The escape of an estimated 20,000 non-native fish off Vancouver Island demonstrates the urgent need to phase out ocean-based farming and calls into question the federal government’s own five-year deadline, say wild salmon advocates.
Stan Proboszcz, science and campaign adviser with the Watershed Watch Society, said the salmon escape may have ecological impacts on already struggling wild stocks.
“It’s incidents like this that make it pretty clear that we really do need the federal government to move on removing farms from British Columbian waters. This is just another stressor on wild fish, so we just hope that we see a plan very soon,” he said Monday.
He said Atlantic salmon can compete with wild Pacific salmon for food and habitat, as well as spread parasites and viruses.
Predation of wild stocks
When more than 200,000 Atlantic salmon escaped from a Washington state farm in August 2017, Proboszcz said some fish were later found with wild salmon in their bellies, demonstrating they can also act as predators of Pacific stocks.
Fish farm company Mowi, formerly known as Marine Harvest, said in a statement that it has notified federal regulators and area First Nations about the fire that damaged its net pen in the waters near Port Hardy, B.C.
The damaged pen discovered Friday will be towed to land and an investigation will be undertaken to determine the cause of the fire, it says.
But the company suggested the exotic species won’t survive in Pacific waters long.
“The escaped fish are farm animals unaccustomed to living in the wild, and thus unable to forage their own food and easy prey. Judging by the number of sea lions congregating near the involved farm it is likely many have already been eaten by predators,” it says.
Phasing out net-pen fish farming in B.C. waters was a Liberal campaign promise in this year’s federal election, and the mandate letter for newly appointed Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan directs her to work with the B.C. government and Indigenous communities to create a plan for a transition by 2025.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also tells Jordan to begin work to introduce Canada’s first ever Aquaculture Act. The existing Fisheries Act was designed for wild fisheries and the new legislation will aim to increase regulatory consistency across the country with an environmentally sustainable approach, the government says online.
No one from the Department of Fisheries was immediately available to comment on the transition plan.
Among the feedback the federal government has received through early consultations on the legislation is a need for a more effective risk management framework and support for Indigenous involvement and rights in the sector, it says.
NDP fisheries critic Gord John said in a statement the recent Atlantic escape is proof that the timetable for the removal of open net-pen farms from Pacific waters needs to be accelerated.
Others found the deadline daunting.
Dianne Morrison, managing director for Mowi Canada West, said the company was disappointed to see the campaign commitment. It came at a time when industry was already in discussions with government about alternative technologies that could quell some concerns about the risks facing wild stocks through a technical working group.
“That group was to investigate how, and which method makes most sense from both a business, ecological and social points of view,” she said. “But the statement in the election platform flew in the face of that.”
Morrison said the company is still interested in exploring alternatives with the government to an outright ban on ocean-based farms, including closed-containment farms in the ocean.
“My fear is that if we take it to the extreme of land-based (farming) by 2025, that’s not currently possible from a technical point of view. It would also put the relationship we have with First Nations in rural communities in jeopardy,” she said, adding that the business case isn’t there for closed-containment farms in remote locations.
Bob Chamberlin, a long-time wild salmon advocate and former elected chief with the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation, said he hopes the government doesn’t make the phasing out of open net-pen farms dependent on the establishment of a new industry of closed containment farms.
Closed containment farms, which can be either on land or self-contained in the ocean, could require extensive consultations, land negotiations and other delay-causing steps, he said.
“With a 2025 timeline, we have to start work right now,” Chamberlin said.
Chamberlin said he plans to travel the province next year to discuss the changes with other First Nations.
A plan announced by the provincial government is already underway to phase out 17 fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago by 2023, in partnership with the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis and two other First Nations.
“Every industry evolves and it’s time for this industry to evolve out of the ocean. There are far too many questions about the impacts about the environment and wild salmon, and it’s time. It’s time to get them out of the ocean, period,” Chamberlin said.
Proposed Sugary Drink Tax “Regressive,” says Opposition Finance Critic – VOCM
The provincial government’s tax on sugary drinks comes into effect next September, and the minister responsible is pointing to data suggesting that the tax will work in changing people’s habits.
Siobhan Coady points to a study that was done by a British medical journal called The BMJ. She says the study, which focuses on a similar tax in the UK, found that overall sales of soft drinks did not change, nor did share prices and domestic turnover. But what did change was the sugar purchased in those drinks, which Coady says decreased by almost 10 per cent.
PC MHA Tony Wakeham asserts that such taxes do nothing to affect health outcomes, and counters that the study Cody references is completely different from what’s being proposed in this province.
In the UK, he says they were taxing producers to lower the amount of sugar in their products, and not taxing those using the product.
