Magazine story bends the facts

Dear editor,

I am  responding to the article by Quentin Dodd in a recent edition of Aquaculture North America (March/April 2011) as it contains significant obfuscation concerning the true location of the 53 jobs created by the transfer of aquaculture regulation from the province to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).

Leaving aside the question of why any of these jobs are located in Vancouver, the statement that “nearly all of the 53 jobs will be on Vancouver Island, to be close to the industry” is a bending of facts that amounts to a slap in the face for both the Regional District of Mount Waddington and Strathcona Regional District. The Regional District of Mount Waddington produces half of British Columbia’s annual tonnage of farmed salmon in the sites located in its jurisdiction. For this contribution to the B.C. economy, the Port Hardy DFO office was awarded six of these jobs.

As is often the case with DFO, the key regulatory managers and decision makers have located themselves and their bureaucracies in cities as far away from the rural resources they purport to manage as possible without setting up shop in Seattle.

Aquaculture is a spatially diverse rural and rural-remote industry of the Central and North Coast, not an industry that can be managed from a tower block in downtown Vancouver, Nanaimo or Victoria.

All indications of future potential expansion of the aquaculture industry indicate that it would take place in colder waters to the adjacent north of Vancouver Island. DFO’s human  resource procurement policies are swimming against the tide of industrial reality and are therefore doing a huge disservice to all rural coast communities as they threaten the viability of the few existing private sector management units that do exist here. It is the antithesis of sustainable rural development.

A recent Access to Information request to determine the number of DFO FTEs in different office locations throughout the Pacific Region in 2010 uncovered some amazing facts:

• There are 1621.7 full time employees in the DFO Pacific Region;

• Only 12.7 per cent of them are located on the rural BC Coast;

• Almost 80 per cent are based on Southern Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland;

• The Kamloops Area Office has more FTEs than Prince Rupert, a major international port;

• All research stations are within a 100 km radius of Vancouver.

How can the Pacific Region possibly be executing its Pacific Coast mandate effectively from massive offices and research stations in Vancouver, Nanaimo?

While we are happy for the new FTEs in Port Hardy and the benefits they bring, the North and Central Coast is not being rewarded for its contribution to the B.C. economy equitably by this decision. To convey the claim that these new job locations are based on resource adjacency, as recently espoused in your article, is disappointing.

I call on DFO to recognize finfish aquaculture as a rural-remote industry and adjust their federal public service human resource management policies accordingly in the interests of rural sustainability and local transparency.

Al Huddlestan

Chair

Regional District Mount Waddington

Just Posted

Port Hardy Reigns compete in Nanaimo at Island Championships

“We are very fortunate to have this opportunity for our youth in Port Hardy”

Derina Harvey Band – Heartfelt, Energetic, Celtic rock comes to Port Hardy

Front-woman Derina Harvey leads this Celtic-rock act, who offer an authentic east-coast experience.

OPINION: Urgent care room will cost lives

“Seniors, of any demographic, are the most vulnerable to the loss of emergency care.”

James Hayward coroner’s inquest rescheduled hours away from where RCMP shooting occured

The family is “a bit disappointed that it’s going to be held in Campbell River”

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Most Read