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says: “It is clear that we are turning the PR tide to our favour… and we will win the war, also.”

This is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency: responsible for your food safety!

“Concentrate on the headlines — that’s often all that people read or remember” says Cornelius Kiley at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Well, ‘Joe’ & ‘Corny’ (and other CFIA and DFO staff) this headline goes out to you…. cheers, salmonguy.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“It is clear that we are turning the PR tide to our favour… and we will win the war, also” says ‘Joe’ [Joseph Beres] the BC manager of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

How are you feeling about the safety of your food now?

And to think that Joe and Corny and others included in the email (including Stephen Stephen from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans) are most likely in the high $100,000+/year wage scale. Take a look at the wage scales in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for the highest executive levels…

Performance Pay – Levels EX-05
Effective Date Minimum Maximum
From: Effective April 1, 2010 $163,100 $191,900
Effective April 1, 2011 $166,100 $195,300
Effective April 1, 2012 $168,600 $198,300

 

If the Canadian Food Inspection Agency top staff and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (and the BC Government) think that it’s about headlines and winning PR wars… what does that say about the safety of our food in Canada?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

It’s been said on this blog a lot: “marketing is everything and everything is marketing”

It seems quite clear that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans fully agree — and add in the Privy Council Office that answers directly to PM Harper (but then we know that they fully subscribe to the “marketing is everything, everything is marketing” school-of-thought. [Hence, why one of PM Harper's main staff people moved over from one of Canada's oil companies...]

CBC is running an article on this issue today:

Government email makes waves at salmon inquiry

“It is clear that we are turning the PR tide in our favour, and this is because of the very successful performance of our spokes at the tech briefing,” CFIA B.C. manager Joseph Beres wrote.

“One battle is won, now we have to nail the surveillance piece, and we will win the war, also.”

“Spokes” most likely refers to spokespeople. [that's so cute]

But then… what well paid public/civil service employee then sends out an email like this, knowing full well that it can be accessed through Freedom of Information (FOI) or government sponsored judicial/public inquiries?

Along with the 400 pink slips being handed out to DFO employees, maybe there’s another one coming to this group of CFIA employees and to Stephen Stephen at DFO (no that’s not a typo, that’s his real catchy name).

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

The CFIA home page states:

Welcome to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Dedicated to safeguarding food, animals and plants, which enhances the health and well-being of Canada’s people, environment and economy.

[So I'm wondering 'Joe' and 'Corny' and Stephen Stephen at DFO -- how does farmed salmon from the BC Coast laced with both ISA and heart and skeletal muscle inflammation virus (or HSMI) ENHANCE the health and well-being of Canada's people (let alone the environment and economy)?]

&

Accountability

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) continuously strives to be transparent and accountable in how it does business.

The CFIA is accountable to Canadians and reports to Parliament through key documents.

[So how is the CFIA and Parliament going to account for this accountability? -- this is a cover up, and it's shameful... more so through the arrogance of civil service employees...]

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Scroll down a little here and you’ll see good ol’ Infectious Salmon Anemia (anémie infestieuse du saumon) tucked in between things like: “highly pathogenic avian influenza” “Foot and Mouth disease” “koi herpesvirus disease” and “lumpy skin disease.”

Nasty stuff!

And, yet Senior managers at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency figure this is a “public relations war” where we manipulate news headlines for that silly, dumb public…

embarrassing, shameful, and worthy of serious repercussions — wouldn’t you say?

Reportable Diseases Regulations

Health of Animals Act (S.C. 1990, c. 21)

SCHEDULE

(Section 2)

REPORTABLE DISEASES

 

  • African horse sickness
  • peste équine
  • African swine fever
  • peste porcine africaine
  • anaplasmosis
  • anaplasmose
  • anthrax
  • fièvre charbonneuse
  • bluetongue
  • fièvre catarrhale du mouton
  • Bonamia ostreae
  • bovine spongiform encephalopathy
  • bovine tuberculosis (M. bovis)
  • brucellosis
  • ceratomyxosis (Ceratomyxa shasta)
  • chronic wasting disease of cervids
  • classical swine fever (hog cholera)
  • contagious bovine pleuropneumonia
  • contagious equine metritis
  • cysticercosis
  • epizootic haematopoietic necrosis
  • equine infectious anaemia
  • equine piroplasmosis (B. equi and B. caballi)
  • foot and mouth disease (FMD)
  • fowl typhoid (Salmonella gallinarum)
  • Haplosporidium nelsoni
  • highly pathogenic avian influenza
  • infectious haematopoietic necrosis
  • infectious pancreatic necrosis
  • infectious salmon anaemia

