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Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on

Issue 5 - Evidence, May 9, 2001

OTTAWA, Wednesday, May 9, 2001

The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries met this day at 5:45 p.m. to examine matters relating to the fishing industry.

Senator Gerald J. Comeau (Chairman) in the Chair.


The Chairman: We will continue our examination of matters relating to the fishing industry. We will hear from three witnesses this evening from British Columbia. They are: Ms Lynn Hunter, Fisheries and Aquaculture Specialist from the David Suzuki Foundation; Dr. John Volpe from the Department of Biology Centre for Environmental Health at the University of Victoria; and Mr. Pat Alfred, President of the Kwakuitl Territorial Fisheries Commission. As well, Senator Carney will join us from British Columbia. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen.

Ms Lynn Hunter, Fisheries and Aquaculture Specialist, David Suzuki Foundation: Thank you for the invitation to address your committee on the topic of salmon aquaculture. I am a fisheries and aquaculture specialist with the David Suzuki Foundation. Our organization explores human impacts on the environment, with an emphasis on finding solutions.

The foundation was established in 1990 to find andcommunicate ways in which we can achieve balance between social, economic and ecological needs.

In my position with the foundation, I have been a vocal critic of the salmon farming industry and governments that seem to be in a blind embrace, tumbling over each other to privatize and pollute our coastline. At the foundation, we have been consistent through all the work that we have done on this issue that our goal is not, as the industry would have you believe, to eliminate salmon farming. Instead, our goal is to convert the industry from the irresponsible netcage systems currently used, to closed contain ment systems. I sincerely appreciate this opportunity to talk to you and I am optimistic about the role your committee can play in bringing some resolution to the problems related to the salmon farming industry.

As you are aware, there is an enormous divide between what the salmon farming industry and their supporters withingovernment say and what members of the environmental community, First Nations and independent scientists say on this topic. You also know that the federal Auditor General, in his recent report, has expressed considerable concern about how this industry is allowed to operate. His excellent report outlines a course for government action, which will require follow-up both from his office and from the rest of us who follow the developments of salmon farming in Canada.

I will limit my opening remarks to the specifics identified in your invitation: that we explore if and how cooperative action can be achieved. It is refreshing to be asked this question, although the great divide that now separates the proponents of salmon farming from those who oppose it, should not be underestimated. The spokespeople for the salmon farming industry, including government spokespeople, remain in a state of deep denial that there are any problems at all. They continue to treat criticism as a public relations challenge, rather than anything real that must be addressed. This is a serious impediment to making any real progress for cooperative action.

However, in the environmental business, one must be an optimist, and I am. A precedent has been set on the Central Coast of British Columbia in a deal that has First Nations, forest companies and environmental organizations workingcooperatively to find solutions. The key element was joint acceptance of the concept of ecosystem-based planning and management in the forest. It took forest companies over a year to utter that phrase without choking. Now, they have formally ratified the ecosystem-based planning and management system as a key ecological principle in the Central Coast deal.

This is lacking on the issue of salmon farming. The salmon farmers and their supporters within government do not accept or understand the concept. Curiously, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, DFO, now includes ecosystem-based management in their wild salmon policy and in their marine protected area strategy; and yet it is never brought into DFO aquaculture policy. These policies also evoke the precautionary principle, which is something again ignored in DFO aquaculture policy. Note the wording in the joint B.C.-Canada Marine Protected Areas, MPA, strategy: "This principle puts the burden of proof on any individual, organisation or government agency conductingactivities that may cause damage to the marine ecosystem." The possible reasons for this disconnect are a whole other topic for discussion.

This issue has formed some creative alliances. On March 5, 2001, the British Columbia government announced approval for the first land-based closed containment salmon farm operation. Agrimarine Processing, a company with a processing plant in Campbell River, diversified their operations to include a closed containment salmon farming facility in Cedar, a small community just south of Nanaimo. This pilot project started operation on April 1, 2001.

There was some behind-the-scenes intrigue prior to this announcement. Two of my colleagues in the environmental movement, Laurie MacBride of the Georgia Strait Alliance and David Lane of the T. Buck Suzuki Environment Foundation worked diligently to make this project happen. They advised the proponent, Richard Buchanan, and urged him to make his proposal stronger by including a waste management component. They also worked with the staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, MAFF, to ensure that the project was ultimately approved. The project had to overcome considerable obstacles to reach this stage.

These obstacles included strong opposition from the salmon farming industry and their allies within the MAFF. It is clear from the comments made by the spokeswoman for the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association that they have no interest in seeing this project succeed. Staff in the ministry had rejected the project on a technicality in the first round. It was only after interventions from Laurie MacBride and David Lane that staff in the ministry relented and approved the project.

This is an example of what can be done. However, it also showed us the extensive resistance to making any substantive changes to the way in which salmon farming is carried out.

I provided to Senator Carney, a press release on this announcement from the Georgia Strait Alliance and the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation. The media does not always give these good news announcements any coverage, but I can provide it so that it is on the record.

Over the past number of years, an impressive provincial and federal government infrastructure has developed to support the netcage salmon farming industry in Canada. This infrastructure apparently has no intention of changing its ways.

You are aware of the current role of the office of the federal Aquaculture Development Commissioner, Mr. Yves Bastien, who was hired directly from the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Association, and has a multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded budget to support the netcage salmon industry. Last August, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans announced an additional $75 million investment over five years, with $15 million per year ongoing. It focusses on three areas. The first is science, research and development, at $32.5 million over five years; the second is human health with $20 million over five years; and the third is management and regulatory framework, which amounts to $22.5 million over five years.

The federal Auditor General, in his recent report, found that DFO is not meeting its legislative obligations under the Fisheries Act to protect wild fish and their habitat. The Auditor General, an independent officer of Parliament, found that the department is increasingly in a conflict of interest situation, because it is trying to act as both promoter and regulator of the fish farming industry. It cannot do both.

When testifying before the parliamentary committee on April 5, 2001, senior officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said that their top objectives relating to aquaculture were to increase public confidence in the industry and to increase its global competitiveness. These are not the tasks of a regulatory agency; they are the tasks of a public relations firm. Liseanne Forand, ADM, Policy, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said that these funds were part of a "cost-shared program designed to respond to needs identified by industry." I can interpret this to mean that only research that is supportive of industry will be granted resources, and that only legislation and regulations, which assist industry, will be introduced.

There are plans to introduce a federal aquaculture act. In preparation for that, Mr. Bastien has completed a regulatory and legislative review. He has finally deigned to release this document. I have just received a copy. One of the key principles stated in this review is: "Government legislation and regulation shall serve to create a regulatory environment that does not unnecessarily impede industry competitiveness." Thus, you can see that Mr. Bastien does not seem to have learned anything from numerous reports that are critical of the industry. He is still acting as a representative for the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Association, but now he is doing so with a federal government paycheque. It is a nice trick if you can pull it off.

To the distress of many, the department has become a cheerleader for the fish farm industry rather than the protector and regulator for wild fish and their habitat.

