low-res-sander-jain-Seallion_small

Salmon farm slaughters 15 sea lions

Norwegian-owned Cermaq Canada conducted a marine mammal massacre at a Clayoquot Sound salmon farm last December. The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) recently released their Authorized Marine Mammal Control Activities data, showing that between October and December 2015, fifteen California Sea Lions were shot by Cermaq at their Binns Island salmon farm. The wildlife was threatening farmed fish in Cermaq’s open-net pen facility.

Binns Island is located in Herbert Arm, close to the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations village of Ahousat, in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on the west coast of Vancouver Island BC. The salmon farm in Herbert Arm is on the migration route of wild salmon from the Moyeha River, which has been protected in BC’s oldest provincial park since 1910. Salmon runs in this pristine valley are in serious decline, despite the abundance of habitat. There are currently 20 salmon farm sites in Clayoquot Sound.

The feedlot in operation at Binns Island was originally intended for installation at Yaakswiis in September 2015. That installation was blockaded by members of Ahousaht First Nations, until their leaders requested that Cermaq remove the farm, stating “As long as there are Ahousaht people alive, there will never be a salmon farm at Yaakswiis”.

According to a statement on Cermaq Canada’s website, there was a large group of sea lions in the vicinity of Binns Island when smolts intended for Yaakswiis were stocked there in November 2015. The sea lions were able to breach the farm’s predator fence and also the perimeter jump fence. In order to protect the farmed fish, on December 3 and 16 Cermaq killed 15 animals, which were then disposed of. Transient orcas frequently cruise the inlets of Clayoquot Sound, hunting for seals and sea lions.

The Binns Island site had been fallowed from 2012 through to 2015—currents in the inlet are too weak to flush away large volumes of feces and uneaten food pellets. Cermaq applied for a new Herbert Arm license in 2014, close to Binns Island. Cermaq’s Herbert application was rejected by DFO because of low current flows, which make that location inappropriate for salmon farming.

Killing marine mammals in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve which is renowned for wildlife viewing is wrong—it’s time for Cermaq to remove their salmon farms from Clayoquot Sound. While in Norway this winter we learned that the industry there is in a state of crisis due to uncontrollable outbreaks of sea lice and disease, and escapes. The Norwegian model of open-net pen salmon farming is not working in Norway, and should never have been allowed in British Columbia.

Check out Mark Hume’s coverage of this story in the Globe and Mail.

Photo: Sander Jain Photography

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.

cermaq demo in oslo norway

Tide change in Norway

On the final day in Oslo, the Wild Salmon Delegation met with Cermaq, the Norwegian company with 15 salmon farm sites in Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. We visited Cermaq to share with them the reasons why the Delegation had come to Norway; and to discuss our perspective on the similarities and differences between British Columbia and Norway, the emerging consensus that open-net salmon farming is a dinosaur technology, and the tide change unfolding daily in major Norwegian media. Continue reading

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 17.45.42

Mining harms wild salmon

The Wild Salmon Delegation came to Norway to campaign against Cermaq’s open-net pen feedlots in Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. But as the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations saying goes, hišukiš c̓aawaak—everything is connected.

Yesterday I found myself sitting inside an indigenous Sami lavvu (a teepee-like traditional dwelling) with Ahousaht First Nations citizen John Rampanen. Imagine our surprise to learn that the reindeer herder with us Continue reading

2016.CA_.OsloAkerselvaRiver

Wild salmon of Oslo

The magic begins once you’re underway. You can’t plan for it, but you can prepare. I know this from personal experience, having been on several overseas environmental delegations to Japan and Germany in years past. It is no different this time with the Wild Salmon Delegation to Norway. Continue reading

salmon banner edited

On to Norway!

Clayoquot Action will be travelling to Norway this January to put pressure on Norwegian salmon farming giant Cermaq. We’ll deliver a clear message: get your polluting fish farms out of the pristine waters of Clayoquot Sound!

The team: Bonny Glambeck & Dan Lewis from Clayoquot Action and John Rampanen from Ahousaht and Kelsemaht First Nations. You can help send us north of the Arctic Circle to Alta, to attend a wild salmon conference where we’ll meet with the President of the indigenous Sami Parliament and build alliances with the cutting edge of Norway’s wild salmon movement. Then on to Bergen, the global capital of salmon farming, to meet Norwegians working to get salmon farms out of Norway’s waters, and to the capital of Norway to deliver a petition from Alexandra Morton asking Norway to divest from dirty salmon farming companies. Continue reading

Aerial_Forest_SJain_lowres

Ahousaht logging moratorium

On October 28, the ʔaahuusʔatḥ ḥawiiḥ (hereditary chiefs of Ahousaht) announced a moratorium on industrial scale logging in their ḥaaḥuułi (traditional territory), effective immediately.

There are two main Tree Farm Licenses in the area, TFL 54 and 57. Over the past 20 years the logging of ancient rainforests within these TFLs has often created conflicts with Ahousaht traditional values, and with recognized conservation interests. Tyee Ḥawiiḥ Maquinna (Lewis George) announced that “the end has come to the large scale logging operations of the past that leave much to be desired in the way of long lasting environmental footprint and very little community benefit”. Continue reading

Lennie_on_pens_small

Unprecedented fish farm win!

A meteor shot thru the pre-dawn sky, burning longer than any I’ve ever witnessed. Was it a sign that something was about to happen?

We were up early to head north to Ahousaht territory to witness the removal of Cermaq’s new fish farm from a place called Yaakswiis, on the shore of Flores Island. The facility had been occupied by members of Ahousaht First Nations for 13 days, until the company finally agreed to remove the floats—at first light on Monday, September 21. Continue reading

YaakswiisBanner.LoRes_

First Nations occupy Clayoquot Sound salmon farm

Heading north from Tofino towards Hot Springs Cove, you pass by Flores Island, home to the Ahousaht First Nations. The island is breathtakingly beautiful—rounded mountains covered in ancient rainforests sweep down to white sand beaches with surf rolling in.

Cermaq, a Norwegian-based salmon farming company (recently purchased by Mitsubishi) was granted permits this summer to install a new salmon farm on the eastern shore of Flores Island, their 16th site in Clayoquot Sound.

The contentious new farm was assembled off-site, an unusual move indicating that Cermaq was expecting resistance. When Cermaq towed the assembled pens to the Yaakswiis site on Wednesday they were met by members of Ahousaht First Nations who do not want salmon farms in Clayoquot Sound. Continue reading

2015YaakswiisSite

New salmon farm approved in Clayoquot Sound

On the Friday afternoon before the BC Day weekend, the government attempted to bury the news that a new salmon farm had been approved in Clayoquot Sound. Three other new farms were also approved for northern Vancouver Island.

The license was issued to Cermaq, a Norwegian-based company belonging to Mitsubishi. If installation is completed, the new feedlot would be located along the shores of Flores Island (pictured below), in Ahousaht First Nations territory. Flores Island is cloaked in intact ancient cedar rainforest, with many creeks supporting runs of wild salmon. Continue reading

Iisaak_logging_Clayoquot_Sound

Still logging Clayoquot Sound

I never expected to end up in maximum security prison when I moved to Tofino in 1988. I had just finished my fourth season of tree planting—I knew what would happen to Clayoquot Sound’s rainforest if something didn’t change, soon. People often ask what brought me to Tofino. “My Volkswagen van,” I quip, but really it was the big trees, which I had fallen in love with as a teenager back in 1979. Continue reading