Not everyone thinks fish farms are unsafe, including this First Nations elder - APTN NewsAPTN News

Not everyone thinks fish farms are unsafe, including this First Nations elder


Laurie Hamelin
APTN National News
Members of two British Columbia First Nations have occupied another fish farm on the province’s coast making it the second farm occupation within a week.

The occupiers want the farms shut down.

But not everyone thinks fish farms are unsafe.

“I think it’s very healthy. These fish farm owners and operators, their fish is cared for a lot more than our wild salmon are looked after,” said James Walkus of Kwakiutl First Nation on Vancouver Island.

Walkus said that in any population there are going to be some abnormalities like seen in a video, released online, a week ago that sparked the occupations.

“We do catch wild salmon that are deformed and all that, too, ” he said. “We caught a chum salmon and physically it looked awful and we cut it open and inside it was a big white round ball, it was sick.”

The head of the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association said the video from the Sea Sheppard, which have gone viral, do not tell the whole story.

“In any population there are some abnormal fish, animals or people. Each one of the pens on a farm could have 50 -70,000 fish,” said Jeremy Dunn, executive director of the association. “In these videos you are looking at one or two fish.

“This video was captured by going to upwards of 15 farms and compiled together to tell a story. Those fish on those farms are routinely removed.”

The Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw have been against fish farms in their traditional territory for 30 years. They believe salmon farms affect wild stocks and now occupy Wicklow Point Salmon Farm, approximately 50 km east of Port Hardy.

Their protest comes just days after members of the Namgis First Nation occupied a salmon farm on nearby Swanson Island.

Both camps are vowing to stay until he government revokes the farms’ licenses.


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10 Responses to “Not everyone thinks fish farms are unsafe, including this First Nations elder”

    Sandra September 6, 2017 at 3:50 am #

    If they did not get permission, and are trespassing! Then they need to leave peacefully! They’ve earned enough $ from the territory! Its time to leave!

    Lorelei September 6, 2017 at 5:24 am #

    I would love to see a story on an actual fish farm, a reporter with a camera crew asking how they operate, what kind of money is involved, why the goverment needs to subsidize this industry. What are the illnesses from penned fish, the impact on surrounding environment etc.

      Charles September 6, 2017 at 7:55 pm #

      the information you would like to get from a story like that will never happen. There is so much wrong with farming Atlantic Salmon in Pacific waters. Firstly, they are Atlantic Salmon, keep them in the Atlantic. The government does not do any studies and allows the companies to monitor their own facilities.
      If you want the information on surrounding areas adjacent to the fish farms then ask the people who live in these areas as they are the only ones who are directly affected by these cesspools of poisoned product.
      The Canadian taxpayer should not be subsidizing this destructive operations as they will eventually wipe out the wild salmon stocks of BC.

    Henry Nelson September 6, 2017 at 6:13 pm #

    I need to ask why APTN didn’t interview anyone from the Nations involved? A story needs to be told from both perspectives. APTN could come on the farm very easily to get the real facts about how these farms are operated. We have an open invitation to the network to come out to B.C. and come see what it is really like. As a First Nations television network it would be good to see them come and get the footage first hand. Please come and see for yourself.

    Derek September 6, 2017 at 7:59 pm #

    This says it all for me: “their fish is cared for a lot more than our wild salmon are looked after”. That right there is pretty much the crux of every complaint I have about DFO violating their own mandate, which is first and foremost to protect wild fish and their environments:
    “The Fisheries Act contains two key provisions on conservation and protection of fish habitat essential to sustaining freshwater and marine fish species. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans administers section 35, the key habitat protection provision, prohibiting any work or undertaking that would cause the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat. Environment and Climate Change Canada administers section 36, the key pollution prevention provision, prohibiting the deposit of deleterious substances into waters frequented by fish, unless authorized by regulations under the Fisheries Act or other federal legislation. A deleterious substance can be any substance that, if added to any water, would degrade or alter its quality such that it could be harmful to fish, fish habitat or the use of fish by people.” []

    Shelley September 6, 2017 at 11:26 pm #

    I know first hand these companies have always been open to tourists they give several tours a year to anyone that wants one. They just need to call and arrange one. There is no secret conspiracy. Their own employees eat this everyday, yes they cook it for them. Some have ate it for 17+ years! And their still alive!! that speeks loudly to their products. Its enough of the mass hysteria and miss information from unqualified environmentalists. Salmon Farming is sustainable and builds our communities economy both directly and indirectly. The Cohoen report clearly outlined the cause of the decline of wild was from a combination of climate change, higher acidity in our waters, low oxigen levels and polition in the fraser. Salmon farming employs Net mending companies,trucking companies, multiple fish plants, employing whole First Nation Band Members in some territories. I could go on and on.

    Jim September 7, 2017 at 2:04 am #

    Nice to see someone say something that’s not twisted and full of propaganda to educate people who don’t know what’s real happening out there. So much respect

      Salistala September 8, 2017 at 2:57 am #

      This “unbiased” Elder makes millions packing the fish to market. Of course he’s going to say there’s no harm in farm fish.

      You’re not going to find anyone out here that doesn’t have a bias for or against farmed fish.

    Ronnie September 7, 2017 at 5:27 am #

    If I was heavily invested in this industry like Mr Walkus is, I’d say the same thing. There is millions of dollars made even on the packing side of the industry not just the sales side. I worked on a boat that packed farmed salmon for a couple years from 2008-09 and saw these kinds of fish all the time. It’s not something new.

    Kahlane September 8, 2017 at 4:41 am #

    I know first hand one of these companies offers tours of the farms. I see nothing wrong with well maintained fish farms.
    Society takes everything for granted, believing all resources will last forever. if we only relied on wild salmon, they would be extinct.