Concern about aquaculture applications near Denman Island

Dear editor,

I am shocked that the geoduck tenure proposals have progressed as far as they have.

Dear editor,

I am shocked that the geoduck tenure proposals have progressed as far as they have.

If these tenures are approved, the waters of Baynes Sound and Lambert Channel will become an enormous industrial aquaculture site, rather than our beautiful Salish Sea that enhances the livability and joy in our lives and helps to support the rich, but evermore compromised ecosystem of the Salish Sea.

It is possible that  this massive aquaculture will bring revenue into the Comox Valley, but it will more likely drain it of even more revenue and jobs!

What will happen to income from tourism when our shores are littered with debris, the water is murky, all manner of sealife are trapped in predator netting, and our seabeds are planted with PVC pipes?

What will happen to the commercial and sport fisheries when the herring spawn is disrupted by the destruction of the plants needed for the roe to cling to?

How will the current wild harvesters survive when the sea bed is no longer accessible for their sustainable harvest?

How will all of us in Baynes Sound and Lambert Channel feel when our waters are muddied by the high-pressured hose used to harvest geoducks and the resultant dead sea life and plant life are washed on our beaches?

From a broader perspective, industrial geoduck farming covered by these tenure requests would irrevocably threaten the herring spawn that occurs in these waters in March of each year. This yearly spawn accounts for half of all herring spawned in the Strait of Georgia.

The herring roe require a healthy ecosystem and sea bed that contains eel grass and other marine vegetation. Such vegetation would be destroyed by the high pressure hoses that liquefy the seabed to harvest geoducks.

In addition, predator netting would trap spawning herring, preventing their ability to continue to spawn in future years.

Herring are a keystone species in the Salish Sea. They are eaten by coho and chinook salmon, humpback and killer whales, eagles, bears, wolves and a wide variety of sea mammals.

To compromise the herring spawn is to compromise the ecosystem of the waters of the Strait of Georgia and beyond.

The herring stocks have been steadily declining in the last decade to the point that only the Strait of Georgia and the area around Prince Rupert remain open to herring fisheries. It seems extremely unwise and destructive to further compromise this important forage fish through destruction of key habitat for spawning.

Geoduck and sea cucumber aquaculture on the scale proposed would significantly alter the quality of life for our community.

We need to ask all parties involved (industry and government alike)  to consider very carefully whether such tenures are indeed morally just, sustainable, and whether the economic benefit to a few is worth the destruction of the quality of our life, the health of the ecosystem of the Salish Sea, and the disruption in the food chain of migrating birds and sealife.

This is a matter that needs an urgent wave of opposition by the people of this region. We owe it to future generations, to our land and sea to stand up and say no! Enough is enough already!

Barbara and John Mills,

Denman Island

 

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