TRANSCRIPT - Calvin
Sider is a fisherman from Sointula, British Columbia.
What are the changes the fisheries have been through?
been fishing for a good 30 years. In the last 10 years in particular,
we used to make a good living and when the farms first started up
we didn't think it was that bad of an idea to introduce the whole
rest of the world to fish. They said they wouldn't be selling their
product while we were still fishing. That lasted about 3 years.
Then, they slowly eroded our market share until we don¹t have
any of it left. We can barely give our fish away.
family's been living here for 4 generations since we've been fishing.
We've had ups and downs definitely with the fishing. But since the
farms started out, at first we thought it wasn't a bad idea, because
only a small percentage of the world's population was eating salmon.
It might help. Until they started selling their product into our
markets, dumping them across the border into the same markets that
we sell our fish into. Now we're fishing for about 10% of the monetary
value of what it was worth 10 years ago.
Can you talk about the impact on the community here?
wouldn't say it's directly attributed to the salmon farms, but our
own government seems to be one of our worst enemies here. This year
alone they wasted 14,000,000 fish in the Frazier River, one river.
So, it's hard for me to say that the farms have really hurt me personally.
What concerns do you have about escaped Atlantic salmon?
we went out in 2000 and caught 10,400, it was a total surprise to
us. We went out to catch Pink salmon and we ended up catching all
these Atlantics. It just concerns me that they can't keep the fish
on the farm. You know they've lied to us at least 4 times.
They said if they escape, they wouldn't go in our rivers. If they
go in the rivers, they wouldn't spawn. If they do spawn, they wouldn't
propagate. That's all been lies. So that's my biggest problem is
we've been lied to.
What are your concerns about these farms, the lice, disease, escapes?
all the environmental impacts of these; they're setting them in
water that's too shallow that doesn't flush the feces out properly.
They're contaminating the crab beds all around these farm sites.
They say they're closed due to sewage contamination. It doesn't
take a scientist to figure out where the sewage is coming from.
We've noticed in my shrimp trawl fishery that we're getting Arrow-tooth
flounders that about 30-40% of them are inflicted with a parasite
that blinds them. It's not a parasite that's native to British Columbia,
so we've been collecting samples and trying to get to the bottom
of that. But, the only place they're in those kind of concentrations
is around the farms. We correlate most of the environmental damage
that's being done to the farms.
Could you speak about your frustration with the DFO, government,
every time we have some kind of concern, and we've called the powers
that be, they basically brush us off. It can't be happening, or
we haven't studied that and a lot of times before they get around
to studying things it's already happened, done and gone. For instance,
they charter a 100 ft. dragger to come and catch some smolts that
were big in the Broughton Archipelago, and they end up going to
Broughton Strait. The scientist doesn't even know where Broughton
Archipelago is. It's stupidity like that that really concerns us
with our federal department of fisheries.
What would you have to say to the average consumer?
are what you eat. The reason it's cheaper is that it doesn't match
up to wild salmon, in taste, tone, and nutritionally. The color
in farmed salmon isn't even real. They have to put that in the feed.
Otherwise it would be gray. We don't even know what kind of drugs
they're treating these fish with. That's all pretty hush hush. Apparently
they starve them for 6 weeks before they put them into the market
and that must be good because they do shed a lot of that stuff.
You couldn't pay me to eat it.
Are there any other concerns? Lifting the moratorium?
as fishermen have seen the money they've spent on keeping their
fish on the farm, especially after the embarrassment of 2000. I've
personally seen them spend millions. I know of it, and I have a
nephew that works in the business. They are trying to rectify that
problem. But it's the other host of problems that they have, the
diseases, especially this new IHN disease that comes from wild fish.
The wild fish have it too, but the wild ones that die, fall back
and die. When they're swimming around in a soup bowl, and there's
10,000 of them, one gets a cold, everybody gets the cold. That's
Anything else you want to add?
dealing with a total takeover of our market share in salmon worldwide.
