Tag Archives: Pacific salmon

Remember this…? Enbridge doesn’t want you to.

Remember this from early 2012?

The Costa Concordia cruise ship hits a reef and sinks – 32 people die.

I had a post about it back then (Proposed Northern Exit-gateway Pipeline: Accidents happen because of human error… and are not averted due to elaborate statistical analyses…) because ironically enough the Enbridge ‘northern gateway’ pipeline hearings were on in northwestern BC and one Enbridge official (or consultant) was carrying on about the detailed statistical equations they had undertaken, which suggested that the chances of this happening to a massive oil tanker on BC’s coast were: 1 in 15,000 years.

hmmmm…

Here’s the Costa Concordia today – over one and a half years later.

The partially submerged Costa Concordia cruise ship off the coast of Italy. Local Waterloo company 2G Robotics is scanning the ship to help in the uprighting process.

This from a CBC article running today:

Waterloo robotics firm helps upright Costa Concordia

Gotta love that media… the ship is still sitting exactly as it is in this picture – e.g., sunk. Yet, the media headline suggests that some Canadian firm actually “helps upright” the ship. Hmmm, maybe the honest headline would be ‘trying to upright’…

So the top picture paints a lovely image. That village has had to put up with a half sunken ship where 32 people died, literally in their front yard for over a year and a half. Probably no oils or fuels leaking… or sewage, or otherwise…

Awesome.

Sure would like to see the ‘statistical analysis’ that predicted the odds of this happening… Probably wasn’t all that different than Enbridge and the Harper gang’s numbers on oil tankers on the BC coast…

Maybe not all that different then the odds that predicted this in Harper’s hometown:

Calgary Saddledome flooded in spring/summer of 2013

Shit happens – no matter what the statisticians suggest.

Can I get that with a side of bullshit please…

do you see a problem?

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Driving home today and listening to CBC Radio I caught a curious and severely conflicting story, which highlights the out-of-touch(esness) of politics and otherwise in the current Canadian political and business climate.

This seems to have been a rather steady flow the past little while.

One segment discussed the release of poll results by the ‘respected’ firm Angus-Reid: Canadians Want Budget to Help the Jobless, Ease Pain at the Pump.

Apparently, according to a poll of 1000 Canadians (I’m sure it was representative of all homes…):

Respondents across the country prefer balancing the budget to increasing spending by a 3-to-1 margin.

Many Canadian adults think the federal government is right to reduce spending, but more than two thirds are calling for measures that would help the unemployed and reduce the price of gas across the country, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll conducted in partnership with the Toronto Star has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,007 Canadian adults, half of respondents (51%) expect the budget that will be tabled by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty this week to focus primarily on spending cuts and fiscal restraint.

Three-in-five Canadians (61%) believe the federal government should try to balance the budget, even if it means reduced spending on services, while 21 per cent would opt to increase spending, even if it means continued budget deficits.

So… if there is apparently 60% of Canadians that believe the federal government should “balance the budget”… how many actually know what it means to “balance the budget”?

… let alone what a ‘balanced budget’ is?

(and I don’t mean this rudely to those who assume a balanced budget is a GREAT thing…)

(that’s that old marketing is everything, everything is marketing…thing).

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Well…a balanced budget is not really all that different than a household budget.

A ‘balanced budget’ simply means there is no surplus or deficit at year end.

It’s “balanced”.

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But what about the overall debt that Canada carries?

Well… a balanced budget means there’s $0 left over at the end of the year. That means $0 to pay down the massive debt load that we already carry.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation suggests yours and my share is a good solid $17,000 each… or so.

For a grand total debt of a little under $600 billion or so… (if i’m counting the zeros right?)

So how much of that debt gets paid down within a ‘balanced’ budget?

Well… the same amount that your credit card debt gets paid down if you have $0 left over at the end of the month…

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And what’s getting snuck in at the back-end of tomorrow’s federal “Harper Government” budget is a potential gutting of the Environmental Assessment legislation and the Fisheries Act.

Is this in line with federal NDP suggestions that these guttings of environmental legislation are for: “Stephen Harper’s friends”?

Please show us how gutting environmental legislation, meaning delaying the costs of things like climate change, habitat destruction and so on, to mine and your kids’ generations — makes sense in the long run?

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And come on polling companies… and politicians… let’s not fog over the tough reality in Canada right now.

We have a serious issue with literacy and numeracy.

Wonder why there’s such an issue with voter turn-out…?

Well, one is that politicians generally spew little more than platitudes and B.S. simply to appease a fickle ‘voting’ public, which is quickly approaching less than 50% of the Canadian population. (worse in Provincial elections)

The other half of the population is struggling to read recommended doses of cough syrup medication required for their children’s cold…

….and figuring out how they can improve their numeracy to deal with day-to-day realities of mortgages, credit card debt, and whatever ‘low-interest’ (high penalty) credit deal Canadian banks and otherwise have been handing out…

(those same institutions then bitching about the high Canadian household debt load… See Bank of Montreal economist headlines today)

(… those same institutions who handed them – Canadian households – that debt in the first place… you two-faced, talk out of all sides of your mouth, rolling in profit institutions…)

Now unfortunately, Canadians largely have a menu that consists of a main dish of bullshit (farmed GMO), with a hefty side order of green salad bullshit (sponsored by Monsanto), and a fine drink sponsored by your ‘multi-national’, transnational, conglomerate, (once Canadian, but now foreign bought out company) (not to mention, once Canadian, but now foreign-owned grown in Canada hops and wheat, in turn fermented in a once-owned Canadian beverage).

