Opponents of fish farming in B.C. plan to canoe down the Fraser River to raise awareness about the controversial aquaculture practice.
The Paddle for Wild Salmon is set to start in Hope on April 28 and stop at communities along the way to gather support as it heads toward the mouth of the river.
The trip will coincide with another anti-fish-farm journey taking place on Vancouver Island. Called the Get Out Migration, that campaign involves a trek across the island to collect signatures on a petition. Led by biologist Alexandra Morton, the walk will begin in Sointula on April 22 and end with a rally at the legislature in Victoria on May 8.
“Definitely the standards of practice need to change,” said Elena Edwards, the Mission-based organizer of the Paddle for Wild Salmon, who will also be gathering names. “There needs to be accountability.”
The petition criticizes the practice of net-cage fish farming for endangering wild salmon and food security.
Edwards, who also plans to take part in the May 8 rally, said she is still looking for paddlers and others to join in activities along the route. The trip down the Fraser River is expected to take several days.
“It started off as a small idea, and everyone has just latched on to it,” said Edwards, who added that local First Nation groups are in support.
The Fraser River placed fourth on an annual list of the top-10 endangered waterways in the province released by the Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C. The group highlighted declining fish stocks as one reason for the ranking, noting that the sockeye salmon returns in 2009 were the lowest seen in more than 50 years.