Waters off B.C. coast awash in plastic particles. Vancouver Sun

If it’s there, it’s here. Could this issue have links to other problems we are seeing in the marine environment? Very likely. This could be a great project for some researchers here as well. The PT Marine Science Center did surveys of the beaches a few years ago and also found extensive plastic pollution almost everywhere they looked.

Water samples from off the B.C. coast have found up to about 9,200 particles of plastic per cubic metre, the director of a new ocean pollution program at the Vancouver Aquarium said Tuesday. Based on 34 water samples taken between inshore waters and 1,200 kilometres due west of Victoria, the concentrations of microplastics — pieces typically the size of a coffee ground — were found to increase in proximity to the mainland coast. Microplastics can be ingested by plankton, invertebrates and other marine life forming the base of the food chain; ingestion of plastics may make organisms think they are full, causing them to starve. “There is extensive contamination of sea water by microplastics,” confirmed Peter Ross, a former research scientist with the federal Institute of Ocean Sciences in Sidney on Vancouver Island. “It raises the questions: where are they coming from and do they pose a threat to the food web? This will remain a priority for the aquarium.” Larry Pynn reports.

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Waters+coast+awash+plastic+particles+says+head+Vancouver/9520815/story.html

B.C. fish farmers see opportunity as DFO lifts license freeze – Vancouver Sun

The sordid story in B.C. goes on, with the Federal government ignoring the warnings of it’s own commission. The electorate of the country needs to be the ones to act on this. The Government is clearly not going to do anything to stop the industry.

The lifting a moratorium on new fish-farm applications on British Columbia’s coast won’t lead to “a free-for-all” of new requests, according to an industry spokeswoman. Ottawa put applications on hold in 2011 while the Cohen Commission investigating the state of Pacific salmon fishery. However, Fisheries Minister Gail Shea quietly lifted the freeze several months ago.

 

http://www.vancouversun.com/business/fish+farmers+opportunity+lifts+licence+freeze/9392430/story.html

Land-based fish farms getting into the swim of things in B.C. – The Province

Good article about a working alternative to in water fish farms. This is a rated “green” tilapia farm near Sumas. No waste water is sent to the rivers. The way forward? It certainly takes away the arguement that this is an “in-water” dependent business. Have to see if we can get local restaurants to carry the fish. I’d pay a bit more to support this, wouldn’t you?

Sumas Lake Aquafarm’s fish are imported as fry and raised in a closed-containment system in a former dairy barn. Water is circulated among 24 large metal tanks, each containing about 5,000 fish, and a sophisticated filtration system using RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) technology. The farm is completely bio-secure, and no waste water is released into the environment.

Read the whole story here and do what you can to support local reporting in news outlets like the “The Province”

http://www.theprovince.com/life/Land+based+fish+farms+getting+into+swim+things/9310810/story.html

Incredible underwater videos from BC filmmaker(s)

I just discovered the work that Tavish Campbell, Ian McAllister and others are  doing north of the border to save and protect the Great Bear Rainforest. Their video project is putting web cameras all over the place, and having local First Nation kids help run them. The  goal is to help educate the planet to the amazing forest there, the last intact temperate rainforest on the planet, and the threat from the tar sands pipeline the Harper Government  is attempting to smash through. The threat to the forest, and the surrounding waters is real, as Harper has no real opposition, and is acting much like the kind of government found in African oil regions. Nothing is successfully standing in the way to do whatever they want to ship this oil everywhere. Now a superport in one of the most delicate and incredible ecosystems left.

Why is this important to us on the Peninsula? Because the massive increase in tanker traffic will not just happen up north of Vancouver Island (which will threaten the north part of the island) but also will bring more tanker traffic through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. All the while, Harper is slashing the budgets to the Coast Guard, and from conversations I’ve had with our Coast Guard, they are very worried, though assume they will have to pick up the slack.

So Pacific Wild has  been having great video shooters up and do work there.  They have been running a fundraiser for more gear that I just found out ended by the time you read this. But you can share in the discovery of their amazing work.

Here’s what they have to say about their work:

Pacific Wild Alliance is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to protecting the Great Bear Rainforest and its wildlife.  As the largest remaining intact temperate rainforest on the planet, the Great Bear is under immediate threat from crude oil and liquid natural gas pipeline proposals that would go directly through the heart of the rainforest.  At Pacific Wild Alliance, we are dedicated to showing the world how truly unique this area is and what would be lost if these proposals were to go forward.

Great Bear LIVE is an innovative research project and conservation tool that transmits live wildlife video and audio streams from the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest to your personal computer anywhere in the world.  By sharing the hidden world of the Great Bear Rainforest, Pacific Wild Alliance can connect people with the region we are striving to protect and educate the world about the many threats this pristine ecosystem faces.

This short piece is well worth taking a couple of minutes to see. Absolutely stunning underwater video. All just a few hours north of us.  If you know someone who might want to help fund their work, it’s likely not to late to ask them.

 

Sardine Fishery on BC Coast Collapses

This is very bad news. It appears they are somewhere, according to the article, not just not there. Hopefully the folks in BC and at the Federal level of government in Canada will take this very seriously and find out what the cause of this is. It appears that this is not the first time this has happened.

Sardine fishery along B.C. coast collapses. A $32-million commercial fishery has inexplicably and completely collapsed this year on the B.C. coast. The sardine seine fleet has gone home after failing to catch a single fish…

Much more at

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/sardine-fishery-along-b-c-coast-collapses-1.659664

Fisheries and Oceans Canada looking into claims of sick herring–Times Colonist

Less than 100 miles or so north of us, the crisis of sick herring (and the disease vector that appears to be farmed Atlantic Salmon) is about to explode.  Can our fisheries be far behind?

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is trying to confirm reports from an independent biologist that herring around northern Vancouver Island have a disease that is causing bleeding from their gills, bellies and eyeballs.

Alexandra Morton wrote to DFO asking for an investigation and viral testing of the fish after she pulled up a net of about 100 herring near Sointula and found they were all bleeding.

Read the whole story at the Times Colonist:

http://www.timescolonist.com/business/fisheries-and-oceans-canada-looking-into-claims-of-sick-herring-1.588652

Huge News! BC Government formally opposes Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline – CBC News

This is huge.

‘Our questions were not satisfactorily answered,’ environment minister says. The B.C. government has officially expressed its opposition to a proposal for the Northern Gateway pipeline project, saying it fails to address the province’s environmental concerns.

Read all about it.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/05/31/bc-northern-gateway-rejected.html

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