It is time for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to throw away the pompoms and to start acting in the public interest. Before any aquaculture act is introduced, we would like assurance that the Fisheries Act, which is considered to be the strongest piece of environmental legislation in Canada, will be respected and the resources provided for it to be fully enforced. Right now, we are watching our government agency whose mandate it is to protect fish and habitat assist in the privatization and pollution of our coast at the expense of other industries and the coastal communities.

I urge your committee to join with us in working to ensure that any new legislation will be thoroughly examined using two broad standards: first, that it will not diminish or contradict the existing Fisheries Act; and second, that it will be for the public good. That is, the greatest good for the greatest number over the long run.

This concludes my opening remarks and I look forward to answering any questions that members of the committee may have.

The Chairman: Thank you, Ms Hunter. It is always a pleasure to have you before the committee.

We will proceed with our second witness, Mr. Alfred.

Mr. Pat Alfred, President, Kwakuitl Territorial Fisheries Commission: In March, 2000, we hosted a meeting in Alert Bay with the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries. There were many recommendations that resulted from that meeting. To this date, we have not had a response from the standing committee, so I suppose this is another round.

Thank you again for the opportunity to address your committee regarding the fisheries issues facing the Kwakuitl Territorial Fisheries Commission. The KTFC is an organization that represents eight First Nations communities and is devoted to the advancement of our members' interests in fisheries and marine resources throughout our territory. We would like to further discuss the concept of community-based fisheries management and our position in relation to fish farms within our traditional territories.

When we hosted you last summer in Alert Bay, we communicated a number of issues and concerns regarding the operation of fish farms within our traditional territory. It has been more than one year, and we have seen no commitment from DFO to address these serious concerns.

At stake is the survival of wild fishery resources that have sustained our people who are truly interconnected with the fishery resource. You will find enclosed a copy of a map that identifies the fish farms operating within our territory. We were never consulted before placement of these fish farms in our territory; nor did we provide our consent. We have heard that over 1.5 million Atlantic salmon have escaped from fish farms. Since the moratorium on fish farm expansion, fish farms have doubled their production. The facts are alarming.

The Auditor General's report is disheartening in that DFO did not carry out their authority under the Fisheries Act to protect wild stock from the negative effects of fish farms. We have had the opportunity to review a chapter of the Auditor General's report to Parliament, dated February 6, 2001, concerning the effects of aquaculture on the management of wild salmon stocks in British Columbia. The Auditor General highlighted many problems with fish farms that are not being addressed by DFO. These include: The lack of a formal plan by DFO to manage risks; inadequate monitoring and enforcement; no regular moni toring and enforcement; no regular monitoring of wild salmon stocks adjacent to fish farm sites; and inadequate monitoring for the presence of Atlantic salmon.

The Auditor General concluded that the department is unable to assess the cumulative, environmental effects of salmon farm operations, as required by the CEAA. To date, KTFC has not been advised by DFO as to how it will address the problems identified by the Auditor General's report, which only substantiates the problems that we have known for years. In the proposal to address problems associated with fish farms, KTFC has requested that DFO provide funding for studies and community consultations to determine the effects of fish farms on members of the KTFC. Additionally, KTFC has requested that DFO agree to ongoing meetings to discuss these issues and to address our concerns while we await their reply.

Since then, we have met once with Yves Bastien in Victoria, which is as far north as he has gone, except for that evening he ended up in Campbell River to meet with the Chamber of Commerce. At that time, I asked him to come to the area where fish farming problems were happening. That was in the Broughton Archipelago in my territory of the Kwakuitl people. He said, in front of 200 people in the provincial building, that by the year 2020 there would be only one fishery and that it would be fish farming.

I would like him to explain that, which he has never done and he has gone to Campbell River twice without visiting our people. Really, he is not an expert on any of my people to begin with. He has little understanding of the eulachon problems, and the recommendations that we made about pit lighting. Pit lighting is done by people to hypnotize deer. Pit lighting is also used to hypnotize the fish in the water, where it is even more dangerous because every species of salmon, cod and anything under the ocean will be drawn to the light. They use that method on fish farms. It attracts every species, including the eulachons, which enter the net and are eaten up by the Atlantic salmon. Pit lighting also attracts predators that hang around the cages on the outside to feed on the eulachons. This has become a problem; over the last two years, I have not seen any eulachons returning. The eulachons are the main food of my people at this time of year. First Nations people go up there to make smoked eulachons and eulachon grease, which is the last part of our food chain. I am suggesting that, because of a meeting that was held in Port Hardy, they admitted to me that 40 per cent of their feed is saved because of this pit lighting.

Dr. Rosenthal was speaking in Port Hardy, and someone motioned to him and he quickly changed his mind and said, "No, we only use the lights to help them grow quicker." He contradicted himself one way or the other, and the person who paid him to speak nodded to him.

I represent eight First Nations. I think "tribe" is the word used in the Indian Act, but we are First Nations people. Four of them are against fish farming; they have zero tolerance. The other four are desperate because of the displaced fishing that has happened in our territory. Most of my people are displaced fishers. Some of my people are working, but the other four nations are totally against it until the province and the federal government deal with their fiduciary duty to the people to protect our interests in wild fishery.

My people are totally against it because pre-Delgamuukw - I am sure you understand this part - they did not have to consult with First Nations. We were not even in the picture because we were "babies" of the government. They found 100 sites to be leased from the province under section 10. They used up 40 of those licences in operations, and the rest were put on moratorium. If the moratorium were lifted tomorrow, there would be 60 more licences that would open immediately. Otherwise, they would have to apply for them. They will not have to consult with First Nations about them because the licences would already have been paid for them. That is the danger.

Without consulting to receive consent from my people, you will have a war every time. It is not a matter of our being totally against it; it was the idea that we were mistreated. There was a big blockade of all the tribes of the North Vancouver Island, along with some of the environmentalists. They marched in an armada that went through Wells Pass where there are fish farm sites. They made a documentary of the event called, Price of Fish. It was a documentary by Suzuki on CBC television. You will see all the people that are totally against it.

Two former fisheries ministers, Mr. Corky Evans andMr. Dennis Streifel, have said to me, "Pat, if you do not want fish farms in your territory, they will not be there. We will move them somewhere else. We are only interested in people who are interested in partnering up." However, their meaning of"partnering" has only given my people jobs at $8 per hour, not royalties or true partnerships; and it is within our territories.

Before I say any more, I want to say that I do not believe in this treaty process. I know that part of the reason is that any lease sites will never go on the table for negotiations, because they will be owned by the farms.

We were told in the beginning - in the early times when they first brought fish farms out, that Atlantic salmon will never compete with the prices and the production of wild salmon. Interestingly enough, B.C. Packers sold the fishing company to Canadian Fish, but they held on to their fish farm sites, Heritage Sea Farms.

There have been so many escapes; something in the order of 1.5 million reported. We do not know how many have really escaped. Some of the fish farmers are not interested in closed containment. One of the recommendations that came from the KTFC, the environmentalists, the B.C. Aboriginal Fishery Commission and the Native Brotherhood of B.C. was to move all farm sites to land - closed containments.

