Wild salmon petitions on way to Gordon Campbell’s office

On Wednesday (May 6), Premier Gordon Campbell’s Vancouver campaign office will receive two petitions asking the government of British Columbia to protect wild salmon from the negative effects of net-pen fish farms.

According to an e-mail received by the Straight from Alexandra Morton of adopt-a-fry.org, members of the Wilderness Committee will assemble in front of the premier and cabinet’s Vancouver office at the World Trade Centre at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver at 12 p.m.

The first petition that RRS plans to deliver was started by Morton in March 2009 and now includes 13,000 signatures. It asks Fisheries and Oceans Canada to apply the Fisheries Act to fish farms in B.C. to require observers to assess the amount of by-catch during fish-farm harvests and to examine farmed fish to see if they’ve eaten wild fish.

In May 2008, Morton went to court to challenge the provincial government’s constitutional right to regulate B.C.’s coastal waters. Morton has long argued that fish farms have a negative impact on surrounding wild-salmon stocks. In the Broughton Archipelago in 2002, Morton previously wrote at Straight.com, 98 percent of young pink salmon inhabiting waters around fish farms were infected with sea lice and 99 percent failed to survive and spawn in nearby rivers the following year.

In February 2009, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government—and not the province—should regulate fish farms. Since then, Morton has argued, the federal and provincial governments have failed to apply the Fisheries Act to industrial salmon feedlots in B.C.

The second document that RSS plans to deliver to Campbell’s office is a petition of its own, which, according to Morton’s e-mail, contains 33,000 signatures and also calls on the Campbell government to protect B.C.’s wild salmon from fish farms.

You can follow Travis Lupick on Twitter at twitter.com/tlupick.