Salmon Leaks Part 2: Additional Highlights from 2010

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Early on in the sockeye inquiry it became clear to lawyers, judge Cohen and participants (including Watershed Watch) that the quantities of confidential documents and data flowing through the process were huge. Due to the reams of information that required examination, participant counsel requested a two-week break before continuing on to the next topic—the Wild Salmon Policy (WSP). A break before the WSP section was timely because it is a very important topic of the inquiry, one that will be revisited in a “Part 2” session in 2011.

Wild Salmon Policy Part 1 transcripts:


One highlight of the Wild Salmon Policy section occurred on Nov 30 when Watershed Watch counsel suggested the Policy was in need of implementation funding (starts on page 93, line 4) through an internal email.  It was also suggested that a considerable amount of internal debate within DFO occurred on the subject of the WSP and that it likely slowed its implementation and that in hind sight, the use of facilitation, mediation or arbitration may have been a useful mechanism to reduce conflict (page 79, line 22).

Through a lengthy exchange on Dec 2 between commission counsel and DFO staff (page 37, line 14) it was suggested that in the early stages of Wild Salmon Policy implementation (in approximately 2005) there were “firm” commitments and deadlines and “particular kinds of consultation” being promoted, but in contrast, present day implementation of the Policy is “really more ad hoc, more internal, and doesn’t have the sort of rigorous commitment that was suggested in the early documentation.”  This makes one wonder whether the enthusiasm for the implementation of this policy has dropped steeply within DFO in recent years? Although a DFO staff member states that implementation would take “somewhere between five and ten years,”  counsel countered this timeframe by producing a 2005 DFO presentation which clearly shows the implementation phase of the Wild Salmon Policy was 5 years total and the final steps of the Policy would be completed in 2010. Implementation has yet to occur.

On Dec 16 counsel continue to try and get a timeline for the completion of the much anticipated Wild Salmon Policy:

“Can you see getting there in terms of the fully operationalized Wild Salmon Policy within the next five years, if I can try to pin you down in terms of a time frame?”

Unfortunately Susan Farlinger, Regional Director General of DFO was unwilling to commit:

“Well, I do think it’s pretty tough. I think we’re moving towards that at every possible level in the annual decision-making, in the preparation of the integrated management plan for salmon where we identify stocks of concern in all areas of B.C. and, in fact, the Yukon. I simply think it’s a continuum, and we can only continue to proceed towards completion. I’m not sure I can give you a date.”

After the WSP section, First Nations took the stand before the holiday break to talk about their world view, traditional knowledge and how habitat and fish stocks have changed in their territories in recent times.

Aboriginal World View transcripts:


On Dec 13 the panel was asked to describe the habitat loss and degradation in their respective territories (starts on page 67, line 17). Poor logging practices, excess siltation and inadequate management by DFO were some of the issues presented by chiefs on the panel.

Just before the holiday break on Dec 15, Chief Robert Mountain of the Namgis recounted his observations of elevated sea lice levels from salmon farms on juvenile out migrating salmon and on returning sockeye (starts on page 72, line 8). Salmon conservation concerns linked to salmon farming continue to be voiced by a broad spectrum of witnesses throughout the inquiry.

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