  • anémie infestieuse du saumon
  • koi herpesvirus disease
  • lumpy skin disease
  • Marteilia refringens
  • Marteiliodes chungmuensis
  • Mikrocytos mackini
  • Newcastle disease
  • Perkinsus marinus
  • Perkinsus olseni
  • peste des petits ruminants
  • pseudorabies (Aujeszky’s disease)
  • pullorum disease (S. pullorum)
  • rabies
  • Rift Valley fever
  • rinderpest
  • scrapie
  • sheep and goat pox
  • spring viraemia of carp
  • swine vesicular disease
  • Taura syndrome
  • trichinellosis
  • Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis
  • vesicular stomatitis
  • viral haemorrhagic septicaemia
  • whirling disease (Myxobolus cerebralis)
  • white spot disease
  • white sturgeon iridoviral disease
  • yellow head disease

 

SALMONGATE! Testimony today and yesterday at Cohen Commission demonstrating DFO and Canada Food Inspection Agency willingly hiding salmon disease from public.

An email entered as evidence at the Cohen Commission today (#2110) from a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) employee, Joseph Beres, states (in relation to the DFO and CFIA public relations efforts to stifle news of Infectious Salmon Anemia on the Pacific Coast in wild Pacific salmon):

 It is clear that we are turning the PR tide to our favour…one battle is won, now we have to nail the surveillance piece, and we will win the war… Concentrate on the headlines, that’s often all that people read or remember. Both the “Top Stories” and the “Related Pieces”.

This appears to be in support of a press release on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans website dated Oct. 24, 2011 stating, and this is a direct quote from the DFO press release:

 In short, there has never been a confirmed case of ISA in British Columbia salmon – farmed or wild.

It would appear that, in short, this is an absolute and complete LIE.

(aka: “An intentionally false statement.”)

I did a quick search for what it means when public service/civil service employees lie. Came across a curious quote:

Sir Henry Taylor argued that though the first principles of morality in regard to truth are plain and definite, the derivative principles, and their application in practice are not so: ‘… falsehood ceases to be falsehood when it is understood at all levels that the truth is not expected to be spoken.’

[the other mind blower in here... do public service employees not understand that emails can be requested under Freedom of Information or otherwise... are there not courses on "don't say stupid shit on email"?]

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An article in the LA Times in early December coined the phrase: SALMONGATE.

Did Canada cover up deadly salmon virus? Report suggests yes

Call it Salmongate. The deepening controversy over who knew what and when about a deadly virus that may or may not have been detected in West Coast salmon would be obscure fodder for biologists if there weren’t so much at stake — the health of the West’s dwindling stocks of wild salmon, for one. And Canada’s $2.1-billion fish farming industry.

Testimony today at the Cohen Commission into Fraser River salmon declines — being streamed out on social media, as there is no public streaming of the hearings — as well as on an article relased on the Globe & Mail website just a little while ago, is demonstrating willful misleading of the public and international trade partners.

And not just misleading the public, but intimidating various individuals trying to get this information out to the public and into scientific circles so immediate action can be taken:

Federal agency accused of intimidation over salmon disease

Scientists who uncovered the first signs that infectious salmon anemia is present on the West Coast have found themselves shunned and intimidated by federal government officials, the Cohen Commission has heard.

Dr. Kibenge said shortly after SFU went public he was called by government officials who had questions about how his lab operated.

Dr. Kibenge told the Cohen Commission, which is inquiring into the collapse of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser River, that he initially thought the CFIA was interested in finding how his lab could work co-operatively with a DFO lab they use for ISA testing, in Moncton, New Brunswick.

But he said after officials arrived, he realized they were really more interested in finding faults with his operation as a means to undermine the credibility of his ISA virus findings.

His lab is one of only a handful certified by the World Organization for Animal Health for ISA testing and he is a recognized expert on the virus.

Mr. McDade suggested to Dr. Kibenge that had he reported negative results for the ISA virus, he wouldn’t have been subject to any CFIA scrutiny.

