Assault on Clayoquot salmon continues

Another approval, this one bravely issued the Wednesday before the Thanksgiving long weekend, brings closer the expansion of open net-cage salmon farming in Clayoquot Sound. Read the one-page “Reasons for Decision” — what a non-document! There’s so much wrong with this that i won’t go into it here (refer to Don Staniford’s blog and Alex Morton’s blog to get an earful of how insidious this corporate/government conspiracy really is). Continue reading

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ISA, fish farms, inaction, etc.

I’m getting in a letter-writing mood again. Here’s today’s missive, sent to the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans via the Wilderness Committee‘s convenient letter-writing tool (in case you want to write one yourself).

It is time, and well past time, for our provincial and federal government, and especially the DFO, to take some meaningful action on protecting wild salmon from the effects of salmon farms. The tactic of waiting for 100% incontestable scientific proof before even beginning to act is no longer supportable, and hasn’t been for years. Continue reading

List life

I can’t resist picking up little bits of paper with writing on them. Being a compulsive list-jotter myself, I just have to know what people consider significant enough to commit to paper. Usually it’s disappointing, but occasionally i happen upon a gem.

As a teen, i spent a year living with my grandmother in Winnipeg. I sometimes used to write messages on bits of paper and drop them strategically on downtown sidewalks, sometimes with a phone number, to see if anybody would call back. They never did. I would have.

This intriguing list at right i just picked up on the sidewalk by the Co-op parking lot. I like the “big undies — LOL,” and have to wonder why the “beach scene” photo got cut in half.

I was on the way to the office, incidentally, to check my email to see what time tonight’s party started. Turns out the party isn’t for two weeks — something i’d have known if i’d listed it in my daybook.

I’ve had lists on the brain for the last week or so, one in particular: Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’s famous “five stages of grief,” from her 1969 book, On Death and Dying. Thing is, at any given time i can never remember more than three items on the damn list. So for posterity’s sake, here it is, courtesy of the Wikipedia page:

  1. Denial – “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening, not to me.”
  2. Anger – “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; “Who is to blame?”
  3. Bargaining – “Just let me live to see my children graduate.”; “I’ll do anything for a few more years.”; “I will give my life savings if…”
  4. Depression – “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die… What’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?”
  5. Acceptance – “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.

Seems to me that list applies to much more in life than just terminal illness. A few things come to mind.

  1. Most life changes, big or small
  2. Many relationships
  3. Finding accommodation in Tofino

Globe & Mail & Lawyers

My search for that rarest of commodities, reliable reportage on the climate issue and the Copenhagen summit, lead me to The Globe & Mail and an article headlined Facts and Fiction on Climate Change. Good stuff, or a good start anyway.

But it included a dozen or so comments from climate change deniers of one stripe or another (there seem to be several). I wanted to post my own reasonable reasons for pursuing a strong carbon treaty, so i decided to create an account.

Simple enough: name, email, password, postal code. Oh, and the check box beside the little sentence that reads “Yes, I have read, understand and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.”

I know most people just click the little box and get on with it, but like to know what i’m agreeing to. So i clicked the Privacy Policy link, only to find a page easily twenty screens long — the longest by far i’ve ever seen. In fact, i just pasted it into a blank OpenOffice text document to do a word count, and it weighs in at 4,528 words — a respectable short story (written in boring legalese).

The Terms and Conditions? Even longer: 5,654 words, 27 sections, and a whopping 15 pages as cut-and-pasted into a blank text document.

If newspapers are wondering why they’re having difficulty attracting and holding readers, this might offer one tiny clue.I mean, i like thoroughness, but if i can buy a newspaper with $1.25 why do i have do sign a contract to read it on-line?

The Privacy Policy page had a form at the bottom for “Privacy Inquiry.” I submitted this:

I just started to register for your site, but thought i’d better check out your privacy policy and terms & conditions.

The former is about twenty screens long, and the latter is longer still.

If you cannot do better than making me read half an hour of legalese to sign up with your site, i’ll have to go elsewhere.

Put the lawyers out to pasture and get some real people on the job. I’d love to read and interact with and support the G&M, but this makes it impossible.

Cheers,

~greg

Dear, dear salmon

Sent in reaction to a Westerly News article (Nov. 29) headlined Salmon crisis on West Coast:

Dear editor,

That was a grim article (Salmon crisis on West Coast), on the slide of our West Coast salmon runs into extinction. For the people who are, on paper, supposed to be dealing with this — various DFO and governmental bureaucrats — it must be something of an embarrasment.

For those of us who live here in Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds, however, it’s a little more personal. Salmon is the phenomenon that has made human life possible on the West Coast for several thousand years, sustaining us along with (directly and indirectly) the whole temperate rainforest and all of its denizens.
That I should be living here at the time when this huge, ocean-spanning “resource” declines precipitously into extinction … well, that makes me feel deeply ashamed.

I have come to expect nothing more than lip service on these matters from my federal and provincial governments, whose aims these days, it seems, are strictly economic, coddling everything job- and profit-creating at the expense of the troublesome natural world.

But it is time, and well past time, for vigorous action on this front. What we’ll get instead, I expect, is arm-waving: “Oh, we don’t know exatly what’s causing the decline.” But if we wait for sciencific “proof” before we act, we might as well just go poison all those salmon streams ourselves right now.

There is a growing body of evidence that fish farming is implicated in the decline of wild salmon. It happened in Norway, where every fjord that harbours fish farms is now devoid of wild salmon. It has been well documented in the Broughton Archipelago by researcher Alexandra Morton, who is now in the courts forcing the federal government to live up to its legal responsibility. And it has been happening here in the West Coast for years — more industrial fish farms, fewer wild salmon — during which little has been done.

It is time to invoke the precautionary principle, which mandates erring on the side of caution when dealing with permanent extinction. At the very least, fallow the Clayoquot Sound fish farms during the period when smolts are running past them to the sea, which should ameliorate the sea-lice infection problem.

In the meantime, we must get onto the science to better understand what is happening. And we must fund hatcheries as a stopgap measure.

This is not like the forest, where if an old-growth area is logged, at least a semblance of what was once there eventually grows back. This is extinction — no salmon in those areas ever again.

I no longer expect my governments to act out of a sense of responsibility anymore, even when it means enforcing their own laws. But it is no longer acceptable to me to stand by while they dither as our wild salmon die. I dearly hope my fellow West Coast residents not only feel the same way, but will call and write their elected representatives to express their concerns.