Friends of Bayne Sound speak about sea cucumbers

Dear editor,

In two successive editions of the Record, you published letters from original applicants for extensive sea cucumber tenures.

Dear editor,

I find it quite incredible that in two successive editions of the Record, you published letters from two of the original applicants for extensive sea cucumber tenures (and not identifying them as such) in Baynes Sound and nothing from the Friends of Baynes Sound on the matter.

We aren’t against sea cucumbers; we are against a proposal (actually two of them) which projects seeding and harvesting over two million sea cucumbers in an area — Baynes Sound — where a recent Department of Fisheries and Oceans (2011/2012) report estimates there are currently 30,000 wild sea cucumbers. Excess growth always depletes resources and leads to eventual collapse. Do we want that in Baynes Sound?

One of our concerns is sea cucumber excrement. Each creature produces about 600 pounds per year, which in itself is not a bad thing.

A certain amount of chicken manure in the garden is good for the garden but pile it on two feet thick and it will kill everything — and so will 1,200,000,000 pounds of sea cucumber excrement. It’s called pollution.

And there is the matter of what these additional sea cucumbers will eat and a concern with the introduction of antibiotics to control disease. And the effects of fencing or containment apparatus. These are only a few of 25 serious concerns which we have articulated to the DFO and the province.

We must remember that we all own Baynes Sound collectively and that the DFO and the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources are, in essence,  hired by us to manage in the public interest, not in the interest of a few entrepreneurs.

These two aquaculture applications are for an area about 9.5 kilometers long stretching from Royston to Buckley Bay, an area that already produces about 50 per cent of B.C.’s shellfish.

There are too many unknowns about what the introduction of 65 times the present wild sea cucumber population will do to other species of shellfish, fish, birds, and animals and to the environment. Sea cucumber ranching in China, where sea cucumbers are eaten, has a history of pollution and destruction. Do we want to the chance that the result will be the same here?

Of course, letter writers Dan Bowen and Bon Thorburn support their own applications; they have a financial interest in doing so. Their letters are nothing more than commercial propaganda. You fell for it.

But for your paper to validate only one side of this inflammatory issue is reprehensible. Surely you can do better.

Ed Varney,


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