“I agree, yeah,” he said. “Negative findings are very easy to deal with. . .it’s the positive findings that are difficult to accept.”

Dr. Kibenge’s lab in 2007 confirmed the first occurrence of ISA in farmed Atlantic salmon in Chile, where the virus triggered a disease outbreak that killed millions of salmon.

The Cohen Commission has also heard that Molly Kibenge, Dr. Kibenge’s wife, had found evidence of the ISA virus in 2002 and 2003 while doing research at the Pacific Biological Station. But DFO denied her request to publish that research, saying her findings were in doubt because another lab failed to repeat her findings.

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If heads don’t roll over this, I’ll be floored.

Infectious Salmon Anemia is listed right up there with foot-and-mouth disease, mad cow disease, and others — as diseases that need to be reported to the public and to trade partners… immediately.

Denial is not an option.

Plus, with ISA on the coast, and senior government managers purposefully misleading superiors on this issue, and then the story coming to light, and DFO and the CFIA spend their time mounting a credibility attack and public relations campaign — as opposed to immediate direct and affirmative action to act upon the disease.

Maybe there is an imminent shake up coming to a government ministry near you…

 

New York Times and others reporting on ISA issue and Cohen Commission special hearings

"DFO" -- Disconnected Forever On.

The New York Times ran an article late yesterday on the continued hearings into Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) at the Cohen Commission into Fraser River sockeye declines.

Canada Holds Hearings on Suspected Virus in Salmon

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The fate of wild salmon is a sensitive topic in the Pacific Northwest and arguments often end up in court in the United States, whether over threats to endangered fish by hydroelectric dams or sea lions swallowing them along their migration routes.

But on Thursday, a new and particularly bitter dispute began playing out in a very different kind of judicial venue across the Canadian border: a provincial Supreme Court justice held a hearing into questions of whether a potentially lethal virus had been detected in wild Pacific salmon — and whether the Canadian government was responding adequately.

The virus, infectious salmon anemia, has devastated farmed Atlantic salmon stocks in Chile and elsewhere. Some conservationists and scientists have long worried that the virus would spread from farmed fish to wild ones. Those fears escalated in October, when opponents of British Columbia’s ambitious farmed Atlantic salmon program, which is heavily promoted by the government, presented lab results they said showed an asymptomatic form of the virus in wild Pacific salmon.

Several more reports of the virus have emerged in the past two months, including a draft paper suggesting that the virus was detected as early as 2002 but not revealed by the government, further angering farming opponents.

The developments have prompted passionate debate on both sides of the border, with reaction veering from accusations that the Canadian government is covering up evidence of the disease to claims by Canadian officials that the reports are based on poor science.

The most combative exchanges occurred during testimony by Kristina Miller, the head of molecular genetics for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans laboratory at Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island. While previous reports of the virus had surfaced from sources outside the Canadian government, only to have Canadian officials question them, Dr. Miller testified that she also had received positive results when she tested for the virus, known as I.S.A. She said that when she reported her work to a superior last month, she was asked why she had conducted it at all.

“Nobody in the department talked to me about disease or I.S.A. after that,” Dr. Miller testified. At one point, she said she was frustrated at what she called “flippant dismissal of pathogens” that could be harmful.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is charged with promoting aquaculture but also with protecting wild fish, a dual mission that some critics say creates conflicts. Agency officials are scheduled to testify in the next two days…

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It doesn’t only create “conflicts”; it is a fundamental “conflict of interest”.

Some suggest that “conflict of interest” means: “We can define a conflict of interest as a situation in which a person has a private or personal interest sufficient to appear to influence the objective exercise of his or her official duties as, say, a public official, an employee, or a professional.

Enter government agency in there that is providing massive amounts of funding (over $100 million in recent years) to the salmon farming industry in Canada — and yet this week, DFO is starting the process of handing out pink slips to over 400 employees, mainly in the science and conservation sectors.

Is there a disconnect here?

The central mandate of the publicly funded Department of Fisheries and Ocean is “conservation” of wild fish populations, and yet it is now laying many people off that are in fact key in that function — all because of apparent “budget cuts”.

Yet… yet… how many employees would the $100 million or so given to the salmon farming industry in recent years, which most certainly does not play a role in “conserving” wild populations — how many employees would that support?