In the past few weeks we have had two quiet announcements from government agencies that are a big deal for BC’s fish farms.
First, after six years (yes, six years) of bureaucratic delay, the BC government has finally been ordered to release information about sea lice infestations that have been plaguing wild salmon populations and wreaking havoc in west coast marine ecosystems. Ecojustice had originally requested the information from government and was rebuffed because the information could “harm” the fish farm companies, whose operations were responsible for spreading sea lice. The government has now been told to release the information within the next 30 days. So after a truly extraordinary wait, it appears that the public’s right to know does indeed trump the province’s right to protect the companies’ reputation.
And earlier this week, Fisheries and Oceans Canada changed their tune after being threatened with an Ecojustice lawsuit for not playing by the rules. The flip-flop will ensure that a proper federal environmental assessment will be done for a BC fish farm that wishes to expand its production by almost 40%, potentially making it one of the biggest in the country.
Whether its harmful effluent or weak oversight, we’re taking fishy industry and short-sighted governments to task for failing our dwindling salmon stocks – and reeling in the victories in the process.