Rather than follow the recommendations that we made, they now have fish farm pilot projects, for which Minister Dhaliwal has donated $75 million. None of that money has gone to First Nations - with the exception of one. The rest is being done in Nanaimo and other areas. It has not been done in concert with First Nations; we have not been asked to partner up. Rather, they are going ahead with it and calling me after the fact to say, "How would you like to come aboard?"

They now have a recovery plan for escaped fish. I was part of that team, but I was told to back off, and so I got out of there. What would we need to recover when there are not supposed to be any escapes? What kind of plan is this? A recovery plan includes how many fish have been recovered since the beginning of fish farming, when all those salmon escaped. Why have those fish reached all the way up to Alaska? Why are they finding escaped salmon in the Aleutian Islands? Someone mentioned that they may be trying to get back to the Atlantic, but I do not think anyone bought that.

They also now have a program called "Atlantic Watch." We tried to get involved in that, because they want to get rid of the Atlantic salmon, because they are finding in every river in my area.

I went to a meeting in Bellingham where a professor of biology from the University of Seattle said that anyone who does not believe in fish farming has rocks in their heads. There were two of us who then stood up and said, "We have rocks in our heads." They think it is a wonderful thing. It is obvious to me that they have never eaten sockeye. They try to compare these mushy fish coming out of the farms to my kind of fish.

The other day, as people were coming out of Knight Inlet, one of the skippers on a seine boat dropped by a fish farm because he knew the people. On the dry dock were some orts of farmed salmon with eulachons beside them. Obviously, the eulachons had been cleaned from the stomachs of these fish.

I understand that on the East Coast, Atlantic salmon is now on the endangered species list. I do not think we need them over here if that is the case.

Returning to this paper, I do not need to discuss it because you already have the recommendations that were given to the senate committee in Alert Bay. As I said before, we have never been informed as to what has been done, or that there are studies being done on, for example, the effects of pit lighting. That is one of the most important issues. Why is there no move to better siting of fish farms? Why are the clam beds becoming mushy? Why are the clams getting darker and people are not eating them? What is happening to the shrimp? What is happening to the crabs? There are hardly any of those species left in our territory.

It does not take a scientist to know that my people are starving. They are not able to get the foods that they used to get, because of the fish farming.

We simply want the fish farms to closed containment. They have offered me a position as the mouth, ears and eyes of my people. I objected to that because, based on the principles of my people, wild fish come first. I can try to answer some of the questions. I have many more stories about farmed fish, but I will save them.

The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Alfred. It is always a pleasure to hear from you, and tonight you did not disappoint. I especially liked the comment about the Atlantic salmon from B.C. trying to make it back to Atlantic Canada. I was imagining whether they would go via the Northwest Passage or via the Panama Canal.

Our next witness is John Volpe, who made a presentation to our committee last year. I thank you, Dr. Volpe, for the photos of our committee's trip to British Columbia. As well, on behalf of the committee I would like to extend our congratulations for having achieved your doctorate and having been appointed at the University of Alberta.

Dr. John Volpe, Department of Biology, Centre forEnvironmental Health, University of Victoria: Thank you for the invitation to address you today. I will limit my remarks to an update of some of the comments that I made previously to the committee. Most of the work now has gone through international peer review, and I feel more confident in making some definitive statements that I hope will be informative in your deliberations.

Aquaculture escaped Atlantic salmon are capable of spawning in B.C. streams. We have shown this to be true beyond any shadow of a doubt. Although the aquaculture fish do not spawn quite as vigorously as we might expect wild Atlantic salmon to, they will spawn and produce viable offspring.

These offspring are capable of persisting in the streams, and this is a key point because this was thought not to be the case when the species was first brought into the province. Nobody was terribly surprised that the occasional Atlantic salmon pair might spawn. However, it was thought that the Pacific salmon would form a biological resistance to any progeny that might happen to develop and removed from the territory. This is not the case.

Specifically, these Atlantic salmon juveniles can persist because the Pacific salmonid populations are underrepresented in the streams today, relative to their abundance in the last century. The last time they tried to introduce Atlantic salmon to British Columbia, the result cannot compare to today's results, because the populations today are at all-time lows. Particularly low are the steelhead trout, the only species, based on ecologies of Pacific salmon, that is likely to provide any kind of resistance to Atlantic salmon. Steelhead are in far worse shape than perhaps Coho and Chinook, to give you an idea, and we know how bad those two are; steelhead are even worse. If steelhead do not have the requisite abundances to provide resistance to Atlantic salmon, then Atlantic salmon will take advantage of that window ofopportunity; and that is what we see happening.

We have shown this to be the case in experimental trials and in the Amor de Cosmos Creek, which now supports quite a vibrant Atlantic salmon feral population. These results confirm that these feral populations will compete for resourses with the wild salmonids and they are likely to persist over the long term.

I use the term "compete" that infers a double negative. When you are in competition, it infers a negative aspect on both competitors. So, the outcome of this is, if they are in competition, who is likely going to be the victor in the long term? Our studies suggest that once the Atlantic salmon become established, they will eventually become the victors. This should be an unsettling point.

In reading some of the documents from previous witnesses and meetings, there are some points that I feel compelled to comment upon. They extend beyond my particular research, however, I feel qualified to offer an opinion.

The program for sustainable aquaculture has funding of $75 million from DFO through Yves Bastien. The$32.5 million has been announced for science research and development. All programs to date, of which I am aware, have been focussed on improving production and minimizing costs. There is no plan - again to my knowledge - that will address the costs imparted to the citizens of Canada through natural subsidies to the industry. By this I mean the fish that go into the feed. This is a common resource that is utilized by the industry for its own purposes.

Also, the industry is externalizing their waste products. I consider it industrial waste. B.C.'s anti-bacterial agents and anti-foulants used for nets and so on, are externalized into the common environment - mine and yours. This is not acceptable and I think that at least a portion of that $32.5 million could be spent on addressing the protection of the common resources.

There have been some specifications about the "footprint" of salmon farms and the idea that if you put all the salmon farms that exist in British Columbia together, they would take up the surface area of Stanley Park, or some equivalent area. That idea is ridiculous, to be perfectly blunt about it.

Salmon farms are remarkably inefficient at convertingbiological industrial inputs into product. In other words, taking the inputs and converting them into saleable salmon flesh. You will notice some tables that I have included that detail this deficiency. I will paraphrase those tables: to "manufacture" the food required by a salmon farm, the farm requires the marine support area of 40,000 to 50,000 times the surface area for cultivation. In other words, for every square metre of a fish farm net area, you require between 40,000 and 50,000 square metres of ocean surface area to produce the fish that those salmon will eat.

That is the input. What has not been quantified is the output. Those salmon that we are talking about are, essentially in an industrial feed lot situation, producing waste. These wastes are externalized into the environment, and we have no idea what the events of those wastes are. My new lab is embarking on a project that is aimed at quantifying the range and magnitude of these biological effects in the adjacent rocky and eelgrass intertidal zones - the "nurseries" of the coastal fisheries ecosystem. The point is that the "footprint" of the salmon farm is not measured by the area of the net space. You must think much more broadly.