Yes… I’m sure the budget coming tomorrow is all about “middle-class Canadians”…

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… 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...

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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.

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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….

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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.

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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?

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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….

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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…

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

"management needs to change"

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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”…

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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...

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… 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

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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?

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So who was responsible for that?

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Oh wait… the same ministry that wrote this document…

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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

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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)

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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…)

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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]

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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…’?

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Wild Salmon get lumps of coal for Christmas (billions and billions of them)

BC's coal plan?

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Interesting article at the Co.Exist blog ["World changing ideas and innovation" is their tagline] part of the magazine: Fast Company.

China’s Massive Coal Habit, Mapped

The U.S. could switch to to 100% renewable energy tomorrow, but it wouldn’t make a huge difference in the grand scheme of coal consumption. An animated map from the U.S. Energy Information Administration reveals just how fast Asia’s coal consumption is growing–and specifically, how China’s growing coal use threatens to double CO2 pollution levels compared to the U.S. over the next 15 years.

In 1982, Asia’s coal consumption was on par with the U.S. Fast-forward 20 years, though, and demand has grown over 400%.

This growth in Asia’s coal use isn’t spread equally among all the countries. North Korea, South Korea, and Southeast Asia consume very little; even India doesn’t consume nearly as much as China. This shouldn’t be surprising. China’s economy is growing so fast that it has no choice but to suck up more energy resources. And while the country is a leader in renewable energy installations, it’s also a rapidly growing coal consumer…

Co.Exist blog article -- map of global consumption

China’s insatiable coal appetite could jack up the price of coal so much that many seemingly pricey renewables look more attractive. But if that happens, it only means that China is using an even more outsized amount of coal.

So if there’s any hope of staving off severe climate change, China has to be at the center of the process. Otherwise, we’re (mostly) wasting our time.

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As much as “Harper’s” Canada took an unpopular position at the recent climate change talks… maybe they aren’t really that far off the mark?

Not that I support the idea that ‘if other big polluters are going to keep polluting, then we’ll just keep polluting’ — in other words: if China doesn’t curb coal burning then we’ll continue to rip up the sub-arctic boreal forest tar sands.

Looking at these numbers for coal burning — one of the worst greenhouse gas emitters — makes much of the climate change talks seem akin to talking about quitting smoking while you’re mouth is over your tail pipe sucking on the exhaust of your car…

Add in that British Columbia’s government is hot to trot on opening more coal mines — to supply those Chinese numbers.

See no evil, hear no evil…

How’s that ever-growing cliche go…?

something like: “think globally, act locally”

hmmmm…

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Don’t matter how much habitat preservation/restoration/rehabilitation goes on for wildlife that depends on glacial fed streams… it those streams stop being “glacially-fed”… then ‘houston… we have a problem…’

However, as a high-end investment advisor told me at a recent talk when I asked him about their Canadian resource extraction companies heavy portfolio and things such as pipelines and Canadian tar sands operations… “technology will fix everything.” He then proceeded to tell me about CO2 sequestration projects (e.g. pumping it back into the ground) and… well… he didn’t have anything after that.

Nice fellow… but misguided maybe? Or, simply following the herd?

His big shtick was: “if there’s anything I can leave you with, think of the 4,000,000 Chinese people that move from the country to the city every year… as they move to the city, their lifestyle will change and their demands for resources will increase.”

Sure sounds like a great investment strategy for my apparent pension plan… but then what’s the world going to do as the huge percentage of the world’s population that lives on coastlines has to mitigate a global disaster as sea levels rise…? (and water supplies dry up…)

Anyone wondering why the world’s insurance businesses are in a major tizzy about climate change and the potential mass impacts as the climate quickly warms?

Here’s a quote from a report easily found online:

Mainstream insurers have increasingly come to see climate change as a material risk to their business. The worldwide economic losses from weather-related natural disasters were about $130 billion in 2008 ($44 billion insured), and the losses have been rising more quickly than population or inflation.

A 2007 PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of 100 insurance industry representatives from 21 countries indicates climate change is the number-four issue (out of 33); natural disasters ranks number two. The majority of the other issues are arguably compounded by climate change.

The following year, Ernst & Young surveyed more than 70 insurance industry analysts around the world to determine the top-10 risks facing the industry. Climate change was rated number one and most of the remaining 10 topics (e.g. catastrophe events and regulatory intervention) are also compounded by climate change. [you know... like the magic of compound interest]

The investigators note that ‘‘it was surprising that this risk, which is typically viewed as a long-term issue, would be identified as the greatest strategic threat for the insurance industry’’.

[Global Review of Insurance Industry Responses to Climate Change_2009 The Geneva Papers, 2009, 34 (323-359).  The International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics]

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Apologies for the dark, smokestack-emitting, coal-burning, coal mining holiday message — however maybe in 2012 there will be some more of that other cliche: ‘waking up and smelling the coffee…’

 

Which drugs do the DFO and Canadian Food Inspection Agency need for their premature communication issue? (hairtrigger problems anyone?)

As things lead up to the special hearings at the Cohen Commission in to Fraser sockeye declines this week, the heat is turned up…

More information suggesting that Canada and BC’s regulations to protect BC’s and the North Pacific’s wild salmon stocks from Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) — are not good enough.

As per usual, it’s taking ex-DFO and ex-Provincial scientists to blow the whistle… because, as pointed out in the previous post, there are most likely many that don’t want to sacrifice their healthy public servant wages and pensions by speaking out and facing repercussions?

Here’s an article out of Victoria, BC’s Times Colonist today, as well as the leaked report from the ex-Provincial government scientist — a report which has been submitted to the Cohen Commission.

