Thursday, June 10, 2010

Can the Shat save the salmon?

Today in Ottawa, William Shatner will join New Westminster–Coquitlam NDP MP Fin Donnelly, marine biologist Alexandra Morton and Chief Bob Chamberlain of Kwicksutaineuk Ah-Kwa-Mish First Nation to speak in support of a New Democrat bill that would force BC salmon farmers to move their operations to closed-containment tanks and away from coastal waters.

The Shat won't be appearing in person, though, but will join via communicator from his base in L.A.

"Must... SAVE... the... SALmon..."

The Private Member's bill in question calls for an amendment to the Fisheries Act requiring that commercial fish farming be carried out in closed containment pens within five years. It was actually inspired by Grade 10 student Thea Block, who works summers on her father's fishing boat out of Cortes Island, B.C.

Thea won an NDP-sponsored contest that asked high school students to submit proposals for legislation.

According to David Suzuki's web site, sustainable aquaculture must meet the following:

• Uses less wild caught fish (in the form of fish meal and fish oil) than it produces in the form of edible marine fish protein, and thus provides net protein gains for society;
• Does not pose a substantial risk of deleterious effects on wild fish stocks through the escape of farmed fish ;
• Does not pose a substantial risk of deleterious effects on wild fish stocks through the amplification, retransmission or introduction of disease or parasites;
• Employs methods to treat and reduce the discharge of organic waste and other potential contaminants so that the resulting discharge does not adversely affect the surrounding ecosystem; and
• Implements and enforces all local, national and international laws and customs and utilizes a precautionary approach (which favours conservation of the environment in the face of irreversible environmental risks) for daily operations and industry expansion.

Landlocked salmon farms are uncommon, but creativity and technological innovation are needed if we want our grandchildren to enjoy one of Canada's most prestigious food fish.


I'll update once the press conference coverage comes in.

UPDATE (10 pm) Here is what he said:

“Salmon feed and nurture not only the animals that are on the land but the sea as well, and the plants and trees and shrubbery,” the 79-year-old actor’s disembodied voice told a news conference Thursday that had been organized by the New Democrats.

“The fauna and the flora of the British Columbia river shores and rivers are nurtured by the salmon. Without the salmon, they die. And when they die, [there is] a huge rent in the tapestry of nature in that area. It is a basic species that must be saved.”

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