(Coast Salish Territory / Vancouver – November 2, 2012) On October 31, 2012, the Honourable Bruce I. Cohen, Commissioner, released his Final Report on the decline of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River.
“Commissioner Cohen tactfully articulated what most Canadians are beginning to realize, the Harper Government has politically stigmatized ‘environmental protection.’ He observed the total hypocrisy and complete contradiction of the federal department, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, whose fundamental mandate is to defend and safeguard wild salmon but as a department has long fought for the open-net fish farm industry,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. “It is astonishingly remarkable that it took more than three million pages of documents, 179 witnesses at a $25-million inquiry to tell Ottawa, wild salmon first!”
In regards to aquaculture, one of Commissioner Cohen’s most critical recommendations was that DFO should focus on the management of wild fisheries, and that the mandate for salmon farming should be moved from DFO to another executive branch of government, as promotion of aquaculture development could be in conflict with the interests of wild salmon stocks.