Canada’s fish health regulations are not stringent enough to prevent viruses from being imported to West Coast fish farms on Atlantic salmon eggs, says a former high-level provincial government fisheries biologist.Sally Goldes, fish health unit section head at the B.C. Environment Ministry for 17 years, has submitted a paper to the Cohen Commission on the decline of Fraser River sockeye that says iodine treatment of eggs and the testing of overseas providers of salmon eggs – Canada’s defence against disease transmission – are inadequate…

…”The data – [inadequate sample sizes, ineffectiveness of iodine disinfection, etc.] suggests that the current Canada Fish Health Protection Rules do not provide a high level of regulatory security against the introduction of ISAV into British Columbia,” the paper concludes.

“It is important to remember that iodine disinfection does not kill ISAV present inside the egg and it is unknown whether ISAV is in this location.”

Iodine treatment is designed to rid egg surfaces of bacteria.

This sort of sounds like thinking that would suggest that if you give your newborn baby a bath that it won’t come down with infections or illness…

Isn’t this something that would have been learned in every other place that farmed salmon have had ISA breakouts?

Guess not… the article continues:

Salmon farms in B.C. import Atlantic salmon eggs from such countries as Britain, the U.S. and Iceland.

The virus has devastated fish farms in Chile and Norway and is also present in Atlantic Canada.

She is concerned ISA could be introduced to B.C. waters and spread to already stressed wild salmon populations.

“If you really look closely at the regulations, from a scientific basis, there is not the high degree of protection that the government, and particularly DFO, states that they have,” Goldes said. “It’s an issue of trust.”

Hmmm, one could maybe do a poll of Canadians and ask how much trust they have in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans — and maybe even the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, in this particular case.

Let’s just say it’s probably at an all time low.

Especially, after it came clear that the Food Inspection Agency mounted a big communications campaign with Canada’s trade partners, after the first reported ISA findings in wild Pacific salmon — as opposed to the Canadian public.

And now, both DFO and the CFIA mount denial campaigns.

The problem with denial campaigns is that if you get proven wrong, and in fact are not only proven wrong in your denials and that you held the responsibility in the first place — it’s sort of like a double whammy.

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The article continues:

“I think DFO and CFIA have a lot more work to do. I think that press conference was entirely premature,” she said.

[nothing like premature communication]

“The problem is that DFO has a dual mandate for aquaculture and wild fish, and the decisions are political.”

Amen to that Ms. Goldes — as the old cliche goes: you hit the nail on the head…

And as we’ll all find out soon enough, DFO and the CFIA most likely missed the nail head completely and hit their thumbs… and if it does turn out that they are denying something that is in fact true (e.g. ISA is in wild Pacific salmon — and that better safeguards needed to be in place, and should be in place) — then they’re should be several ‘nail’ heads rolling in the circle of civil servants and Ministers, and deputy ministers, and assistant deputy ministers.

The decisions are political is always one to keep in mind… look no further then Harper’s government/Canada’s removal from the Kyoto protocol (a vote of confidence for oil and gas companies and pipeline companies). Or the current situation in the northern Ontario First Nation community of Attawapiskat — shameful

The federal government can spend $50 million+ on frigging gazebos for 2-3 days of meetings in Ontario’s cottage country, build a fake lake (at what coast?), and so on and then set out on trying to shame a northern community for how it manages its money. Money spent that is audited yearly more heavily then any other government financing handed out in this country.

(Especially money handed out to particular ridings held by Conservative MPs that may be threatened in an election…)

Ahhh, the twisted priorities of the political game… (but I digress…)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Here is the leaked report from the Fishyleaks site:– the report that the Salmon Farmer’s Association is whining about being prematurely released.

Hmmm, all this talk of premature… maybe the salmon farming industry was given free reign to BC’s coast prematurely?

Dr Sally Goldes report

The abstract for the report suggests:

Atlantic salmon eyed eggs have been imported almost yearly into British Columbia during the period 1985 until 2010 from a number of countries including the USA, UK , Iceland and also from Atlantic Canada  (BC Atlantic Imports).   Source aquaculture facilities, except for more recent imports from Iceland (where the definition of lot was not achieved, however the rest of the procedures were the same) were certified free of specified piscine pathogens of concern according to testing protocols mandated in the Canadian Fish Health Protection Regulations (CFHPR).  Immediately prior to shipment, eyed eggs were disinfected according to the CFHPR iodophor disinfection protocol.

Certification and iodine egg disinfection together are the main pillar’s of Canada’s defense against the introduction of exotic piscine diseases such as Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA).  In order to protect British Columbia’s wild aquatic ecosystems and aquaculture industries these measures must provide a high level of security.   Close scientific examination of these regulatory measures however raises concerns that in-practice, these measures fail to provide the high level of protection required.  This discussion focuses on certain concerns with: (1) ISA detection using cell culture, (2) sample size, and (3) iodine surface disinfection, however there remain many other weaknesses.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Could be an interesting week at Cohen Commission — stay tuned…

“Road to Nowhere” — Come on inside… takin’ that ride to nowhere..

Talking heads...management institution...

To really appreciate (or maybe not) this post you need to have this link, with music going in the background…

This is an old popular song from the band Talking Heads: “Road to Nowhere

.

