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CONTRIBUTION · 31st August 2011
Alexandra Morton
On the stand were Trevor Swerdfager, Director General Aquaculture Management (DFO), Andrew Thomson, Director, Aquaculture Management, Gavin Last formerly Assistant Director, Aquaculture Branch Ministry Agriculture and Lands and Ian Fleming professor, Ocean Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

We heard that when salmon farms were sited no one even considered the migration route of the Fraser sockeye. When the salmon farm licenses were rolled over to federal jurisdiction the First Nations were not consulted and the question was asked, has a salmon farm ever been revoked or denied. The answer was no.

A rally was held out side the commission, we could hear the drums from the courtroom. The Union of BC Chiefs spoke at the rally saying all this is about taking the lands (and waters) away from the people to serve corporate profits.

Dr. Fleming has studied salmon farms in Norway. When asked about the regulation that asks salmon farms to remain 1 km away from significant streams, Fleming suggested it was meaningless and unscientific.

McDade: In Norway do they keep salmon farms away from wild salmon rivers?

Fleming: that's correct

McDade: Are there new diseases emerging

Fleming: yes

McDade: in terms of risk to wild fish is the impact of salmon farms increased by placing them in constricted, smaller bodies of water?

Fleming: Yes

McDade wanted to know; Looking at a map of the Discovery Islands, the small channels and the large number of wild salmon that pass through those channels would your experience in Norway suggest this would be a place to avoid placing salmon farms?

Fleming: I believe it would be helpful not to place salmon farms in the Discovery Islands if these salmon stocks are significant, it seems and unfortunate area to put salmon farms, yes.

McDade: is there anywhere in the world there is not a problem with salmon farm disease

Fleming: No

A looming issue with this inquiry is the extremely short amount of time each coalition is being given to question witnesses. We were given access to over 500,000 documents, but there is no time to bring forth most of the important information contained in them. The Cohen Inquiry spent months going through policy issues, but when it comes to the actual biological reason the Fraser sockeye are dying - and the extremely important question - is this industry placed in locations that are dangerous to wild salmon - lawyers are in some cases being given 5 minutes to question four witnesses. Why is this?