Whether it comes from Chile, Norway, Scotland, or British Columbia.
Right now there's a glut of salmon in the world market, and for
them to lift the moratorium here doesn't make any sense when they
can't sell the fish that they're producing now. The fish they are
producing now, they're producing at a loss. So, how much longer
can that go on? No, the Pinks didn't show up, they're not going
to show up anymore.
than 1% of what was supposed to show up actually showed up. The
testing that was done on them when they went out to sea as smolts,
showed that that 90% of them were covered in foreign sea lice that
came from the farms. There's just no question about where these
sea lice came from. And if they're going to do that, 2 runs of Pinks
in a small place like Knight's Inlet and Thompson Sound, they could
wipe the salmon out everywhere.
fish we're fishing for this time of the year, from bay Bella Bella,
we're getting 20 cents a pound for chums. They're perfectly edible
good fish. You know they're dumping their product into the market
and Los Angeles for a dollar less than the cost of production. That
can't go on for long. It's for anybody but Norwegian oil money.
Do you think salmon farms can be positive here?
they are a source of jobs and revenue for our provincial government,
and everybody involved in them, but they have to get their environmental
act together, so to speak, before they will be trusted to do business
here, or to be welcome in our world.
The industry says wild fisheries are on the ropes and that these
farms make jobs...what's your take on that?
agree that they are an economic boost to many communities, and that's
the hope. But, until they get their environmental impact situation
together, they can't operate the way they are. If they go to closed
containment with sewage treatment systems, it could very well work.
They're going to have to find ways of controlling their diseases,
and all the rest of it. We're just not willing to take the risk
of total environmental habitat degradation where we live here. We
can't take the chance.
Are you worried about the future of the wild salmon fishery?
worried for the future of the wild salmon themselves, not necessarily
the fishery. Our government seems to be able to look after annihilating
us economically as it is. So, it's the salmon that worries me. If
they're going to kill the salmon like they've killed the Kakweiken
and the Glendale in the last 2 years. That only took one cycle.
Your concerns about wild salmon, could you talk about that a little
concern isn't necessarily about the commercial fishery, if we don't
have wild fish there will be no commercial fishery, and that's a
given. So, if this problem with the Kakweiken and the Glendale systems
this year is proven to be attributed to the farm industry, then
they have to do something about their containment systems and their
enclosure systems, treatment systems, it's that simple. They can't
shit in our backyard.
Why should someone buy a wild caught salmon over a farmed salmon?
better for you for one thing. The only time when the farmed salmon
has become cheaper than wild salmon is when they overproduced themselves
to the extent that they couldn't sell their fish in their traditional
market. So, they have come into our marketplaces and basically dumped
their product into the markets and that's why it's cheaper.
Any other thoughts on that?
the case of our wild salmon being endangered, it's an absolute fallacy.
In the last 2 years alone the Department of Fisheries and Oceans
in Canada has wasted 35 million salmon in the Frazier River. It's
not a lack of fish, it's a lack of management.
What have fishermen reported about?
a fellow Dave Klatenburg on the Ocean Selector, he was actually
doing biological research for the Department of Fisheries, and he
ran across a 3 km long slick of dumped, diseased Atlantic salmon
that had floated. They go to the bottom and then go back up when
they start rotting. That's one of the biggest problems the farms
have is they have no contingency plans to deal with a massive die
off like this. They have no infrastructure in place, they don't
have trucks, they don't have packers, they don't have anything.
So, when they have an emergency situation like this, they're screwed,
their farms sink. They shouldn't be able to have that much volume
of product on their farms that they can't deal with.
Could you make a statement that they're dumping them in the ocean?
Ministry of Environment a week ago issued an emergency-dumping permit
to dump almost 1000 tons, metric tons, of diseased Atlantic salmon
at sea located 30 km off the West coast of Vancouver Island. It's
absolutely a ludicrous situation. I'm not allowed to dump one fish
overboard. For them to dump 1000 tons should be against the law.