Tag Archives: wild salmon

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’…?

.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

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.
.
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.

_ _ _ _ _ _

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” :

.

.

.

.

 

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….

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

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…

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

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.

 

“Wild Salmon Are Not Holding Up, Study Finds” – New York Times

Really… is this type of result all that surprising?

NY Times photo from article

Wild Salmon Are Not Holding Up, Study Finds

Since 1964, the Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery in California has supplied the watershed with four to 10 million juvenile Chinook salmon each year. The hatchery began the practice as a way of countering the effects of dams that block migration and making sure that the salmon population remained viable. But recent research shows that the massive influx of hatchery-raised fish is masking the fact that wild fish populations are not holding up.

“Without distinguishing hatchery from wild fish, the perception is that we have healthy salmon surviving in a healthy river,” said Rachel Johnson, a fish ecologist affiliated with the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the lead author of a new paper published in the journal PLoS One.

[this is a problem across western North America where wild Pacific salmon roam]

Most hatchery-raised fish are unmarked, but Dr. Johnson and her colleagues navigated past this obstacle by using a new technique that measures sulfur isotopes deposited in salmon ear bones, or otoliths. Chemical elements from food and the environment accumulate in otoliths over a salmon’s lifetime, giving scientists a way of determining an animal’s origins and movements.

In this case, Dr. Johnson differentiated between wild and hatchery-reared salmon by detecting traces of a domestic diet in the latter population’s otoliths. After adult fall-run Chinook salmon returned to the river and hatchery to spawn, the researchers collected otoliths from over 1,000 carcasses.

Wild fall-run Chinook salmon typically stay in freshwater for three to six months after birth and then migrate out through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and into the ocean, spending up to three years there before returning to their native river to spawn. Hatchery-born fish, on the other hand, are usually trucked to the bay, bypassing obstacles like freshwater pollution, low water levels and predators that their wild counterparts consistently contend with.

While a set number of hatchery fish make it to sea each year, Dr. Johnson says she suspects that wild population dynamics vary from year to year, depending on conditions.

Those population dynamics were surprisingly skewed for the 2004-5 season, when the researchers carried out their work. Of around 12,000 fish that returned and spawned in the Mokelumne watershed, most were hatchery fish that went directly to the hatchery. About 1,500 fish spawned in the Mokelumne River itself, but just 10 percent were actually born there. All in all, only 4 percent of the total spawning population were of natural origin.

Researchers are unsure exactly why natural populations have such low survival rates, but they suspect that water degradation, pollution and overfishing all contribute. Hatchery fish themselves could be having an impact, too: recent studies have found genetic and behavioral differences in hatchery-born and wild salmonids. Hybrid offspring of hatchery and wild fish may have a lower chance of surviving and reproducing than purely wild offspring do.

Artificial propagation aimed at aiding the recovery of endangered or threatened species is a controversial topic in ecology. Researchers and policymakers debate whether simply producing more animals of a dwindling species is an acceptable means of sustaining populations. “The ultimate goal for habitat restoration is that we are helping fish rebuild in a natural environment, not intervening in such an extreme way,” Dr. Johnson said.

[Salmonguy note: “restore” habitat…? is that really possible at this point in time? ‘restore’ to what? “restore” salmon runs… restore to what?]

Fall-run Chinook salmon are listed as a species of concern, but this label results largely from a lack of data on their their populations. Although managers set a goal of doubling the numbers of wild salmon in the Mokelumne River, until now it has been impossible to estimate how many naturally occurring fish are present.

[also a real problem across western North America where wild Pacific salmon roam]

Dr. Johnson, who is currently based at the Bay Delta office of the federal Bureau of Reclamation, emphasizes that she is not anti-hatchery, but that more awareness and monitoring of the salmon situation is needed to determine why wild salmon stocks are not replacing themselves and whether salmon populations can survive if the hatcheries are (hypothetically) shut down.

Mass marking of all hatchery fish — like clipping a fin — would make this job easier, and many hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest are already doing this.

Globally, the number of hatchery-produced fish of salmon and other salmonids has skyrocketed over the past 20 years,” Dr. Johnson said. “Even though this study was done on the Mokelumne River, I think it’s a broader issue for salmon conservation.”

You bet, Dr. Johnson, you bet…

And only set to grow if Russia is able to put their $2 billion in cash to work in building salmon hatcheries in the far east of that country on the Pacific side. Japan is already pumping out over 95% of their annual commercial catch as hatchery salmon… And Alaska’s billions of “salmon ranching”… and Canada’s 600 million or so hatchery salmon…

Old Vitus Bering & George Stellr are probably rolling in a grave somewhere… (early European ‘explorers’ and naturalists working for Russian Navy in 1700s — you can see their ‘graphiti’ all over the North Pacific)

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?

Enbridge proposed exit-way: the monster destroying itself

Enbridge Northern Gate/ Exit-way III -- "The capitalist monster consuming itself..."

