Monday, April 11, 2011

Election, Cohen Commission Bring Promise of Change for BC Salmon Policy

With an election looming in early May, changing leadership in the BC liberal party and the Cohen commission underway, many Canadians are hoping that the political tides may finally be turning in favor of wild salmon. Among the key issues are: a proposed pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands to the BC coastline, run of the river hydroelectricity and of course open net pen fish farming.

In BC over 700 applications are in place for private power development, however public backlash against these run of river hydroprojects is growing. Government imposed contracts which force BC hydro to buy private power at non-competitive rates have already resulted in substantial rate hikes with more on the way. Even more concerning are the biological consequences of IPPs which often divert more than 50% of a rivers surface flow for several kilometers, dewatering river channels reducing rearing capacity for juvenile salmonids and placing undue stress on migrating adults. John Horgan a candidate for the BC NDP leadership role has said he would like to see a moratorium on any new IPP permits until the province has conducted a thorough review of those currently pending. Christy Clark, the newly elected leader of the Liberal Party and Premier of BC has been less clear on her position however the issue is coming to the forefront.

more from the Common Sense Canadian:

A court decision last year found that aquaculture was a fishery and as such must be regulated by the federal government, meaning that this federal election could have huge implications for the future of wild salmon in the Georgia Basin. Among the key issues is how DFO will use its newfound regulatory power. So far DFO has acted largely as a booster and facilitator for the status quo, however with new leadership at the national level there is some hope that the agency will adopt a more responsible approach to regulating the aquaculture industry.

Wild fish advocates are working hard to keep these issues in the public eye asking political hopefuls to clarify their positions for the public. More at Vote Salmon

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