Denman Islanders still frustrated by shellfish aquaculture debris on beaches

A group of Denman Island residents stopped by Driftwood Mall on Wednesday with truckloads of debris en route to the dump.

DENMAN ISLAND RESIDENTS Liz Johnston

DENMAN ISLAND RESIDENTS Liz Johnston

A group of Denman Island residents stopped by Driftwood Mall on Wednesday with truckloads of debris en route to the dump.

The garbage included floats, racks, baskets, trays, netting, Styrofoam blocks, wire and pouches. One trailer was loaded full of metal caging from an abandoned tenure.

The residents were affiliated with the Denman Island Marine Stewardship Committee, which conducted its seventh annual beach cleanup on the weekend. Each year, volunteers collect two to four tons of debris, which the group says is mostly generated by the shellfish aquaculture industry.

Besides being an eyesore, the garbage creates safety hazards for beach users, they say.

“It’s very, very unacceptable as far as we’re concerned, and it’s not changing, it’s not reducing,” said Shelley McKeachie of the DIMSC executive. “We’re trying to shine a light on this today.

“We’ve just met with DFO (Fisheries and Oceans Canada), who recently took over the regulation of this industry. They’re making plans for how to deal with this and other issues around the shellfish industry.”

Each year, the committee invites the industry, through the Comox-based BC Shellfish Growers Association, to claim the detritus.

The association, noting shellfish farmers have attended the beach cleanup in past years, said it was not invited to this year’s event. It could not send a representative to Wednesday’s demonstration because it received an invitation on Monday, which was not enough notice for farmers or the two-person BCSGA operation.

“Our cleanup efforts, we spend a lot of money and time and effort to work on that issue,” BCSGA communications manager Matthew Wright said. “It’s been an ongoing issue for quite a few years. We have two bins down in the Baynes Sound area, and we also hire a fellow who goes out four to six times a year to scour the area.”

The committee, however, considers this a Band-Aid solution because the amount of garbage on Denman beaches and in Baynes Sound is not decreasing.

While acknowledging the BCSGA offered to pay this year’s tipping fees, the committee feels the association needs to stop garbage from arriving on beaches in the first place.

“It’s our feeling they need to put their energy into securing their equipment,” McKeachie said. “If it should escape, which some of it is bound to, they then need to be responsible for cleaning up after themselves. It should not be volunteers.”

The committee feels the industry needs to insist on grower practices to prevent littering with equipment and obsolete materials, and to regularly walk their tenures and collect debris. It also suggests Fisheries and Oceans Canada enforce a no-littering policy.

Wright said the BCSGA tries to educate farmers. Through research and development, it also tries to come up with new ways to secure equipment.

“But we’re fighting against lots of adverse weather conditions, especially in the spring and the fall, that dislodges a lot of the equipment,” he said. “The bottom line is, most of the people in that area are small family farms. For them to lose a tray, that costs them money. They’re already struggling as it is.”

The BCSGA applauds the efforts of the committee and volunteers.

“Our association is involved with multiple beach cleanups throughout the province on a yearly basis,” Wright said. “We try and keep on top of it.”

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Comox Strathcona Waste Management expects to go to tender this summer for the regional organics compost facility in Campbell River. File photo/Black Press
Comox Strathcona compost site should go to tender this summer

The regional organics facility is on target to open for the fall of 2022

The site of the King George Hotel in Cumberland. Photo by Mike Chouinard
VIU students research Cumberland’s past, future

Specific practicum topics were King George Hotel’s significance, densification incentives

Courtenay–Alberni MP Gord Johns says 12 million Canadians do not have dental insurance. Photo by Bofu Shaw, courtesy of Unsplash
Courtenay–Alberni MP, CDA consider dental care for all Canadians

Gord Johns has initiated a mail-out that asks constituents the date of… Continue reading

A 407 Squadron CP-140 Aurora, along with a Halifax-Class frigate enforce United Nations sanctions against North Korea in support of Op Neon in 2019. Canadian Forces photo/submitted
407 Squadron defends Canada for 80 years

The Comox-based squadron celebrating special anniversary

Jasmine Francoeur from Comox is an aviation technician for the Snowbirds air demonstration team. Photo by Canadian Forces/submitted
Comox’s Jasmine Francoeur’s career comes full circle with the Snowbirds

“To fly out here, fly into my hometown, it’s very special and I feel very lucky”

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Island Health has confirmed COVID-19 exposures at Ecole des Deux Mondes in Campbell River on May 4 and 5, and at Mill Bay Nature School in Mill Bay on April 28, 29, 30 and May 3. (Metro Creative photo)
Two new COVID-19 school exposures confirmed by Island Health

Health authority contacting anyone exposed at Ecole des Deux Mondes, Mill Bay Nature School

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Most Read