Friday September 3, 2010
Cohen Sets Off Alarm Bells
Commission to look at fish loss long overdue
riends of the Chilliwack River Valley are hoping the Cohen Commissions’ examination into the collapse of the Sockeye is an alarm bell that will wake up DFO (Dept of Fisheries and Oceans). The Cohen Commission confirmed yesterday they will allow Friends of CRV to address the commission on Sep 29th in Chilliwack. In our presentation we plan to challenge gravel mining in and about Salmon bearing rivers and DFO’s results based enforcement practices.
Sockeye Threatened Despite the Record Return
The huge 2010 run of Sockeye Salmon shows the potential for recovery of the Sockeye. The ocean can still support extremely large numbers of Salmon. Salmon runs are several distinct groups of fish that return in different years. The big run of 2010 is a different group than the disastrous run of 2009. So while the big run is good news, it does not mean the Salmon are secure. Most of the runs are in fact threatened. We ask the Commission to question the provincial policy to allow gravel mining in spawning channels and next to fish hatcheries.
DFO asleep on the job
DFO routinely okays activity such as the proposed open pit gravel mine in the Chilliwack River Valley without prior examination. DFO has not studied the environmental impact even though the pit will sit on a property adjacent to a large DFO run fish hatchery. Using results based enforcement, problems are investigated after they occur not before. In sensitive Salmon habitat we feel results based enforcement is a ticking bomb . We’re hoping the Cohen Commission is an alarm bell that wakes up DFO and gets them to look into heavy industrial activity that takes place in and about Salmon Habitat.
Green Zones not green
The Federal Government has asked the commission to find out what can be done to help the Sockeye. One thing is DFO needs to participate in BC's new set of gravel mining rules called the APP (Aggregate Pilot Project). The APP will classify areas as red, yellow, or green. Red means no mining, yellow means restrictions apply, and green means go for it. Mining Minister Randy Hawes is considering companies regulate themselves In the green areas . BP has shown what can go wrong with self-regulation.
The APP rules that carve out mining areas ironically termed 'Green Zones' are created without considering Salmon. There are no clauses or guidelines in the APP that address Salmon. DFO has not to this point participated in the APP negotiations between the province and the ‘pilot’ communities (Chilliwack and Abbottsford form part of the pilot area). If APP is approved in the pilot area this fall, it will then be proposed province wide. DFO needs to participate in the APP negotiations before self-regulating Green Zones with open pits start appearing all over the province like crop circles gone bad.
Friends of the Chilliwack River Valley
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