 

http://youtu.be/JtdBtZOG17E

The lyrics for the song start like this:

WELL WE KNOW WHERE WE’RE GOIN’

BUT WE DON’T KNOW WHERE WE’VE BEEN

AND WE KNOW WHAT WE’RE KNOWIN’

BUT WE CAN’T SAY SAY WHAT WE’VE SEEN

AND WE’RE NOT LITTLE CHILDREN

AND WE KNOW WHAT WE CAN’T

AND THE FUTURE IS CERTAIN

GIVE TIME TO WORK IT OUT

.
We’re on a road to nowhere

Come on inside

Takin’ that ride to nowhere

We’ll take that ride

_ _ _ _ _ _

See… the thought process behind comes from this definition of “management” :

definition of management?

“… to manage oneself as a pre-requisite to attempting to manage others…”?? (hmmm)

(including other things…?)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

“Management,” rather obviously comes from the root: “manage”:

"to manage"...

.

Much of the thought process for this line of illustrations came from school research, and reading an essay by Edward Said, an English literature academic, professor and critic: “Said was an influential cultural critic and author, known best for his book Orientalism (1978).”

This from his collection of essays “Reflections on Exile” and the essay “Opponents, Audiences, Constituencies, and Community“:

The most impressive recent work concerning the history, circumstances, and constitution of modern knowledge has stressed the role of social convention… for example, the shift of attention away from the individual creator to the communal restraints upon personal initiative. Galileos and Einsteins are infrequent figures not just because genius is a rare thing but because scientists are borne along by agreed-upon ways to do research, and this consensus encourages uniformity rather than bold enterprise. Over time this uniformity acquires the status of discipline, while its subject matter becomes a field or territory…

[e.g. BUT WE DON’T KNOW WHERE WE’VE BEEN]

Along with these goes a whole apparatus of techniques… to protect the coherence, the territorial integrity, the identity of the field, its adherents and its institutional presence. You cannot simply choose to be a sociologist or a psychoanalyst; you cannot simply make statements that have the status of knowledge in anthropology; you cannot merely suppose that what you say as a historian (however well it may have been researched) enters historical discourse. You have to pass through certain rules of accreditation, you must learn the rules, you must speak the language, you must master idioms, and you must accept the authorities of the field — determined in many of the same ways — to which you cannot contribute.

[e.g. BUT WE CAN’T SAY SAY WHAT WE’VE SEEN]

In this view of things, expertise is partially determined by how well an individual learns the rules of the game, so to speak…

[e.g. AND WE KNOW WHAT WE CAN’T.... say, or do...]

And most telling in Said’s questions:

Is it the inevitable conclusion to the formation of an interpretive community that its constituency, its specialized language, and its concerns tend to get tighter, more airtight, more self-enclosed as its own self-confirming authority acquires more power, the solid status of orthodoxy, and a stable constituency? What is the acceptable humanistic antidote to what one discovers, say, among sociologists, philosophers and so-called policy scientists who speak only to and for each other in a language oblvious to everything but a well-guarded constantly shrinking fiefdom forbidden to the uninitiated?

This doesn’t sound like a particular fishy government ministry fiefdom (and many closely attached organizations) that is about to, or in the middle of, facing a mass shortage of staff due to retirements and early retirements…?

You want in to that ‘fiefdom’ (e.g. policy scientists… [what a phrase]…),  you better be versed in the lingo, the idioms [A form of expression natural to a language, person, or group of people], the games, the politics, and the methods of moving up the bureaucratic ladder (e.g. the Peter Principle).

Otherwise known as “don’t rock the boat.”

You also better be well-versed, and completely adherent (like crazy glue) to the references and ‘science’ that got us here… you know the things like Maximum Sustained Yield, strategic imperatives, benchmarks, ‘ecosystem-based planning’, and so on…

And… you better have PowerPoint nailed down.

And, know the secret handshakes, and day rate and per diem gravy train intellectual copyrights…

As someone wise-cracked recently too me:

DFO is the least biologically diverse bureaucracy – a small gene pool of scientists that has aged but not recruited young stock…

Diversity would also suggest a wide range of approaches, ‘professionals’, non-professionals, ways of valuing and working from local and community knowledge…

Not government department imperatives, strategic plans, and management objectives.

Time for a Change. (?)

Or as one of the ‘doctor’ toys my kids play with asks: “Time for a Check-up?”

“The case of the missing fish”… why don’t we just look in a mirror…?

dave's North Pacific salmon "mysteries"

_ _ _ _ _ _

The Globe and Mail is running another article by Mark Hume on the apparent “disappearing sockeye salmon”…

The case of the missing fish

What is killing British Columbia’s salmon? And just where is the crime scene?

Like Agatha Christie’s fictional detective, Hercule Poirot, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen is faced with a mass of conflicting evidence as his federal inquiry tries to answer those questions and explain what happened to millions of salmon that have vanished at sea…

The article goes on to explain the ‘great mystery’ of declining sockeye populations on the Fraser River… and compares all the various “suspects” that may (or may not) play a part in the great decline of Fraser sockeye.

There is so much rhetoric and babble and apparent ‘complexity’ to this issue… so say the “experts” anyways…

However, let’s slow down for a second and explore a couple key pieces that Mr. Hume suggests in his article… starting with the second paragraph… “tries to… explain what happened to millions of salmon that have vanished at sea.

Well, that’s an interesting statement… as… we don’t know — in the first place — how many baby sockeye went to sea. We have no frigging clue. The “experts” extrapolate from a variety of estimates of how many adults successfully spawned in the 4-6 years previous, and how many of those eggs in the gravel survived to become little tiny baby salmon (alevin).

little baby salmon - alevin - fresh from the gravel

As one might imagine, these little gaffers are pretty sensitive… not to mention that no shortage of other critters living in creeks, lakes and rivers have evolved to feast on the timing of these little things arriving out of the gravel — no different then any fly fisher who tries to time the various hatches of bugs and such to trick fish into biting their hooks wrapped in varieties of fuzz and other paraphernalia.