Wakeham says the proposed tax is negative and regressive. He says if Premier Andrew Furey is looking to modify behaviours to create healthy lifestyle changes, it should be based on positive things, not a negative tax.
Sleep Country Canada buys controlling stake in Hush Blankets – CBC.ca
Sleep Country Canada Holdings Inc. has signed a deal to buy Hush Blankets, a direct-to-consumer seller of weighted blankets, pillows, sheets and bed-in-a-box mattresses.
Under the deal, Sleep Country will acquire a 52 per cent stake in Hush for $25 million.
The company has also agreed to buy the other 48 per cent in annual 16 percentage point stake increments starting March 31, 2023, at a price based on the business’s financial performance.
Hush was founded in 2017 by Lior Ohayon and Aaron Spivak and launched a weighted blanket in Canada in 2018.
Sleep Country says Hush will continue to operate as an independent business led by Ohayon and Spivak and a board including senior management from Sleep Country and Hush.
These countries are vaccinating children against COVID-19 – CTV News
Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE have asked U.S. regulators to authorize their COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in children aged 5-11, with an expert panel to the Food and Drug Administration scheduled to meet later this month to review data.
But with many parts of the world still awaiting doses for more vulnerable people, the World Health Organization has urged countries and companies that control the global supply of the vaccines to prioritize supply to COVAX.
The following is a list of some countries that have approved or are considering vaccinating children:
- In June, Denmark said it would offer COVID-19 shots to children aged 12-15 to boost its overall immunity against the virus.
- France has started vaccinating those from 12 years upwards, provided they have parental consent.
- Germany in August agreed to make vaccination available to all children aged 12-17.
- Austria has started vaccinating children aged 12-15.
- Estonia could start vaccinating teenagers by the autumn, public broadcaster ERR reported, citing the head of the government’s COVID-19 council.
- Hungary started vaccinating 16 to 18-year-olds in mid-May, according to Xinhua news agency.
- Italy on May 31 approved extending the use of Pfizer’s vaccine to 12-15 year olds.
- Lithuania’s prime minister said the country could start vaccinating children from age 12 in June, news site Delfi reported.
- Spain begun vaccinating children between 12 and 17 years old around two weeks before the academic year in September, the health minister said.
- Swedish PM says children aged 12-15 will be offered COVID vaccine later this autumn.
- Greece in July said children aged 12-15 could be vaccinated against COVID-19 with Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna shots.
- Finland’s capital Helsinki in June said it will begin giving COVID-19 vaccines to children aged 12 to 15 who are at risk of contracting a severe coronavirus infection.
- Britain’s top medical advisers in September recommended that 12 to 15-year-olds receive a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Switzerland approved on June 4 vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds with Pfizer’s shot, while Moderna’s shot was approved in August for the age group.
- In September, Norway started to offer one dose of Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 12 to 15
- San Marino has opened vaccinations for children aged 12-15, reported San Marino RTV, citing its Institute for Social Security.
- In August, Israel on Sunday began offering a COVID-19 booster to children as young as 12.
- The United Arab Emirates said in August rolled out China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to children aged 3-17.
- Indonesia on June 28 recommended China’s Sinovac vaccine for children aged 12-17.
- An advisory committee to the Indian regulator recommended emergency use of Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 shot in the 2 to 18 age-group. The regulator’s nod is awaited.
- New Zealand’s medicines regulator has provisionally approved use of Pfizer’s vaccine for 12-15 year olds, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on June 21.
- Australia said on Sept. 12 it will expand its COVID-19 vaccination drive to include around one million children aged 12-15.
- China on June 5 approved emergency use of Sinovac’s vaccine for those between three and 17.
- Hong Kong said on June 3 it would open its vaccine scheme to children over the age of 12.
- Singapore opened up its vaccination program to adolescents aged 12-18 from June 1.
- Japan on May 28 approved the use of Pfizer’s vaccine for those aged 12 and above.
- The Philippines on May 26 decided to allow the Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for emergency use in children aged 12-15.
- Jordan in July begun vaccinating children aged 12 years and older against COVID-19.
- The COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech will be the only one used in Mexico for at-risk children aged 12-17.
- Brazil on June 11 approved use of Pfizer’s vaccine for children over 12.
- Chile has approved use of Pfizer’s vaccine for 12 to 16-year-olds.
- Pfizer and BioNTech have asked U.S. regulators to authorize emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. An advisory committee to the FDA will meet later this month to review the data.
- Canada in early May approved use of Pfizer’s vaccine for use in children aged 12-15. The country has fully vaccinated more that 80% of its eligible population ages 12 and over.
- Cuba’s vaccination campaign includes children as young as two.
- South Africa will start vaccinating children between the ages of 12 and 17 next week using the Pfizer vaccine
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