A massive outbreak of salmon lice in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is threatening to wipe out this year’s salmon runs. Cermaq’s documentation on salmon lice for April show that the numbers of salmon lice on seven of their fourteen Clayoquot farm sites are up to ten times higher than the threshold which requires treatment. The regulatory threshold is three motile salmon lice per farm fish.
There are 20 open net-pen salmon farms in Clayoquot Sound, all located on wild salmon migration routes. The salmon lice outbreak is occurring as wild salmon smolts are leaving Clayoquot’s rivers to begin their life at sea.
(Originally published in November/December 2016 issue of Watershed Sentinel)
As I struggled to hoist myself up onto the monumental stump of an ancient red cedar, I wondered how it had come to this. Why, in 2010, were trees like this being cut down in Clayoquot Sound? A place where valley after valley of ancient forests never ravaged by chainsaws undulates downwards from the snowy peaks, to surf rolling in on mile-long sandy beaches.
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”.
Dan Lewis is a founding director of Clayoquot Action.
Clayoquot Sound is the crown jewel of Vancouver Island, a place that calls people, and keeps them coming back. It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful place, teeming with the power of wild nature. It is a testament to the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations’ stewardship that so many people lived such rich lives here for millennia, without diminishing the place.
Large, undisturbed rainforest valleys make Clayoquot stand out ecologically—they’re full of iconic monumental cedars, with timber wolves and black bears roaming the floodplains, fishing for wild salmon. We’ve had the pleasure of visiting these pristine valleys, most of which are not legally protected. For this year’s annual pilgrimage Bonny & I decided to checked out the Clayoquot River.
Dan Lewis is a founding director of Clayoquot Action.
It has been a fantastic first year for Clayoquot Action! Quite a whirlwind of a year—from the start-up in spring right through to the Clayoquot Summer 20 Years After fall tour. At year’s end, our infrastructure is up and running, including a small office in Tofino. Ready now for some quiet time by the woodstove to rest, reflect, and celebrate—and to get stoked for all the possibilities the New Year will bring!
Highlights of 2013 included hosting Alexandra Morton and Twyla Roscovich on their Salmon Confidential tour, organizing the Imperial Metals AGM rally with the Wilderness Committee, presenting a total of twenty two ’20 Years After’ shows to almost twelve hundred people, and organizing logistics for the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior’s Tofino visit.
Was Clayoquot Summer worth all the effort? The Peace Camp in 1993 was a glimpse at an alternative to corporate control of our world—direct democracy. It was a radical university, empowering over ten thousand people with the techniques of peaceful direct action and consensus decision-making.
Jennifer Abbot, director of The Corporation stated in the 2006 film Clayoquot Sound Resistance and Renewal “I actually did feel that 300 people reached consensus, which was quite shocking. I’d never experienced that in my life. It was to me a model of consensus-building that I’ll never forget”.
Today the name Clayoquot has become synonymous with mass peaceful protest. Just as Clayoquot Summer found its roots in the civil rights movement, it is now part of one river that flows through movements such as Occupy Wall Street. The Enbridge resistance threatens to become the next “Clayoquot” according to media pundits.
Was Clayoquot Summer successful?
The arrests were largely symbolic. Most days the loggers eventually got through. However, temperate rainforests were put on the map as an important conservation issue alongside tropical rainforests such as the Amazon. And the cumulative results had a huge impact on logging here in Clayoquot Sound.
The roots of Clayoquot Summer
Twenty-five years ago Tofino residents and Nuu-chah-nulth locals stood together in Sulphur Pass to prevent a road from being punched into the wildlands of northern Clayoquot Sound. The theme song of the blockade became Midnight Oil’s Beds are Burning. Campfire circles led to wild fantasies of the Oil playing live on the road, shutting the company down.
Fast-forward five years to Clayoquot Summer 1993, the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history. Midnight Oil played a show at the Peace Camp on a stage made of charred timbers from the Black Hole clearcut, with David Suzuki boogying down in the front row. Meanwhile hundreds of people, feeling their collective power, chose to remain seated on the road, and the loggers never did get through that day.
How did this happen? The answer is simple: we organized. Inspired by Redwood Summer in California (which was in turn inspired by Mississippi Summer, part of the civil rights struggles of the 1960s), we decided to focus on organizing mass protests.