Then how many of those little alevin survived to either head to sea or hang out in a freshwater lake for one or two years — dodging any other complete system of predators and other threats.

salmon smolts, migrating out

Then how many of those youngster sockeye ‘smolts’ migrated out to sea, dodging a whole other slew of threats and predators and in the Fraser, then have to spend some time adjusting from fresh water critters to salt water critters — in amongst no shortage of sewage, tugs & barges, urban run-off, endocrine disruptors, periodic oil and fuel spills, and so on.

Then its run the gauntlet of the Salish Sea (Georgia Strait) — including salmon farms, walls of sea lice, and whatever else.

Then its the BC and Alaska coastlines, then “the sea”.

How many?

We have no frigging clue.

So essentially, we sort of have a mystery… of a mystery…of a mystery…

If we start talking about the mystery of “disappearing salmon”… or as referred to in the article as “vanishing salmon”… we don’t even know if they were there in the first place.

baby salmon… now you see ‘em… now you don’t…. (oh wait, maybe this wasn’t a game of salmon peek-a-boo… they were just never there in the first place?).

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

I drew the image at the beginning of this post the other day as a suggestion of how we will never understand these apparent salmon “mysteries”… or “vanishing” or “disappearing acts”…

And nor should the load be put on Justice Cohen to ‘figure it out’… this isn’t a case of legal precedent, or evolution of the Code of Hammurabi, or Roman Law, or common law, or civil law, or stare decisis… not that our judges are not capable of dealing with all sorts of phenomenal complexities…

however to understand the great mysteries of nature, the North Pacific, and so on… I don’t think so, nor do I expect so… (even law is a great philosophical gray area of all sorts of complexities…)

As it says in my chicken scratch writing in the illustration: “try and disprove that this was the reason for the 2009 ‘disappearance’ of Fraser sockeye…

Well… you can’t. Nobody can conclusively disprove my ‘theory’ for Fraser salmon disappearance. Just as I can’t ‘prove’ my theory…

Just as no one will be able to prove or disprove the apparent Fraser sockeye ‘vanishing’ or ‘disappearance’…

_ _ _ _ _ _

See here’s the thing…

to vanish” means to: “disappear suddenly and completely.” And, for something to “disappear” it had to be there in the first place. Because disappear means:

1. To pass out of sight; vanish.
2. To cease to exist.

See, “dis” means: “do the opposite of” — and so the opposite of disappear is… “appear

And the Latin roots of the word appear suggest it means: “to appear, come in sight, make an appearance.” Starting way back in the 13th century, the current meaning arose from: “to come into view.”

Thus there needed to be fish (e.g. Fraser sockeye) there in the first place — to come into view –  for them to in turn: “disappear” or “vanish”.

But… well… ummmm… we don’t know if they were there in the first place (for example, appeared out of the gravel as alevins) for them to in turn…

dis    appear.

We’re simply hypothesizing… (and sometimes, the thing with hypothesizing, is that the hypothesis might be wrong…)

Therefore… if this is a great mystery… and we’re looking for something that may not have existed in the first place… and we’re looking for a “culprit” that made something “vanish” that never may have in fact existed… is there a “mystery”?

_ _ _ _ _

As one of the over 100 comments to Mr. Hume’s articles suggests, something to the effect of: “ummm… wild salmon have been ‘disappearing’ across the BC coast for decades… is it any surprise that there are dwindling salmon populations in the Fraser…?”

See now this would be a more appropriate use of the term “disappear” because this refers specifically to the view that most coastal folks know intimately, that in recent memory there were thousands upon thousands upon thousands of wild salmon runs in every little trickle of water that hits the Pacific Ocean.

And that these thousands upon thousands of runs produced hundreds of thousands upon millions of adult salmon that returned year after year after year…

those runs have now largely… DISAPPEARED, VANISHED, NADA, ZILCH… EXTINCT…

_ _ _ _ _ _

wait a second…

there used to be close to 200 distinct Fraser sockeye stocks spread all over the Fraser watershed…?

now the number of stocks is a mere shadow of itself… the stocks have disappeared, as they were once certainly there before… (e.g. made an appearance)

When did that disappearance start…? hmmm… about 1880 or so… when mass salmon canneries opened up and down the Pacific Coast — from California to Alaska.

And then for the next 120 years, mass mixed stock fisheries continued to hammer and hammer and hammer away on wild salmon stocks all along the Pacific coast. Throw in a massive rock slide in the Fraser River in the lower reaches in 1913 and we have a recipe for disaster…

this isn’t meant to blame the fishers, they were simply doing what the regulations said they could… no different then people that get in deadly crashes while driving the speed limit of 100 km/hr… (e.g. speed kills…)

Fortunately, the incredible power of diversity (e.g. over 200 distinct evolutionary-evolved stocks) allowed the overall Fraser sockeye run to continue to return in big numbers (but still a shadow of the over 100 million Fraser sockeye of earlier years — pre-canneries — as Mr. Hume suggests in the article).

And then the 2000s (and maybe earlier) a vastly depleted resource — just as every other river and creek from California to BC will attest to — began to show signs of exhaustion, collapse, depletion…

Ever been at the finish line of a marathon or an Ironman triathlon — i’ve been to many — the look on the faces, and the condition of the bodies crossing the finishing line, is essentially what we’ve seen happen to Fraser sockeye in recent years.

Exhaustion and now extinction (e.g. like a ‘retired’ triathlete)…     why?

