B.C. wild salmon march and rally to target start of Cohen Commission hearings

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      The plight of B.C.’s wild salmon is the focus of a series of events planned in Vancouver at the end of October.

      Organizers have timed a paddling ceremony, a march and a rally to coincide with the start of evidentiary hearings taking place as part of the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River.

      Established in November 2009 and led by Justice Bruce Cohen, the commission is set to hold the hearings starting on October 25. They are expected to continue into 2011. The commission will cover topics including the sockeye life cycle, conservation, wild salmon policy, and fishery management, among others.

      On October 20, the Paddle for Wild Salmon is set to start in Hope, with participants then travelling along the Fraser River for several days. Organizers say B.C. First Nations leaders, MPs, and MLAs will be among the paddlers.

      On October 24, a ceremony is to be held at Jericho Beach to welcome the Fraser River paddlers at the end of their trip. The event starts at noon and is to include speeches and entertainment.

      On October 25 at 10 a.m., a flotilla is expected to converge along the shore near Vanier Park before marchers head across the Burrard Bridge to the federal fisheries department office and onward to federal court in downtown Vancouver for the start of the Cohen commission evidentiary hearings.

      Also that day, a rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery is planned to cap off the march and the “Spirit of the Salmon Celebration” takes place at W2 Storyeum from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., featuring biologist Alexandra Morton.