Canadian environmental groups call for closure of chinook fisheries and removal of whale watching boats.

Well, I guess my editorial of the other day was just an example of great minds thinking alike (small joke). Here’s our friends north  of the border asking for a closure on chinook. They have also asked for a ban on whale watching boats. More on that in a future post.

The growing realization that southern resident orcas are starving to death has led green groups to urge stronger measures to save them. The David Suzuki Foundation and the Raincoast Conservation Foundation have called for an immediate closure of fishing for chinook salmon on B.C.’s coast. Orcas rely on chinook to survive and it’s their preferred prey…. Under the Pacific Salmon Treaty, up to two million chinook are caught each year on both sides of the border. According to the environmental groups, the southern resident orca population requires about 1,400 chinook each day to remain alive. Charlie Smith reports. (Georgia Straight)

Environmental groups call for closure of chinook fisheries to preserve endangered southern resident orcas

From the David Suzuki Foundation:

We’re asking the minister to close all chinook fishing and expand foraging refuges to cover critical habitat, and to prohibit fisheries until the end of October. Recovery plans are needed for the orcas’ food source, chinook salmon. Whale-watching operations and private vessels must also be prevented from targeting these critically endangered whales.

 

 

Millions of B.C. salmon mysteriously ‘just disappear’ in troubling year – Globe and Mail

More bad news for our fishing fleets.

Although spawning salmon are still returning to British Columbia’s rivers – including some, surprisingly, to urban streams – early returns indicate another troubling year, despite some bright spots…. There were good sockeye salmon returns to the Great Central Lake system on Vancouver Island and to the Nass River on the North Coast, he said. But contrasting that were very poor returns on the Fraser River, where only about two million sockeye returned, far short of the more than six million predicted in preseason forecasts. Even more dramatic was the collapse of the pink salmon on the Fraser, with only about five million fish showing up when more than 14 million had been forecast. Mark Hume reports. (Globe and Mail)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/millions-of-bc-salmon-mysteriously-disappear-in-troubling-year/article27089342/

Trudeau victory means uncertain future for pipeline projects – CBC

The first of many good news articles for the north coast of British Columbia, but with concerns still alive about tanker traffic increases in the Straits and Salish Sea, especially around the San Juans. This battle is not over yet, but at least a favorable government to ending it is now coming to power.

The Liberal victory in yesterday’s federal election appears to be the nail in the coffin for one West Coast pipeline project, but the future of another remains unclear. Incoming-prime minister Justin Trudeau is on record saying he would kill the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal, which would carry crude oil from the Alberta oilsands to a tanker terminal on the North Coast of B.C. near Prince Rupert…. That leaves the proposed expansion of the existing Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline, which runs from Alberta to Port Metro Vancouver on the South Coast of B.C. While Trudeau has promised to formalize the non-binding moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic on B.C.’s North Coast passed by MP’s in 2010 — that ban applies specifically to the North Coast. And that leaves leave the door open for Kinder Morgan, which is seeking approval from the NEB to twin the 50-year-old pipeline, tripling its capacity, and increasing the tanker traffic in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet on the South Coast. Mike Laanela reports. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/trudeau-pipelines-northern-gateway-kinder-morgan-1.3280444

‘Monster’ El Nino could cause flooding and erosion on B.C. coast: professor – CBC

I’m so glad that while this is expected in British Columbia, it won’t happen here…oh wait!

“We know that in past El Ninos from here to California we’ve seen some of the highest historic rates of erosion. “

This winter’s El Nino is expected to rival the strongest on record, which hit in 1997-98.

If you live on the beach, you might want to make sure your insurance is up to date, and your most valued documents are stored off site.

CBC article

Sunshine Coast bans all watering, moves to Stage 4 restrictions – CBC

Our neighbors to the north have moved to banning all outside tap water use. I assume we are not far behind. Or should be!

The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) declared Stage 4 water restrictions Tuesday morning, banning all outdoor tap water use, effective Thursday, Aug. 13. It’s believed to be the first region in B.C. to enact such a ban. Residential and commercial water users are subject to the new rules, as the district says only commercial food growers with farm status and water meters are exempt from the ban. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sunshine-coast-bans-all-watering-moves-to-stage-4-restrictions-1.3186965

Kuterra aquaculture by ‘Namgis First Nation raises hope for wild salmon— and some hackles – National Observer

An update on the attempt to create a financially viable closed-containment aquaculture in BC. Ramifications for the Olympic Peninsula because of the push to bring open water net pens to the Straits and expand use in the Sound continues.