The Atlantic Salmon Watch Program, ASWP, for monitoring of Atlantic salmon, will not advance us toward resolution. The AWSP provides interesting data, but it is only marginally informative. The reports of Atlantic salmon capture, and for that matter, escaped, are voluntary. The level of compliance is unknown. Therefore the numbers that are reported through the Atlantic Salmon Watch Program are minimum values only, with an unknown maximum.

When we look at the numbers, break them down in time and look at the activities in the coastal environment at the time those numbers were recorded, we are actually tracking fishing pressure. When a season opens, the number of Atlantic salmon that are reported goes up; when the season closes, the numbers go down. Now, is that a true reflection of the number of Atlantic salmon present in the coastal environment at that time? No, of course not. Again, the numbers are informative, but they are minimums only.

There is no design to the sampling of these data that prevents such data from being used in a predictive capacity. It is informative, but we cannot really do anything with it because we have no confidence in these numbers. No amount of monitoring will mitigate the effects of Atlantic salmon - whatever they might be - or the effects of aquaculture in general.

Currently, there is sufficient data to confidently conclude that Atlantic salmon are establishing in British Columbia. The question is: What will we do about it? Increasing resources only to track the species advance, is ill-advised. We should be able to use the Atlantic Salmon Watch Program in a "value-added" context to try to obtain more information from the considerable resources that are being fed into this program.

We need to move away from this paradigm of Atlantic salmon versus Pacific salmon, and consider the issue on the ecosystem level. Lynn Hunter alluded to this earlier. If there are negative effects on Pacific salmon in response to the presence of Atlantic salmon, the ramifications of those effects will surely not stop with just the decline of Pacific salmon. If Pacific salmon begin to decline, then a domino effect will follow.

Each week there are new insights demonstrating ecosystems as a web of intricate interactions that we are only beginning to understand. We know that the quality of life that Canadians enjoy is due, in large part, to subsidies and services that are derived from ecosystem functions - clean air and clean water for example. These services do not just happen; there are webs of interactions, causes and effects, and checks and balances that, in the end, generate these products or services upon which we all depend for survival.

Tinkering with one node in a complex web can have dramatic effects, which may be felt far removed from the initial perturbation. I want to draw your attention to an interesting local story that has just been articulated. It goes to this idea that you cannot look blinkered at one cause-and-effects scenario without considering the larger framework.

Offshore fish stocks have been declining for a number of years. This has been well documented. However, in the decline of these fish stocks, sea lions begin to decline. Obviously, they are losing their food. As a result, killer whales begin to switch from feeding on sea lions to feeding on sea otters, so the sea otter populations begin to decline. The main prey of sea otters are sea urchins. They are now released from the predation of the sea otters and so their numbers explode. What do sea urchins do? They graze on kelp. This explosion of sea urchins then graze the kelp down to bare rock. What do the kelp do? They provide the nursery habitat for commercially important fish species that are inshore and near shore species. As a result of offshore fish stock declines, we have this very circuitous route to declines of inshore, economically important species that nobody could have predicted from the outset. Of course, each one of these species in this long chain of events and the decline or increase of each species has its own offshoot chain of effects.

My point is that there may well be much more at stake than just simply Pacific salmon alone, although that is certainly worthy of our attention. Once the genie is out of the bottle there is no turning back; we cannot predict the direction or the magnitude of the effects of the trip the genie will take us on.

I echo the precautionary approach and, despite previous witnesses opinions, there is a ratified doctrine by the UN that stipulates exactly what the precautionary approach is. It is more commonly referred to as the "precautionary principle," which is a document readily available.

I draw your attention to two tables in the back of my presentation. These are from Dr. Peter Tyedmers, who just finished his Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia. It is absolutely brilliant work and it illuminates the shortcomings of aquaculture as it is presently practised. The paper puts the inefficiencies of the system into a framework of the sustainability of aquaculture with respect to captured fisheries.

The Chairman: Thank you, Dr. Volpe. As usual, and as the last time, we see you have not lost your ability to make very persuasive arguments. We appreciate that.

Senator Carney: I will question Dr. Volpe first and thenMr. Alfred.

Are the farm fishermen harvesting krill?

Dr. Volpe: Yes, among other things.

Senator Carney: I am told that this is a small fishery, but I understand that krill is important to the herring fishery, which, of course, is important to the rest of the food chain. Does this concern you? Is this one of the impacts that concerns you?

Dr. Volpe: Absolutely. The krill portion of the salmon diet is actually smaller than fish meal and oils that are extracted from other species. Typically, those come from South America. The only product that is extracted from B.C. waters is krill.

To put it into perspective, the European fish farming industry requires the production of 90 per cent of the North Sea to keep it afloat. Therefore, 90 per cent of the primary production in the North Sea, at present, is going toward fish farming, which is the direction that we are taking. Right now, the industry is succeeding on the backs of the South American fisheries, but now they are slowly kicking us out. We will be forced to extract those resources from other waters.

Senator Carney: The Auditor General has told us in his report that DFO is managing this area as if it were low risk, not high risk. He stated that that has never been challenged. Mr. Alfred mentioned that the commissioner of aquaculture told him that in 19 years, this whole coast will have one fishery and that will be aquaculture only. Can you spontaneously describe what the impact would be on the coast? If you had only one fishery - and it was net farms - and giving consideration to your "chain of events" story, what would the impact be?

Dr. Volpe: That is a difficult question. The problem is that we do not know right now. We do not know the effects of one fish farm. It seems like a very simple question: What is the per capita effect of a fish farm? We have no idea what that is. If we were to remove all of the commercial capture fisheries and convert them into salmon farms, we have no idea what the impacts would be.

My work over the past five years has shown that the assumptions that accompany the Atlantic salmon to B.C. are not true. I have not even begun to articulate what the impacts are. There is certainly evidence to suggest that they are considerable and entirely negative, but the magnitude is unknown.

If the fishery changes completely to aquaculture, would the net result be a good thing? Right now, I think there is evidence that suggests that it would not.

Senator Carney: Mr. Alfred, when you talked about the removal of the wild fishery from, say, Broughton Archipelago and the rest of the First Nations territory, what impact would that have on your territory if there were only fish farms? There would be some jobs available at $8 per hour, but everyone would probably live in Campbell River. What would that mean to your First Nation?

Mr. Alfred: This goes back to the time when the Queen came over and asked us how much land we needed. We told her that we needed acres and acres. They told us that we did not, that we only needed a little bit of land, because the sea is our garden and our deep freeze. If you took that all away, that means there would be starvation; our people look forward to the seasons.

First, they would fish halibut and eulachons in the spring; dig clams in the spring; catch seaweed in the spring. Then they would move out to the winter areas for the herring roe, which spawn on kelp, urchins and all of the diet that my people have. I think it would be the end of my people as First Nations.