.

This illustration came about following my reading of physicist as well as author, business thinker, and philosopher Danah Zohar. She has written several books relating quantum physics to the world of business and society in general.

Quantum physics is a fascinating study of the world at a level that begins to boggle the human mind:

Quantum physics is a branch of science that deals with discrete, indivisible units of energy called quanta as described by the Quantum Theory. There are five main ideas represented in Quantum Theory:

  1. Energy is not continuous, but comes in small but discrete units. [hmmm, sounds like wild salmon…]
  2. The elementary particles behave both like particles and like waves.
  3. The movement of these particles is inherently random.
  4. It is physically impossible to know both the position and the momentum of a particle at the same time. The more precisely one is known, the less precise the measurement of the other is.
  5. The atomic world is nothing like the world we live in.

While at a glance this may seem like just another strange theory, it contains many clues as to the fundamental nature of the universe and is more important then even relativity in the grand scheme of things (if any one thing at that level could be said to be more important then anything else). Furthermore, it describes the nature of the universe as being much different then the world we see.

As Niels Bohr said, “Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it.”

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

I have used the idea of particle/wave duality for many years in many contexts. Simply, if one analyzes a ray of light — say one blasting off the sun at however many millions of km/hr like the current ‘solar storm’ — one will either see light as a series of waves, or, as a collection of particles.

It all depends on what they are looking for, and how they are conducting the test.

At any time light can display properties of waves, or of particles — however never at the same time. Therefore, distinguished scientists could argue until the end of time that their empirical tests show, without a doubt, that light is waves. They could publish peer reviewed articles, books, white papers, memos, briefs, and even assist in drafting legislation to create an international “Day of the light wave”…

And, yet, another group of scientists could also argue until the end of time that light is particles. Proclaiming that all instruments to measure light as waves must be abolished, burned at the stake, heresy, and we must never speak of light as waves again…

And, yet, neither would be wrong (at least about the wave/particle duality) — the kicker is that they might actually have to get together, drop their assumptions and come to understand the others’ perspectives and realize that light is both wave and particle. This is the duality of light… and… probably many other things.

Now one could make this even that much more mind boggling by adding in Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. Simply, one can never know the exact position and speed of a particle at the same time — referring to #4 above. (this includes particles that at a fundamental level make up our human bodies).

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Ms. Zohar has a post on her blog which quotes one of her books:

Changing capitalism from within

In 2004, in my book Spiritual Capital, I wrote:

Our capitalist culture and the business practices that operate within it are in crisis. Capitalism as we know it today—an amoral culture of short-term self-interest, profit maximization, emphasis on shareholder value, isolationist thinking, and profligate disregard of long-term consequences—is an unsustainable system, a monster set to destroy itself.

I did not expect my prophesy to come true so quickly, but our current financial and economic meltdown demonstrates the truth of what I said. Capitalism is, indeed, in crisis, and the monster has destroyed itself. But now the question facing all the world’s leaders is, what can replace it? On the answer depends not just the soundness of our economic system, but the sustainability of advanced human culture itself.

The answer to the present crisis being suggested by virtually everyone is more regulation of the markets and of the business practices used within them. But a few extra regulations won’t bring about the change that we need. We’ve tried Keynesian economics and socialism in the past, and we know that both dampen down the creativity and output of the markets. As both George Soros and I have pointed out, our global capitalist system is a self-organizing system poised at the edge of chaos. When such systems are exposed to outside control, they seize up.

No, to change capitalism in a way that sustains the freedom and creativity of the markets, capitalism must change itself, from the inside. This kind of change will require a radically new leadership ethic, one driven by a new set of motivations and a broader understanding of wealth.

Capitalism as we know it has been driven by the lower motivations of greed and self-interest. Business leaders have been out for themselves, and their own drive to increase their personal and corporate material wealth. Nothing good can ever come from actions driven by negative motivations. They only evoke and reinforce other negative motivations, in this case fear and anger.

Customers, consumers, home owners, and the capitalists themselves are filled with fear today, and all but the capitalists are angry that the present situation has been allowed to happen. Those capitalists with any conscience are now filled with still deeper negative motivations of guilt and shame.

The only thing that can change behaviour driven by negative motivations is behaviour driven by higher, positive motivations—exploration, cooperation, personal and situational mastery, generativity and higher service. Business leaders must become servant leaders, leaders who serve not just themselves and share holders, but leaders who serve employees, customers, the community, the planet, humanity, future generations, and life itself. This new leadership ethic will require a revolution.

Not a revolution with guns and bullets [think of recent US imperialist invasions, and Iran’s threats in Middle East to block oil routes], and, God forbid, not a regulatory revolution, but a revolution in thought, and a consequent revolution in moral behaviour. Business must become a vocation, like the higher professions, and capitalists’ sense of wealth creation must expand to include spiritual capital—wealth accrued by acting on our highest aspirations and deepest values.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Now some may jump on the: “well that’s a bunch of fru-fru, hairy-fairy, bumpf…”-Train.