Because we’ve subjected the runs and populations to a litany of abuses… they’re exhausted, depleted, and in need of serious recuperation and recovery. (which unfortunately, like after a triathlon is simply rest along with a few beer and a big steak…)

You know recuperation as in: “gradual healing (through rest) after sickness or injury

For close to a century — 100 years — we humans have subjected the Fraser sockeye runs to close to 80% depletion, by injury (aka mixed stock fisheries) every single year, year after year, after year. And meanwhile, in the places where they have an opportunity to ‘regenerate’, we’ve been making a mess through habitat destruction, pollution, water draw-down, and conveniently warming up the water…

Added, the moment there is any sign of recovery… BWAMMO! hit them again with fisheries, get the nets in the water, “oh… we’re cautious now, we only take 60%…” says DFO official policy…  the conservation-based, ecosystem-based… WILD SALMON POLICY

then add in the potential of foreign-imported diseases such as Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) — just one more European-rooted disease introduced to the BC Coast, or more sewage, or more Prozac, Cialis, and other not-good-enough-treated-sewage, add in a couple degrees of warming… and… and…

_ _ _ _ _

Unfortunately, it just seems that maybe we’re opening up the wrong doors and using the wrong language in this apparent “investigation” for finding “perpetrators” for something that may not have existed in the first place… (at least in the short-term view)

Just as I heard a discussion the other day on the radio… look at the worn out, cliche phrase: “war on drugs.”

Apparently, police forces, governments (e.g. G. Dubya Bush and his pa before), and policy and so on and so on… is engaged in this “WAR ON DRUGS“… yet since this phrase started circulating in the 1980s and so on, drugs and drug-related issues have only become more common, drugs are available cheaper, way more prevalent, way more common, and in way more places, and over 50% of the US prison population is made up of people in on drug-related charges… (a massive drain on government and public resources…)

(or how about the investigation and invasion of countries in the search of WMD’s…?)

Just like any ‘crime’ or ‘moral wrong’ or otherwise — what’s the best strategy for prevention in the first place…?

well… education, good parenting, good social institutions, and so on. (e.g. good ‘systems’)

Does telling our kids not to do drugs because there’s a: “WAR ON DRUGS !!” — going to be all that effective?

Probably not. Maybe looking at our language would allow for much more proactive, positive, and effective prevention strategies in the first place….?

_ _ _ _ _ _

See… when it comes to wild salmon the “perpetrator” in this apparent CRIME… this apparent MURDER MYSTERY  is walking around in plain sight, free to do as s/he pleases, no day pass, no ankle bracelet for monitoring, no parole officer… all you have to do is… look in a mirror…

…and then sit down with others in the community to facilitate and develop a suitable prescription for healing and recuperation…

hmmm… like a CITIZEN’S ASSEMBLY… as opposed to a quasi-court-of-law approach with judges and lawyers and yellow “DO NOT CROSS” ticker tape parades, and salmon chalk lines, and confidentiality agreements and RED TAPE bureaucracy celebrations, and “I’m sorry sir, I cannot recall…”, and adversarial cross-examination, and character assassination, and… and… and…

Time for a new approach?

what say you…?

Somewhat good news: Spawning salmon levels rise Birkenhead River sees highest sockeye return in five years… yet co-opted “co-management”

A somewhat good news story about sockeye coming out of the Pemberton area near Whistler.

However, maybe mis-guided comments about “co-management”?

Spawning salmon levels rise Birkenhead River sees highest sockeye return in five years

The numbers are in from the Lil’wat Nation’s annual sockeye salmon stock assessment for the Birkenhead River. From the time the sockeye entered the river in late August to shortly after the counting fence was blown out by high water levels towards the end of the run in late September, a total of 193,547 sockeye were counted.

“It would certainly be the largest escapement (population) in the last five years,” said Mike Lapointe, head biologist of the Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC). “The previous largest escapement is 2006, which is 266,000, and since then we had 93,000 in ’07, 19,000 in ’08, 54,000 in ’09 and last year, 128,000.”

Typically, 90 per cent of Fraser River salmon have a four-year lifecycle, but the Birkenhead is different in that there can be significant numbers of five- and six-year-olds as well. This is partly related to the fact that it’s a coastal stream and subject to high flash flooding. Because of these fluctuations in the spawning habitat, the populations have evolved to produce more than one age class.

What this means, said Lapointe, is potentially this year’s higher rate of return is because some of the salmon are from 2006.

“With Fraser sockeye, we talk of parent years as being important since they have a four-year lifecycle, then we’d be looking at the escapement four years ago, which was ’07 and that number was 93,000,” he said. “And so for the Birkenhead, it looks like this parent year has produced fairly well.”

But he won’t know how many have returned in 2011 as five-year-olds from the abundant 2006 brood until he examines the samples, said Lapointe.

The Mount Currie Fisheries Program works closely with the PSC throughout the year, closely monitoring conditions of the fish and river.

“Because this is the territory we’ve grown up in and we’re very responsible for, we also document environmental information like temperatures, differences we see in the river and things that catch our eye,” said Maxine Joseph-Bruce, fisheries program manager for the Mount Currie Band.

The collected data is sent to the PSC along with samples — a combination of scales and otolith, the ear bone in the fish. Both have rings on them for determining age, very much like rings that you could see on a tree, said Lapointe.

The annual sockeye count requires the installation of a counting fence across the Birkenhead to create a four-foot wide opening the salmon can pass through. Narrowing the river in this manner facilitates tracking the number of fish swimming upstream.

“We situate a working platform just up-river, about eight feet from the opening, and we count every single fish that swims through that gate,” said Joseph-Bruce.

