Wild Salmon Delegation to Norway

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: Joe Martin of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations, John Rampanen from Ahousaht and Kelsemaht First Nations, and Bonny Glambeck & Dan Lewis from Clayoquot Action in Tofino. 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.

Salmon farming is a global industry based in Norway. It’s time to develop a global response to protect wild salmon. This trip will link indigenous people from Canada and Norway, and environmental advocates from both countries as well.

This project is two-thirds funded thanks to Mountain Equipment Coop and a private donor. Now we need to raise another ten thousand dollars to cover the cost of travel to and within Norway. Please visit our Indiegogo page to make your contribution!

Local businesses in Tofino have generously donated some fantastic perks to help raise the needed funds. Perks include stickers, art cards from local artists, t-shirts, limited edition prints of Tla-o-qui-aht artist Joe David’s Salmon People, limited edition giclee reproductions of Leanne Hodges’ Clayoquot Wolf painting, and a Tofino Getaway package including two nights beachfront accommodation, gourmet meals, and adventure outings. Check out the perks here.

Opposition to salmon feedlots in Clayoquot Sound is growing. The momentum has begun. It’s time to pull together to remove salmon farms from the waters of Clayoquot Sound. You can be part of this!

Wild Salmon Delegation to Norway from Clayoquot Action on Vimeo.

aerial of Clayoquot Sound temperate rainforest

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”.

Over 90% of Vancouver Island has been clearcut, leaving Clayoquot Sound as the Last Great Rainforest. It is the southernmost big rainforest left on the Pacific coast. There is a large area of old growth forest in the backcountry, the area known as iiḥmis (pristine valleys)—places like Sydney Valley, Pretty Girl Cove, Ursus River, and Flores Island. These unprotected valleys are contiguous with the Megin and Moyeha River, which are protected. Part of what makes Clayoquot Sound unique is not just the size of the rainforest, but the presence of valleys which have never seen industrial logging or road-building. These watersheds are hydrologically intact, and continue to function the way they were designed to by Nature. They provide critical habitat for large animals such as timber wolves and Roosevelt Elk, who need room to roam.
Wild salmon habitat
These wild rivers create spawning and rearing habitat for wild salmon, which in turn provide the nitrogen missing in the shallow, post-glacial soils. The salmon are spread through the forest by over a hundred species, collectively known as the salmon guild. Wildlife such as bears, eagles and even tiny wrens are all part of the salmon guild. This marine-based nitrogen is the secret ingredient which causes the monumental cedars to grow so big.

The Ahousaht Nation has recently launched a community Land Use Visioning process which intends to produce a set of management values designed to protect a traditional way of life while supporting a continued transition to a modern diversified sustainable economy. Ḥawiiḥ Tlaakiishwia, John Keitlah, stated “We must now sit down with all levels of government and find a solution that creates a truly prosperous sustainable future for our people”.

In these times of climate crisis, protecting ancient forests is an excellent way to store carbon over the long term. Logging accomplishes the exact opposite, releasing large amounts of carbon quickly. One can only hope that world leaders at the Paris climate summit in November will be as forward-thinking as the Ahousaht people.

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.

Lennie John

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


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

Millar Channel in Clayoquot Sound

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 above), in Ahousaht First Nations territory. Flores Island is cloaked in intact ancient cedar rainforest, with many creeks supporting runs of wild salmon. Continue reading


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

Who's Knocking report cover

Who’s Knocking?

Before the dust had even settled on the Mount Polley Mine disaster, owner Imperial Metals was active again in Clayoquot Sound. This finding was published in Who’s Knocking?, a report on mineral tenures in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The report, by Clayoquot Action in partnership with the Fair Mining Collaborative, details who is looking for minerals in Clayoquot Sound, and what types of minerals they are looking for.

The study found that 5.8% of Clayoquot Sound is under some form of mineral title, with a total of 257 claims held by 23 licensees. As recently as 2010, 24.5% of the region was under mineral tenure—the area staked has fallen due to the low price of minerals. This highlights the ‘boom and bust’ nature of the mining industry. Claim staking will likely increase again when metal prices rebound. Minerals sought after include gold, silver, and copper. Continue reading

Raven Coal action—Fyson Bridge

Hummingbirds—yes we can!

John Snyder is President of the CoalWatch Comox Valley Society

Compliance Coal’s withdrawal of their latest Application for the proposed Raven Coal Mine Project from the BC Environmental Assessment Office’s evaluation screening process is a significant setback for Compliance, and a victory for those who have opposed this ill-advised project for more than 5 years.

The Raven Coal Mine Project planned to build and operate an underground coal mine only 5 kilometres from Fanny Bay and Baynes Sound on the east side of Vancouver Island and ship the processed coal by truck to a proposed coal port in Port Alberni on the west side of Vancouver Island. Continue reading

ount Polley Mine disaster

Imperial Metals: April Fools?

Clayoquot Action is watching closely how Imperial Metals handles their Mount Polley Mine disaster. Why? Because the same company has plans for 2 new mines right here in Clayoquot Sound.

On April 1st an application filed by Imperial Metals for a restricted re-start of its Mount Polley mine was accepted for formal review. The BC government announced a 30-day public comment period with a deadline of April 30th. A decision on whether or not to issue the permits will be made in early June.

Continue reading

aerial of Hazeltine Creek after Mount Polley mine disaster. Jeremy Williams photo

Mount Polley report: no more ‘business as usual’

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.

On January 30, the BC government released the report of an independent panel appointed to determine the cause of the dam failure at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine last summer. When that dam failed, 25 million cubic metres of toxic slurry flowed into Polley Lake, down Hazeltine Creek and into the pristine waters of Quesnel Lake—home to one quarter of the Fraser River’s sockeye salmon. Continue reading