Fair enough.

However, it’s hard to look at the proposed Enbridge Northern exit-way pipeline and see how this makes much sense. And at the same time it’s quite reassuring to see  regular BC residents stepping up and saying “NO”. In all of the hearings thus far being conducted by the National Energy Board in various BC communities. The sentiment has been “NO” to the proposal.

As Zohar describes: Capitalism as we know it today—an amoral culture of short-term self-interest, profit maximization, emphasis on shareholder value, isolationist thinking, and profligate disregard of long-term consequences—is an unsustainable system, a monster set to destroy itself.

Hard to disagree with that thought… especially when one starts to think of the dangers posed by having a pipeline and tanker traffic (over 200 super-oiltankers a year on BC’s north coast)… simply to export raw bitumen to China. Even to a hardcore capitalist, it can’t make sense to be sending away an immensely valuable product, unrefined. Where’s the value-added in that?

Time for a change?

What does that look like, feel like, and sound like…?

And smell like? As the residents in Abbotsford would suggest after the oil spill there yesterday from Kinder Morgan’s pipeline.

Once upon a wild salmon…history’s a bitch.

Oregon salmon cannery early 1900s -- Oregon State University archives

 

Randomly came across these photos from the early 1900s. This is “salmon management” at its best. This is what “salmon management” of the day is built upon. This is what “fisheries management” is built upon.

Fish first, manage later… (look no further then the current herring fisheries opening in the Salish Sea, or the soon to be opened sport fisheries on early-timed Fraser Chinook).

Oregon salmon canneries -- early 1900s -- oh the Chinook?

And where did these beauties go?

Was there not a time in British Columbia when the Springs, the Smilies, the Chinook, the Kings… would line up like this?

Ever study economics?

Ever hear of the concept of ‘the law of diminishing returns’?

Here’s a brief little quote from Wikipedia:

The law of diminishing returns (also law of diminishing marginal returns or law of increasing relative cost) states that in all productive processes, adding more of one factor of production, while holding all others constant, will at some point yield lower per-unit returns.The law of diminishing returns does not imply that adding more of a factor will decrease the total production, a condition known as negative returns, though in fact this is common.

For example, the use of fertilizer improves crop production on farms and in gardens; but at some point, adding more and more fertilizer improves the yield less per unit of fertilizer, and excessive quantities can even reduce the yield. A common sort of example is adding more workers to a job, such as assembling a car on a factory floor. At some point, adding more workers causes problems such as getting in each other’s way, or workers frequently find themselves waiting for access to a part.

In all of these processes, producing one more unit of output per unit of time will eventually cost increasingly more, due to inputs being used less and less effectively. [key point]

The law of diminishing returns is a fundamental principle of economics…

It’s also a fundamental concept within “fisheries” management that they don’t seem to teach at the leading “fisheries” science institutions…

If you keep catching all the ‘hogs’ — the big ones — then eventually there’s going to be little left but small ones…then no ones…

Same thing happened with North Atlantic Cod prior to the big collapse. All the big ones started disappearing and sizes became smaller and smaller and more uniform… diminishing genetic diversity.

Unfortunately, good ‘ol Darwin and his ‘survival of the fittest‘ doesn’t apply when a salmon has no choice about what gill net, seine net, sport hook, or other fishing method catches it. Nor, the obsession of the current human to catch the ‘biggest’ fish…

It did apply though when there was little human intervention… bigger fish, better survival often times, eggs buried deeper in gravel, and so on… more bigger fish, more diversity.

Oregon wild salmon seining -- early 1900s -- Oregon State University archives

Get ’em out however possible…

these times seem to have largely gone with the days of the "iron chink"... (cannery hardware)

The point here isn’t to lament the past, necessarily — but don’t we ever learn?

Folks of the day also said that whole hog logging, placer mining, building dams, and pillaging the seas and river mouths could all ‘happily co-exist’… no problemo… let’s Just Do It (as a well known multinational company based in Portland proclaims).

Freedom, free enterprise, market economies, maximum sustainable yield… let’s do it.

Is this really all that different then what Justice Cohen just heard for two years at the Cohen Commission into the Fraser River sockeye declines?

Or how about the five previous “commissions” prior to that…?

Same conclusion, most likely… we can’t really conclusively “prove” that these practices damage wild salmon… it’s death of a thousand cuts… change is too hard… don’t rock the boat… (gee whiz, I retire with full government pension in five years, don’t hang me out to dry here…)

And, well… you probably know the rest of the story…

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

BC's coal plan?

.

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.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

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…

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

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]

_ _ _ _ _ _

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…’

 

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”?]

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

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.

_ _ _ _ _ _

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…

 

“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…?