This year, the counting bench was staffed by two people 24 hours a day, seven days a week — in eight hour shifts — from Aug. 31 through to Sept. 23, when the fence had to be removed due to heavy rain and clogging caused by fallen leaves.

“Kids visit from the local schools, Signal Hill and Xit’olacw, a number of tourists stop in, plus it’s a really positive approach to education and awareness about salmon in our valley,” said Joseph-Bruce. “Some people don’t have a clue that sockeye are returning to the Birkenhead.”

Lapointe added, “The program that Maxine is running is just such a terrific example of the co-management that can occur with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in terms of having folks that live in the area do the assessments.”

Joseph-Bruce recently attended a salmon ceremony at Pemberton Secondary School and said she would like to see such appreciation for the Birkenhead salmon spread to all local communities.

“They’re aware of this beautiful animal that comes back here… I’m really proud of our youth who are paying attention, and how we in this valley are pretty lucky our land gets fed by these wonderful salmon that return back,” said Joseph-Bruce.

_ _ _ _ _ _

Some great things in this article, and yet some gaping voids…

For example, as Mike Lapointe from the Pacific Salmon Commission mentions, this year’s return of just under 200,000 (to the river) is one of the better returns in several years — e.g, 2006 when the return (to the river) was a little over 250,000 sockeye.

The thing that is so rarely mentioned in any of these numbers…. what was the total run size estimate, before it got hammered by marine, mixed-stock fisheries opened by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Pacific Salmon Commission?

In 2006, for example, the marine exploitation rate (captured in ocean and Fraser mouth fisheries) was almost 30% of the total run size. The total estimated run size for 2006 was almost 600,000 sockeye — before fisheries in Canada’s waters opened on them.

In 2006, just over 175,000 Birkenhead sockeye were caught in fisheries, and a further almost 150,000 were “lost” en route.

_ _ _ _ _

For further comparison, the biggest run prior to that was in 1993 when the total Birkenhead run size estimate was over 1.7 million sockeye.

That year the marine exploitation rate was estimated at 85%: over 1.3 million Birkenhead sockeye caught in marine fisheries on the BC coast in 1993.

Only 245,000 sockeye made it back to the river that year.

So one must gather that the esteemed fisheries science of the last several decades suggests that we can take 85% of a population and expect it to produce the same size run at the conclusion of its life cycle? (4-6 years when it comes to Birkenhead sockeye)

_ _ _ _ _ _

Similar story in 1986.

Total run size for Birkenhead sockeye estimated at over 1.6 million.

Marine exploitation that year = 78% or almost 1.3 million Birkenhead sockeye killed in marine fisheries.

Number of sockeye that actually made it up river to spawnjust over 330,000.

_ _ _ _ _ _

Want to see some real dismal numbers, look at some other years of Birkenhead sockeye. Go back one year further…

1985

Total estimated run size: 144,000

Marine exploitation: 89% which equals, almost 130,000 sockeye caught.

How many made it to the river to spawn?

11,000.

_ _ _ _ _ _

In the year 2000 (after how many public inquires into sockeye issues? 3, 4, 5?)

Total Birkenhead run size estimate: 63,000

Marine exploitation: 65%, almost 43,000 Birkenhead sockeye caught in fisheries.

Total return to spawning grounds: 14,470.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

The newspaper story says it well.

Typically, 90 per cent of Fraser River salmon have a four-year lifecycle, but the Birkenhead is different in that there can be significant numbers of five- and six-year-olds as well. This is partly related to the fact that it’s a coastal stream and subject to high flash flooding. Because of these fluctuations in the spawning habitat, the populations have evolved to produce more than one age class.

So sockeye populations of various rivers have ‘evolved’ (over eons and changing conditions) to deal with wide-ranging environmental conditions.

Did they evolve to deal with having upwards of 80% of their total returning runs caught in mixed-stock fisheries in the ocean?

No.

They have enough challenges with mud slides (for example in the Pemberton area),

from Times Colonist

weather events, glacial run-off, spring and fall downpours, and the like, to contend with for simple survival. Let alone misguided fisheries management policies for upwards of 100 years that say, “yeah, go catch 80, 90% of those runs… they’ll be fine.”

The Birkenhead is one of only 19 Fraser sockeye stocks that has sufficient info to track in a year-after-year basis. And like so many other runs, this data is very time limited, the Birkenhead data only goes back into the 1980s.

What about many of the over 200 distinct Fraser sockeye stocks that once existed prior to the beginnings of cannery row in the late 1800s? The many 100s of stocks that had also ‘evolved’ various life strategies and characteristics to deal with local challenges and opportunities.

R.I.P.

… that’s what.

The mixed-stock, Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY — see free e-book on this site), fishery practices of the last 100+ years sent those runs the way of the passenger pigeon, dodo bird, and wooly mammoth… victims of ‘market sustainability & ecological prioritization.’

_ _ _ _ _

And thus… is counting fish at fish fences and recording river and environmental data: “co-management“?

As in Mr. Lapointe’s: “The program… is just such a terrific example of the co-management that can occur with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in terms of having folks that live in the area do the assessments.”

Now, I do want to be respectful, as my interactions with Mr. Lapointe have been good ones. He seemed to me, quite a nice fellow. However in attempting to be ‘hard on the problem, not the person’ — last I checked, co-management is about power relations, not “participating in assessments”… (not to take away from the fact that there is participation permitted in this case).

For example, some suggest co-management means:

A political claim by users or community to share management power and responsibility within the state.

Or,

The sharing of power and responsibility between the government and local resource users.

Or,

Power sharing in the exercise of resource management between government agency and a community organization…

Or,

A partnership in which government agencies, local communities and resources users, NGOs and other stakeholders share… the authority and responsibility for the management of a specific territory or a set of resources.