It would be the final blow, because my people refuse to eat farmed salmon. They are afraid of it because they have heard the story about the crocodiles, and so they do not want to eat farmed salmon. That is another story from another time, and I will tell it another time.

My people live seasonally, and they can tell what time of year it is without a calendar just by the weather and what is available to eat. My people have been able to survive even through the hard times, because of their access to food fish. It has only been recently that fish farmers have invited my people to come to their farms. It was only recently that the fish farmers have even allowed kayakers into their farms, only because the government is clamping down on them to be more open and transparent to the people around them.

If we get rid of the clams, the eulachons and all the fisheries, we would die as a people. That is the simplest way to put it; they would die. The people on Gilford Island do not refuse to leave their village, but they survive and they are quite healthy, mainly because they have a few deer left and all of the sea. My people are people of the water. For every tribe that you see, there is a river beside them, and that is how they have been able to survive. They actually believe that fish farming is the cause of the decline of all species in the territory.

Senator Carney: When we heard earlier from witnesses in Port McNeill, it was pointed out that most of the fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago are in areas that the environmental assessment process has determined are "un-environmental." The fish farms do not meet the B.C. environmental assessment standards.

I have been lucky enough to eat halibut, eulachon and wild fish in Mr. Alfred's area - the Broughton - which is a wonderful area. I can understand his concern about the survival of the people.

Senator Cook: Mr. Alfred, your presentation leaves me quite disturbed. What do you see as a possible solution to the dilemma that your people face today in relation to aquaculture in your part of the world?

Mr. Alfred: I do not think that the farmed salmon will ever replace what we have. For my people, it is a sport and a job, and it is a way of life, being able to go out and catch rather than having some animals caged up so that you can go out and pick the one you want to eat that day. My people will no longer be able to hunt or fish. They will be as soft and flabby as that salmon swimming around in the net pen.

It infringes, which is the most important part. I do not like talking about the land question, but it totally infringes on the Aboriginal rights of my people to access to section 35(1) of the Fisheries Act; there is no other way to put it. If it is pushing away the natural foods of my people, then it is taking away their rights, because you have to pay for that farm and the salmon in it. You have to pay for the site, whereas my people have access to their own tribal territories. That is my description of what could happen. It is the fiduciary duty of the federal government and the province to look after its children, the First Nations.

Senator Cook: Do you believe that the presence of aquaculture operations in your part of the world is impacting on wild stock?

Mr. Alfred: Yes, totally.

Senator Cook: Is that to the point where they would be no longer present?

Mr. Alfred: I am a displaced fisher. For three years, since I fished commercially, all I have been doing is try to reason with people so that we can bring back the salmon stocks and I can go back to fishing. There is no employment in the fish farming. Out of 40 sites, there are 80 jobs, and there are 8,000 Kwakuitl -40 jobs when there used to be at least 400 jobs a couple of years ago. That has happened because of the displacement of fish stocks by the fish farming.

The provincial and federal governments are directed toward fish farming. Minister Dhaliwal said, in Alert Bay, that it is the way in which we will relieve the pressure from the First Nations people, thinking of all the wonderful jobs that we would have. But they forget to tell us that most of the jobs are for truck drivers from Vancouver to New York and the waiters in restaurants in New York. Nothing comes back to the Kwakuitl territory. It is a total impact that is devastating. We will be slaves to the fish farms; we will work for somebody from New York or Newfoundland.

Senator Cook: Do you believe that the aquaculture operations are the only factor that would account for the decline of the wild stock?

Mr. Alfred: No. I am not a scientist so I cannot explain climate warming and logging to you. No one has done anything about it. You, I and the whole word knows that logging was the first thing that ever happened to force salmon to become extinct, because of the spraying of the rivers. How is it that I was able to witness 20,000 sockeye floating down the river and they said that it was a mistake and that they were sorry. However, the fish never came back. I cannot really say that fish farming is the reason100 per cent; it is not. There are other factors too.

In my territory, we are afraid for the fry that come out of the river and head out to the ocean, because of the pit lighting. Just imagine what happens, by what you understand about pit lighting. The pit lighting suck in all of the salmon that are going by on their way out to the ocean. How much of that million fry that left the river have made it to the ocean? We do not know that. We cannot prove it. We need funding to do these studies - to hire biologists to come in and show us what the effects really are. We have not been able to do that.

The Chairman: I will note to all that the Assistant Auditor General for International Affairs, Mr. Ronald Thompson, is taking notes with us this evening.

Senator Moore: Ms Hunter, I would like to make a comment or two and then ask my questions. Proponents of aquaculture argue that the activity is a rural-based industry that provides much-needed employment and numerous economic spin-offs for rural coastal communities hard hit by depletions in wild fish stocks, that acts in a supporting role to the wild fishery, that it provides indisputable opportunities in related technology and service sectors, and that tremendous opportunities for further development beckon. They argue that constraints to the sector's expansion costs jobs in coastal communities. On the other hand, regulation of the salmon farming industry has fallen short of the expectations of conservationists and environmental groups, commercial fishermen, First Nations, recreation and tourism interests, waterfront property owners and other users of the shoreline.

Ms Hunter, which level of government - federal orprovincial - has, or should have, the lead role in creating an environment in which the traditional wild salmon fishery and the salmon farming industry can co-exist? My second question is: Does the David Suzuki Foundation oppose all forms of aquaculture?

Ms Hunter: The jobs argument is a false one in that, as Senator Carney has explained to you, there is a displacement of jobs and the control for the local coastal communities is being supplanted by the large corporations, which control the salmon farming industry. The community autonomy is being lost. Theindependence of the people in the coastal communities is being degraded. The federal and provincial governments are assisting in this, which is so cockeyed. Our own governments are assisting in the reduction of the citizens' rights in the coastal communities. That is not a mystery to me, because I have my own personal opinions as to why it is happening. However, I applaud the Auditor General's report, because they recognize that the federal government's role in this, through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, has been misplaced.

The myth that salmon farming somehow assists in the recovery of the wild stocks is the "big lie approach." In fact, salmon farming, through the environmental impacts it has, is a contributor to the decline of wild stocks.

I assisted in the research and the production of the CBC documentary The Price of Salmon, and it really shocked me to realize the kind of evidence that came out. The information did not come from some sort of wild-eyed environmentalists, but rather from independent scientists. It disturbs me that the federal government does not want to know this information. They are, through Yves Bastien's office and through Minister Dhaliwal's office, very careful about the kind of questions they ask. They only ask questions to which they want the answers. John Volpe, I am sure, would have comments on this. They very carefully construct research projects that only give one side of the argument. When there are research projects that have federal support, and they come across evidence that does not support their view of the world, they retrieve their research funds, which is what has happened here again and again.

The federal support for the aquaculture industry is very disturbing, because it is disempowering citizens in coastal communities. That support, as Mr. Alfred said, is making the communities slaves to the fish farming companies. In fact, the independent citizens of the coastal communities are, with the assistance of our federal government, becoming slaves of multi-national corporations.