The ’Namgis First Nation, with advice and support from a large number of groups, including Tides Canada, conservation groups, and funding agencies, has launched Kuterra, a land-based, “closed-containment” aquaculture project that keeps their Atlantic salmon out of contact with the larger marine ecosystem.

http://www.nationalobserver.com/2015/07/23/news/kuterra-aquaculture-%E2%80%98namgis-first-nation-raises-hope-wild-salmon%E2%80%94-and-some-hackles

Level 4 drought declared for South Coast and Lower Fraser – CBC

The drought from the perspective of BC government has reached a serious milestone.

Conditions are so dry in B.C’s Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast and Fraser Valley that the provincial government has raised the drought rating to the highest category — Level 4 — and are warning that if things get worse, water shortages could affect people, industry and agriculture. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/level-4-drought-declared-for-south-coast-and-lower-fraser-1.3153654

See also: See also: Record warm temperatures to have years-long effect on B.C. salmon stocks: scientisthttp://www.vancouversun.com/news/metro/Recordwarmtemperatureshaveyearslongeffectsalmonstocks/11213948/story.html
(Canadian Pres)

Protecting our Coastal “Salad Bowl” – Eye On the Environment

Our northern neighbors and us are threatened by a massive oil transport project in British Columbia. Here’s a short piece on a couple who are opposed and why.

Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: “While our planet’s oceans are clearly facing serious health challenges these days, we’re fortunate that many marine and coastal habitats are still alive and relatively healthy. In our little corner of the world, the Salish Sea teems with life in many places, including some of the shores of Haro Strait at the southeastern end of Vancouver Island….”

http://eyeonenvironment.com/2015/07/14/protecting-our-coastal-salad-bowl/

Fukushima radiation measured on B.C. shore for 1st time – CBC

We knew this day would come. Levels are still so low as to not be an immediate concern, but this does raise concerns that it will end up building up on the shores. This stuff does not ‘go away’.

Trace amounts of radiation from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan have been detected on North American shores for the first time, but researchers say the amount of radiation is not a concern.  Radioactive forms of the element cesium that could only have come from Fukushima were detected in samples collected on Feb. 19 in Ucluelet, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, with the help of the Ucluelet Aquarium, scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reported today. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/fukushima-radiation-measured-on-b-c-shore-for-1st-time-1.3022565

Sockeye, inshore waters test Fukushima-free – Coast Reporter

Good news so far, in that an independent group of citizen scientists and researchers have not been able to find any trace of Fukushima radiation in seawater at the coast of B.C. We hope this testing continues into next year.

As the first batches of seawater samples collected by citizen scientists along the B.C. coast are being analyzed in Victoria, the results of radiation testing on 19 sockeye salmon and steelhead samples have come back negative for Fukushima-related contamination. And tests conducted so far this year on water samples from Prince Rupert to Victoria have also found B.C.’s inshore waters to be Fukushima-free. John Gleeson reports. (Coast Reporter)

Read the whole story at the Coast Reporter site.

http://www.coastreporter.net/news/local-news/sockeye-inshore-waters-test-fukushima-free-1.1688375

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark Warns that BC is Unprepared For Oil Spill –

This about says it all. And she is clear, they are not prepared today, not in some theoretical future of more oil transportation from new pipelines. 

From the National.

BREAKING: Fuel-laden container ship adrift off coast of Haida Gwaii – West Coast Native News

There is a problem being reported 9 miles off the coast of Haida Gwaii, part of the islands otherwise known in non-native circles as the Queen Charlotte Islands. This is home to the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. This remote and unspoiled beautiful coast is now awaiting whether Canadian officials can muster anything like technical support from having this become the latest in the oil industry’s sordid history of spills in fish rich locales.

Let’s hope that the Canadian coast guard is up to the task, given it’s cuts over the last few years.

The ship is currently about nine miles off the coast of Haida Gwaii, at the southeast end of the island.

Called the Simushir, there are 11 crew members on board. The JRCC said the vessel master has sustained an unknown injury and they are sending a helicopter to rescue him.

Simushir
The ship is carrying mining minerals, 400 tonnes of Bunker C fuel oil and 50 tonnes of diesel fuel.

http://westcoastnativenews.com/breaking-fuel-laden-container-ship-adrift-off-coast-of-haida-gwaii/

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

Island drought imperils salmon-spawning grounds

Rivers and streams throughout Vancouver Island are drying to trickles after a two-month drought and fears are growing that salmon will not be able to reach spawning grounds. Andrew Thomson, federal Fisheries and Oceans south coast area director, said his department, helped by volunteers, salmon enhancement societies and First Nations, are searching for ways to help the fish if rain doesn’t fall.

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Island+drought+imperils+salmon+spawning+grounds/7354934/story.html

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