This photo shows some of the industrial waste collected at the Denman Island shore clean-up

Shellfish industry waste pollutes waters

Denman Island clean up yields aquaculture garbage

Dear editor,

As a retired shellfish grower in Baynes Sound, I am disgusted with the hundreds of shellfish raft baskets and trays collected off of Denman Island beaches during the recent Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-Up.

Most of these are reusable and I wonder how many more hundreds are on the Vancouver Island side or escaped Baynes Sound altogether? Most of this “escaped equipment” ends up on the shore, grinding away into microplastics and ending up being ingested by all marine life. These microplastics attract other carcinogens and work their way up the food chain causing harm and DNA damage.

The microplastics also end up settling in the substrate waiting to be released by a disturbance of the ocean floor. DFO is aware (as is the organization which represents the shellfish industry) of this potentially toxic contamination coming from this “green and sustainable” industry, so why aren’t they doing more to stop it rather than participating in another study?

Shellfish growers need to know that they are destroying their own livelihood and contributing to the global damage of our oceans. All those in the aquaculture industry need to get on board and remove all unnecessary plastics from the marine environment, reduce their use, and find alternatives or prepare to grow their products in tanks on the land where they can ensure a green, sustainable and healthy food source.

Edina Johnston

Denman Island

 

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