I believe that the federal government has the lead role in protecting wild fish and habitat. It certainly has a lead role in trying to connect with its citizens. As a former member of Parliament, it disturbs me greatly to see this dynamic where our public agency has become a cheerleader for private industry.

Senator Moore: Does your foundation oppose all forms of aquaculture, or does it see a role for it in a positive way?

Ms Hunter: Yes. We see that, for salmon aquaculture, there is absolutely a role for closed containment salmon farming. I met with a representative from Mariculture Systems, and I have the document with me. This illustrates a closed containment system, which is trying to get a foothold in British Columbia. It is ironic and paradoxical that and environmental organizations such as ours is trying to do this. I am putting this company in touch with people who are interested in closed containment, because governments and the salmon farming industry will not. They are so resistant to any new technology, because then they would have to admit that all things are not well with the current practices.

We are actually in the business of trying to change the way that salmon farming is conducted, through closed containment systems.

Senator Moore: Ms Hunter, you said that salmon farming contributes to the decline of wild fish stocks. How is that? Does that refer to the farmed salmon that escape?

Ms Hunter: That is one element. Dr. Volpe would be able to address that element, because it reduces the biodiversity. There are also the diseases and parasites that are an effect of salmon farming. Sea lice attach themselves to the smolts of the wild fishes as they are coming out. These farms are located in the some of the best inlets, as the baby fish - smolts - come out of the rivers, the sea lice infest them. It is similar to a large feedlot operation. The sea lice are present just as any parasite would be in such a closed, dense and packed condition. These sea lice are a large contributor to the decline. The smolts become ridden with sea lice as they pass by the farms and they die. The wild fish are dying as a result.

Dr. Volpe's area of expertise is the impact of Atlantic salmon and the effect of biodiversity. Sea lice and disease are two elements the have an impact. On the Atlantic coast, infectious salmon anemia has now been found in the wild Atlantic salmon. We were assured that this would not happen.

Once again, the research by the federal government is selective. They only want to hear the good news stories. It would be nice if that $75 million could be divided evenly among the independent scientists to conduct research about the environmental impact.

Dr. Volpe: With regard to the effect of aquaculture on wild fish stocks, there are numerous points to be made. There is information in the paper that I have with me. It was authored by 10 of the leading scientists in the world, and the title is, "The Effect of Aquaculture on World Fish Supplies." It lays out - in black and white - that aquaculture salmon farming is a net loss operation for the world's wild fish stocks. I do not think there is any discussion required on this point. The evidence is conclusive.

In terms of aquaculture providing jobs for coastal communities, that was true at one time. When aquaculture first began in B.C. it was a highly labour-intensive activity. Jobs consisted of feeding the fish, cleaning the nets, and harvesting and grading the fish. All of these jobs have been replaced by computer - particularly the more labour-intensive jobs such as cleaning nets, which is now automated. The idea that aquaculture will provide income for coastal communities is somewhat, I would say, in doubt. Typically a farm is now run by a manager and maybe two other people on a site at any one time. Because the jobs are highly technical in nature and they require a considerable amount of knowledge to run the equipment, the people running that equipment are not locally hired. They have been trained at a technical institute and brought up from an urban centre. Even though they may be residing during the period of their employment in the area, they are not considered local people.

We need to consider, again in a broader context, what the employment ramifications are.

Ms Hunter alluded to DFO's involvement in this issue. When I appeared before the committee previously, I made the remark that my research was the only scientific evaluation of potential ecological effects of Atlantic salmon farming in British Columbia. That has not changed. To this day, this research remains the only scientific evaluation. By "science" I mean "empirical research," not just going out and collecting numbers willy-nilly like the Atlantic Salmon Watch Program. It has a purpose, but it is not considered "science."

The fallout of the result of this work has now attracted world-class scientists. We have begun to put together some rather large proposals that will answer the questions that are being asked regarding the effects of Atlantic salmon in B.C. When one of these senior university researchers approached DFO for a letter of support - not financial, but just virtual support - he was told that as far as DFO Ottawa was concerned, they are not interested in Atlantic salmon research in British Columbia. That speaks volumes to me. I can certainly say that that comment is consistent with my interaction with DFO to date. It reached the point where I had to sever all ties, weak though they were at the time, if my research were to continue.

Senator Carney: Were they not interested in funding wild fish?

Dr. Volpe: Not only were they not interested, they gave the impression that this initiative would not be looked on favourably. If they were forced to provide a letter it would not be to our benefit, so we backed down. Again, these were five of the most senior Canadian salmon biologists in the country. It was quite telling.

Senator Watt: I am interested in answers to the problems that we face in the Subarctic, where we have three major rivers that used to be quite plentiful with Atlantic salmon.

The last commercial fishing that took place in those three rivers was back in 1963-65. Before that, the Hudson Bay Company took a number of stock out of those rivers in the 1800s. Since the 1960s, we have not really done any meaningful commercial fishing, other than the certain limited numbers that are taken.

The fact is that in those three areas, Atlantic salmon has declined quite rapidly over the last few years, at least since 1964 or 1965. They do not seem to be coming back. There does not seem to be any sign of the stock returning to the numbers that we used to know.

I am searching for some answers from you, but you seem to be telling me that there might not be any answers to that. There may be no answers to the question of farming itself. I am a little discouraged by what I am hearing today.

On the one hand, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has not shown much concern for the well-being of the wild salmon stock. We should do whatever we can to try to help bring the stock back, but we might not be successful. At least there should be some research done, and funds for that research made available by DFO. The scientific knowledge could be put to use for the future.

My question is more related to what you seem to be promoting, the non-increase in the numbers of fish farms in the ocean itself, because of the potential environmental damage, and damage to the wild fish stocks - fish, eulachons, whales and sea otters, et cetera. You seem to be promoting the closed containment concept.

Could someone explain to me, if you are talking about using the river or the lake system on the mainland, or are you talking about closed containers themselves to raise those fish?

Dr. Volpe: The effects that salmon farming or fish farming can have can take many forms. It is not just escapees that have an effect. Most of the potential effects are shared between the East Coast, the West Coast and the North Coast for that matter. We are talking about impacts related to feces, anti-bacterial agents, and anti-foulants to keep fouling organisms off the nets, moving through the nets into the environment. These agents are toxic not only to the fish, but everything else in the environment. Remember, most of those impacts have not been defined. From my point of view, and certainly it may be different from those who are sitting around the table, we are sitting on a keg of dynamite with respect to the disease issue. The ecological effects may be real and severe, but they will take many years to accrue before we have the ability to see them. If the diseases are introduced and get out of control, they could wipe out everything in one generation. That is very serious.

How do we get around all of these ecological and disease issues? The only way that we can do that is by creating closed containment systems on land. Remove the fish that the industry and environment interface, where we can then control all of the inputs and outputs. Once that is done, we then have control over the system.

Iceland has such a system as well as do other places around the world. It can be done. It is more expensive, and it requires a bit more input from the "grey matter" to make it happen. It also requires government initiative to make it happen and to make it worthwhile to the industry.

