Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior visits Tofino

Save Our Salmon

It was a gnarly morning, with a cold wind gusting under grey skies. I was feeling good about the decision to cancel the planned flotilla to greet Greenpeace’s flagship the Rainbow Warrior on the water. We had instead decided to convene at Chesterman’s Beach near Tofino. A couple of dozen people had shown up—not bad considering the conditions, I thought.

And then the magic happened! People began streaming out of the forest, onto the sandspit—all ages, and many walks of life, brightly dressed in a rainbow of raingear.

Sarah King from Greenpeace had spelled ‘Save Our Salmon’ in big letters on the sand. We lay down on the beach, and right on schedule a floatplane flew over, with local photographer Marnie Recker on board.

Fish Farms in Clayoquot Sound

The Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior is ‘coming home’ to Vancouver, but wanted to visit the Clayoquot Sound en route to shine a spotlight on the region’s 21 fish farm sites. Clayoquot Action was asked to coordinate local logistics. The Warrior was welcomed to Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations territory 3 miles offshore by Joe Martin and Terry Dorward, in five-metre seas.

Although Clayoquot Sound has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, many people would be surprised to learn that open net-pen salmon aquaculture is still permitted here. In fact Clayoquot Sound has one of the highest densities of fish farms on the BC coast, with 21 sites, and 16 active farms at any given time.

Although the un-logged rainforest valleys of Clayoquot Sound provide plenty of pristine habitat, local wild salmon populations are in dramatic decline.

Fish farms out

Open-netcage salmon farms are industrial feedlots. However, unlike animal feedlots on land, fish farms have nothing but a net between the farm and the wild ocean environment. The nets do not stop heavy concentrations of feed and fish sewage from polluting the ocean.

Concentrating so many salmon in these feedlots amplifies pathogens such as viruses and sea lice, which can then spread to wild fish populations. There is mounting evidence to suggest that deadly European salmon viruses are being imported in salmon eggs brought into BC from Norway.

The solution is simple: get the farms out of the ocean!

Rainbow warrior coming home

The Rainbow Warrior is the flagship of the Greenpeace navy. This is the third Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace’s first purpose-built campaigning boat. Equipped with state of the art communications, she can send images from the high seas all over the world. She’s also a highly efficient sailing vessel.

Her first visit to Vancouver, British Columbia, will be an unofficial homecoming, to the place where Greenpeace began some 42 years ago.

There will be opportunities to tour the Rainbow Warrior: in Vancouver on Friday October 11 and Saturday October 12; and in Victoria on Saturday October 19 and Sunday October 20. Full details here.

Thank you Greenpeace and especially the Captain and crew of the Rainbow Warrior for coming to Clayoquot Sound!

Take action

To help get fish farms out of Clayoquot Sound, visit this Greenpeace webpage where you can find info to write a letter to your favourite grocery store asking them to not sell farmed salmon. Please mention Clayoquot Sound in your letter!

Support our campaign to protect Clayoquot Sound’s wild salmon. Donate here.

Dan Lewis is a founding director of Clayoquot Action.

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Take Action!

Send an email to Environment Minister George Heyman to stop fish farms from dumping pesticides into Clayoquot Sound!