Fish farm fans, foes circle

An open house held jointly by Marine Harvest Canada and the Tlatlasikwala First Nation drew a big crowd to the Airport Inn.

  • Jul. 1, 2014 2:00 p.m.

PORT HARDY—An open house held jointly by Marine Harvest Canada and the Tlatlasikwala First Nation to highlight a joint economic venture drew a big crowd to the Airport Inn last Thursday.

Including the project’s critics.

The Tlatlasikwala have applied to the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for licenses for two new Atlantic salmon farms in the waters off Hope Island.

The open house, held in a banquet room of the inn’s sushi restaurant, drew executives, managers and local employees of Marine Harvest, Tlatlasikwala Chief Tom Wallace and several family members, representatives from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and other agencies, and a who’s who of environmental biologists and activists, including wild salmon crusader Alexandra Morton, Marine Detective and whale researcher Jackie Hildering and Will Soltau of Living Oceans Society.

There was no open conflict or direct dialogue between the parties.  Hildering and Soltau instead stepped outside the room to seek answers from DFO biologists Bernie Taekema of Nanaimo and Todd Johansson of Port Hardy to a range of questions related to the siting of the farms at Ghi Ya (Bull Harbour) and Wanx talis (Heath Bay).

Marine Harvest is listed on the submissions as applicant, but Ian Roberts, communications manager for the farmed salmon producer, said the tenure is in the name of the Tlatlasikwala Nation.

“Marine Harvest supplies the equipment and the fish,” he said. “We have 10 other First Nations partnerships in the province and, like we do in other sites, our plan here is to hire locally.”

That is music to the ears of Chief Wallace, who said he was taken from his home on Hope Island to attend Indian Residential School and whose goal is to re-establish a thriving village there.

The island was home to a Coast Guard base for decades until the land was ceded back to the band in 1990.

“This is one of the things we want to try to have an opportunity to bring our people back and repatriate our homeland,” said Wallace. “In 1996, when I became chief, there were only 12 members left in the band. Now there are 72.”

Morton, who researches potential disease impacts on migrating wild salmon passing through waters containing open net-pen farms, believes the applications will be approved. But she believes the recommendations of the Cohen Commission report on the 2009 Fraser River sockeye collapse have been ignored.

“I applaud the desire to bring the people back to their home,” she said. “But bringing in 12 million Atlantic salmon is tragic.

“I have serious concerns that’s not a safe site for wild fish.”

 

 

 

Just Posted

PRACC Chair Fred Robertson happy with how windmill blade display turned out

“Rotary really stepped up, which was excellent.”

Island Foods renovates bottle depot and cans old bottle return system

“I don’t want people to spend the whole day here,” said Angela Taylor on Port McNeill’s bottle depot.

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in Port Alice exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Seeing double, the trials and tribulations of twins

BIG READ: Three Vancouver Island mothers share their experiences with multiple births

Sointula Resource Centre to hold fundraising play

The play will “grab people’s attention” says Stephanie Rockman.

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

Most Read