Ms Hunter: I should explain the closed containment systems. For example, there is a tank system that floats in the ocean; it is a closed containment system in the ocean. There is also a bag system at Future Seas, which is based in Nanaimo. The system floats in the ocean. The one I talked about in my opening remarks is a land-based one. All of these systems have common elements: they are impermeable, so escapes and diseases do not occur; and there is a waste management ability, so that the waste coming from the farms is captured and disposed of away from the ocean.

Mr. Alfred: I sat on the board of the environmental assessment group from Victoria with the province. They asked us for recommendations as to how we can make it better for our area. My people said that we do not have a problem with local stocks, if you want to farm them. We do have a problem with Atlantic salmon, which is a cannibal fish for one thing. If those salmon ended up in the river, they would eat anything that swims. They found 22 of them up in Tsitika River. The province came to us and spent all that money asking us to help them make up their minds. Now it is four or five years later and we are still on the very first page. We have done films to show what happens underneath open net containment. All the fecal matter falls to the bottom of the ocean and builds up into a big pile, where shrimp, crabs, seals and others eat it. Then we go out there, make a catch and then we eat them.

I sat in that committee and I kept thinking that the government would help us. I relied on the province to do it. However, it did not matter because Corky Evans came out and said that maybe we could work it out. I took that hook from those people and I presented it to the president of one of the fish farms. They said that it would cost too much. It cost too much. What price is "too much" to save the wild stock?

If the fish farms were in closed containment on land, which is quite acceptable to our people, why would we want to farm Atlantic salmon on the West Coast? If you are running short, you should come out and take some back to the East, if it will help you. According to the newspapers two days ago here in Vancouver, the Atlantic salmon is now on the endangered species list.

They also talk about a recovery plan. In other words, you are expecting more escapes. Here we are talking about how to stop all this stuff from happening. I think it is up to the province to make that law - closed containment on land. It is not up to us to keep doing what we are doing. If the only way to save the wild stock is to put the Atlantic salmon up on land, then why not go for it? Why is the federal government not protecting the wild stock? Something is wrong.

Senator Watt: We will confront a problem if we try to transplant the Atlantic salmon that you have in British Columbia to our area. We have nothing but ice around that area, so we cannot do any farming. However, we are trying various experimental pilot projects. It is not involve the Atlantic salmon but rather the Arctic char in closed containment within a building. That also could be a pretty costly thing because the buildings and the water have to be heated.

If you raise them, would they be of marketable size by the time that they are ready to harvest? How many years would it take for Atlantic salmon to become a good size to be marketed?

Dr. Volpe: It would take four years.

Senator Watt: Would they have to be released into the ocean?

Dr. Volpe: No, they do not have to be. They just grow faster there. In the East there are landlocked Atlantic salmonpopulations - the ouananiche. It is the same species. The ouananiche do not grow as large as sea-run Atlantic salmon, but they certainly reach marketable size.

Senator Watt: What size would that be?

Dr. Volpe: They weigh about four or five pounds. Typically, a sea-run marine Atlantic salmon that goes to market is closer to eight or nine pounds dressed weight. They would be a bit smaller, but certainly, from a value-added processing point of view, one could use that to advantage.

Senator Watt: Has any scientific research been undertaken by any of the groups from the area in respect of the other stocks, such as the killer whales and sea otters, et cetera?

Dr. Volpe: No. I am the only one who is currently conducting scientific research on this issue in the West Coast. I want to make the point that that example with the killer whales and sea urchins does not necessarily relate at all to salmon farming. It was just an example of how effects offshore could result in detriment inshore, through a very circuitous route. Perhaps by simply focussing on the effects on Pacific salmon, we could be missing massive effects happening elsewhere.

The Chairman: Given that we will soon be in the wind-down phase of our meeting, I have a couple of questions that I would like to ask. You probably know that Mr. Bastien has released his legislative and regulatory review. One of the items called for in his report is to establish a system of screening of fish farms - class screening - once the moratorium is lifted. In that way, a number of fish farms could be screened at the same time, rather than on a farm-by-farm basis. I wonder if some of you might wish to comment on the impacts of such a system if it were to be adopted by government?

Ms Hunter: It is ridiculous to suggest that class screening would work. An environmental assessment is supposed to be on a site-by-site basis. In that way, the particulars - the effects or impacts - of each site can be duly noted. A class screening is just a mechanism - another subsidy to industry. It is not in the public interest for that to happen.

We have seen that the benefits from the salmon farming industry do not trickle down to the people that are supposed to be benefiting. Class screening means that all salmon farms are given one screening. This is completely at odds with the particulars of any area in which they might be situated. It is contradictory.

Mr. Alfred: In reference to Minister Evans and the committee, something was said that I will relate to you. Minister Streifel said: "Pat, I guarantee you there will not be a farm, the moratorium will never be lifted in your area if you do not want it, because it is your traditional territory, your food and hunting territory, and, yes, it would infringe on your Aboriginal rights and access to those foods." This now becomes a different matter. I cannot really speak to it now, but I must tell you that First Nations people will not allow any more farms to come on site. We will hold the province to that promise. Minister Evans and Minister Streifel told us that. I do not like to go into that territory because there is definitely a legal issue involved.

The Chairman: I would like to understand how thegovernment could do it, if it were considering it. I understand that the authority of the federal government to be involved in the siting process is through section 35 of the Fisheries Act. How could the government authorize or not authorize class screening, if it were to be involved? Is the commissioner requesting that the province have the authority to do this? Ms Hunter, perhaps you could answer that for us.

Ms Hunter: It is a predictably depressing document for Mr. Bastien, because he is the Commissioner for Aquaculture Development. The Auditor General's report pointed its finger at the commission concerning the inconsistencies of promotion of aquaculture versus the role of DFO as the protector and regulator.

Class screening, as I said, would just be another subsidy to industry, and it is not in the public interest. The federal authority is ensconced in the Navigable Waters Protection Act and in the Fisheries Act. Mr. Bastien's document indicates that he wants to make the Fisheries Act a toothless creation.

That is why I am optimistic about the participation of your committee. The Senate's role is to review proposed legislation. If the aquaculture act proceeds under Mr. Bastien's review of the legislative and regulatory framework, the government would have to emasculate the Fisheries Act. That is not in the public interest, in my view.

The Chairman: As a committee, we propose recommenda tions through our reports. Much of the mandate of this committee is to be well informed and well educated so that when legislation comes before Parliament, we have a group of senators who understand the scope of the issues. We need to understand the factors relevant to the fisheries, the environment and the people so that we are informed and do not have the wool pulled over our eyes. If we can at least accomplish a good educational understanding of the fisheries in Canada and its environment, we will have accomplished our task.

Senator Carney: Regarding your comments about education, and after listening to my colleagues, I want to explain to the Maritime and the Atlantic senators what is different about the East Coast from the West Coast. First, we have a wild fishery. It is unlike the East Coast where the cod fishery has been decimated or there are no more wild Atlantic salmon in the Bay of Fundy. The West Coast has many fish. Of the five species of salmon, for instance, perhaps two are seriously impacted, but we have many of certain species of fish. On the West Coast, it is not a case of having to substitute the Atlantic salmon or other wild fish stocks for farm fish; we have wild fish to save.