These all come from the book: Adaptive Co-management: Collaboration, Learning, and Multi-level Governance by Armitage, Berkes and Doubleday put out by UBC Press in 2007. (pg. 3)

_ _ _ _ _ _

When it comes to looking after wild salmon in Canada — I’m not sure that I’m aware of many (or any) effective “co-management” regimes, as in real sharing of “power” and “responsibility”… with First Nation or local settler communities.

Sure there’s funding handed out to count fish and record river temperatures… but true power-sharing? true partnership?

Hmmmm…

And how do we “co-manage” extinct wild salmon runs — such as the many that have disappeared on the Fraser system or up and down the BC coast?

What I am aware of is governments that insist, every time a case of aboriginal rights and title go to the highest courts in the land, vehemently deny that aboriginal rights and title exist.

And there’s one of the main problems… first people’s fishing rights keep having to be wrung through the adversarial and colonially-based legal system.

And the highest courts in the land repeatedly suggest: ‘yes, they do exist [the rights and the title] and everyone return to the negotiating table to figure it out’…

…that ‘power’ and ‘sharing’ thing… figure it out…

It’s not to say there aren’t efforts on these fronts (some of which that evolved from court cases)… just frustrating to see when terms get co-opted and watered down as if thrown into a muddied river in full fall freshet.

“Salmon-Killing Virus Seen for First Time in the Wild on the Pacific Coast” & PR tactic #4: cover-your-ass-in-case-its-right Rule

And the story goes global.

“Salmon-killing virus… on Pacific coast”

Can you say Public Relations nightmare for salmon farmers of the world…?

Was listening to CBC Radio this morning and the second story on “World Report” was this one. Even the New York Times is in on the story:

Salmon-Killing Virus Seen for First Time in the Wild on the Pacific Coast

A lethal and highly contagious marine virus has been detected for the first time in wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest, researchers in British Columbia said on Monday, stirring concern that it could spread there, as it has in Chile, Scotland and elsewhere.

Farms hit by the virus, infectious salmon anemia, have lost 70 percent or more of their fish in recent decades. But until now, the virus, which does not affect humans, had never been confirmed on the West Coast of North America.

_ _ _ _ _ _

This isn’t only a problem in Canada. Check out the BBC and other news outlets in Scotland and the UK.

Fish farm ban on cards for [Scottish] coasts

Published on Monday 17 October 2011

THE Scottish Government may introduce laws banning fish farms from operating in some coastal areas.

It could follow Norway, where the law has restricted the spread of farms after growing concerns over the depletion of wild stocks.

_ _ _ _ _ _

Now you know what all of this means, don’t you?

Some serious PR-tactics, campaigns, and speech writing (e.g., “marketing is everything, everything is marketing”) due to come out of salmon farmers — especially the BC Salmon Farmers Association.

First rule of any PR campaign — DENY, DENY, DENY.

Second rule: question veracity of results.

Third rule: question credibility of researchers (that’s already started in comments on this site)

Fourth rule: state how well you have things under control — this is the: cover-your-ass-in-case-its-right rule)

Yesterday was a quick press release from the salmon farmers:

Suspect findings of ISA of concern to BC’s salmon farmers

A press release today from Simon Fraser University regarding reports that two wild Pacific salmon have tested positive for Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) is of concern to BC’s salmon farmers.

Our members are actively following up with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The CFIA is reviewing the validity of these publicized but as yet unconfirmed results. The BC Salmon Farmers Association has not yet been able to review the findings.

“Farm-raised Atlantic salmon, unlike their Pacific cousins, are susceptible to ISA, so this is a concern for our operations, but much less likely to be an issue for the different Pacific species,” said Stewart Hawthorn, Managing Director for Grieg Seafood. “If these results are valid, this could be a threat to our business and the communities that rely on our productive industry.”

The results were reportedly found in juvenile Sockeye smolts in Rivers Inlet – an area north of most salmon farms. These fish would not have passed aquaculture operations, but our farmers remain concerned about what this means, and how the disease, which is not native to British Columbia, may have been introduced.

“Samples from BC’s salmon farms are tested regularly for ISA by our regulator’s fish health departments and have never found a positive case on a farm. Over 4,700 individual fish samples have been assessed and proven to be negative.  These unconfirmed findings certainly are unexpected, unusual and warrant further investigation,” said Clare Backman, Sustainability Director for Marine Harvest Canada.

Extensive egg importation regulations were implemented years ago to ensure that disease is not imported to BC waters. Experts testified at the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Fraser River Sockeye Salmon that these regulations were strong and proactive in reducing the risk of disease. Testing done by third party researchers in the past on wild Sockeye have returned negative results for ISA as well. Biosecurity protocols both within each company and across the industry also protect the health of wild and farmed fish.

“Our fish remain healthy and we are seeing no indication of the presence of ISA,” said Hawthorn. “It is very important that our fish remain healthy – to support our ongoing commitment to our businesses, our communities and our environment.”

The BCSFA represents salmon farm companies and those who supply services and supplies to the industry. Salmon-farming provides for 6,000 direct and indirect jobs while contributing $800-million to the provincial economy each year.

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Stewart Hawthorn
Managing Director, Grieg Seafood
(250) 202-8588

Clare Backman
Director of Sustainability, Marine Harvest Canada [and former DFO employee]
(250) 850-9554

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Well done, I think all rules were covered.

Make sure to put in language that places a little seed of doubt “suspect findings” “apparent” “reportedly” and so on.

Stay tuned as this story will most likely get more interesting.