Second, unlike the Maritimes, we have a First Nations commercial fishery. The First Nations people are part of the commercial fishery. Just as Mr. Alfred explained, it is important to the traditional society and economy of the Aboriginal people. First Nations people account for one-half of our commercial fleet, so the employment factor is very important.

My last point is that aquaculture is not the only thing that hurt the West Coast fishery. Primarily, it is the basic mismanagement by DFO of the West Coast fishery. For instance, one-half of Mr. Alfred's community of Alert Bay lost one half of its seine fleet, because of the Mifflin policy, which had nothing to do with aquaculture.

Why is it that the commercial industry does not mobilize to protect the wild fishery? Why is it that the fish companies, who have made their living on this coast and operate the canneries, do not mobilize - as the salmon net farms have done - to save the wild fishery? Second, why does DFO not concentrate on its mandate to save the wild fish?

Dr. Volpe: In respect of the commercial fishery, one possible reason is that both industries are run by the same management team. There is a pyramid in effect in both industries: At the top are the CEOs, who are also the CEOs of commercial fishery and aquaculture, at the same time. Mobilizing on one side, causes hindrance of movement on the other side.

Another reason is that it is difficult for those who do not have this conflict of interest to mobilize in an information vacuum. How do you attempt to present a convincing argument when you are not armed with convincing information? Right now, people are wary of stepping into the limelight of the media and so they rely only on rhetoric.

The Chairman: I have a comment to make about a possible impression that might have been left this evening concerning the Atlantic salmon on the East Coast. Some may have been left with the impression that the salmon was on the endangered species list. In fact, it is not. In the inner Bay of Fundy salmon rivers are in deep trouble and, yes, the salmon in those rivers have been placed on the endangered species list.

The cod fishery in Atlantic Canada is not finished - not by any stretch of the imagination. We have some problems off Newfoundland, and the situation does not seem to be improving as it should. There are also some problems in the gulf. However, the cod fishery on the Atlantic coast is not finished and nor is the groundfishery in general - haddock, pollock and cod in so many areas of Atlantic Canada are doing well. Some of these species are, in fact, increasing in numbers.

I did not want to leave you with the impression that the fishery on the Atlantic coast is finished. The commercial fishery on the East Coast has had some of its highest production values this year. We must be careful that we do not leave people with the wrong impression when committee reports are read at a later date.

Senator Moore: To dovetail on your comment, it should also be pointed out that in addition to the finfishery, the shellfishery is working well in the East Coast. There is a strong joint effort between the fishery and DFO in respect of management. I know that the offshore scallop business is working out well as a result of huge investments by the industry working in conjunction with the scientists in the department.

Having said that, Dr. Volpe, I am reflecting on the contents of your report and the article that you distributed with it. I am looking at the news release from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans dated May 7, 2001, in respect of the $20-million five-year aquaculture collaborative research and development program. Is that what you were speaking of earlier? Is that part of the $75 million to which you referred?

Dr. Volpe: My point was that, to my knowledge, none of the initiatives under that umbrella have been focussed on protecting the public's investment in the industry. Rather, most of the initiatives have been focussed on protecting the investment of the industry.

Senator Moore: I thought that was your implication, and I wanted to confirm it before I pursue this further.

Your report mentions that funds will be allocated under an ACRDP for research projects proposed and jointly funded by aquaculture industry partners. For the year 2001-02, $4.5 million has been allocated for scientific research to be conducted at DFO research facilities, or in partnership with other facilities.

Continuing, it states that the program welcomes submissions regarding topics such as brood stock development, animal health and nutrition, and environmental stewardship. Those eligible to apply include aquaculture producers and producer associations. There is no mention of scientific researchers, such as yourself. This program was developed by a national steering committee composed of 13 individuals representing industry, the provinces, DFO, environmental NGO and the Office of the Commissioner for Aquaculture Development.

I expect that you would be considered in the category of environmental NGO. Do you know of any individuals in that group who were involved in making submissions to the committee, such that some funds would be used for pure scientific research, as opposed to just aquaculture industry-generated research?

Dr. Volpe: Are you addressing that question to me? I am the researcher, but I am certainly not the environmental NGO person. I have taken great care to remain at arm's-length from both sides in this issue. It is important that I do that to maintain the viability of my research.

With that said, I am not aware of anybody involved in that committee that produced that document.

Senator Moore: Perhaps Ms Hunter would be aware of that.

Ms Hunter: I saw the press release and it raised questions in my mind. Certainly, no environmental organization from the West Coast was involved. I inquired and no First Nation from the West Coast was involved, and nor was the Conservation Council of New Brunswick. I also asked the Atlantic Salmon Federation if perhaps they were the environmental NGOs.

I refer back to my introductory remarks when I mentioned that Ms Liseanne Forand, ADM for policy, said that this program is a cost-shared program to, and I quote: "respond to needs identified by industry." It is not in the industry's interests to have independent research, because independent research is unearthing problems with the industry. Thus, the only needs identified will be those of the industry.

Senator Moore: Only one side of the story will be shown.

Ms Hunter: That is right.

Senator Moore: How do we have research done by people, such as Dr. Volpe or others, who are independent? I understand the need to maintain independence and work at arm's-length to validate the integrity of your work. How do you enter the loop so that the fishery has the benefit of your research and knowledge?

Dr. Volpe: We need a window of access. Certainly, research funding is something that I spend almost the majority of my time chasing down to fund the work that I believe should be done. Obviously, the terms of engagement, as listed in that document, do not include me.

Senator Moore: I find it interesting, because, for example, the Department of Justice funds the legal fees for both sides - the defendants and the prosecution - yet DFO does not take that approach. We are not helping out in this area. When there is an emerging fishery, there exists the opportunity for us to perform good, fundamental research at the outset. Perhaps we should think about that, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.

The Chairman: I think you have made an extremely important point, Senator Moore, especially the fact that sometimes governments fund the "other side." That is a valid point raised by you.

We will ask, with your permission, officials of DFO to give us a further breakdown - or a blow-by-blow account - of the allocation of these funds for research and how independent that research might be. We will report this information back to you. It will be of great interest to know how the funds are to be spent.

Senators, is it agreed that the materials provided by John Volpe and Lynn Hunter be filed as exhibits?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chairman: On behalf of committee members I thank the witnesses for appearing before us this evening. We appreciate the contribution that they have made. As I said earlier, much of this information has served to educate us so that we are able to provide a better service.

Senator Carney: I thank the witnesses. Mr. Alfred made a great effort to be here, given that a family member is unwell;Ms Hunter is recovering from illness; and Dr. Volpe is exhausted from tracking down research funds. I thank the committee for hearing the West Coast witnesses and for making the video conferencing possible.

The Chairman: We are attempting to make more use of video conferencing. We would appreciate any comments that you have that could improve the process.

The committee adjourned.

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