Friends Of Baynes Sound Society

Also find us at Email:

Sea cucumber opponents take concerns to regional district (Comox Valley Echo Fri June 29, 2012)

Sea cucumber opponents take concerns to regional district

Philip Round

Comox Valley Echo

Friday, June 29, 2012

Opponents of a proposed sea cucumber farm in Baynes Sound took their concerns to Comox Valley Regional District’s board on Tuesday.

The four-person delegation representing ‘The Friends of Baynes Sound’ – Kathy Gordon, Sue Smith, Mary Graves and Ed Varney – spoke against the aquaculture tenure application currently being considered by the province.

While the regional district has no direct jurisdiction over whether the tenure is granted, the application has been referred to CVRD staff as part of the government’s consultation process with interested agencies.

Among the opponents’ many representations, Gordon suggested the area from Gartley Point to Dorothy Point should be designated as a ‘public recreational refuge’ instead of having it zoned for aquaculture.

And Varney drew attention to what he described as “massive, unacceptable pollution” that would be created by a million sea cucumbers, each producing 600 pounds of excrement a year.

He also noted the issue had been presented as one that was in the public interest, but said only 0.002 per cent of what he suggested was a $45 million a year business would go to the public purse as tenure fees.

“How can this be construed to be in the public interest?” he asked.

The delegation suggested that while people would not necessarily see much on the water surface, that did not mean things were not going on below.

To make the point, they presented to each director a manipulated illustration of a person apparently lifting the sea like a curtain to reveal sea cucumbers and alleged pollution below the surface.

No decisions were taken by the board, but chair Edwin Grieve said the delegation has given them “food for thought.”

And chief administrative officer Debra Oakman said allegations by the group that there were errors on maps and other information filed with the application would be followed up.


8 responses to “Sea cucumber opponents take concerns to regional district (Comox Valley Echo Fri June 29, 2012)

  1. Dan Bowen July 5, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Hi to the Friends of Baynes Sound. I just wanted to make three comments about the CVRD delegation.
    1) Ed Varney’s comment about “massive, unacceptable pollution” that would be created by a million sea cucumbers, each producing 600 pounds each of excrement a year. Please read your Biology 101 and learn about the value and purpose of this humble and extremely important animal in the sea. That excrement is the cleaned nutrient rich sand and mud material from the bottom of the ocean. The purpose of the detrovore in the Baynes Sound food web is to do what it has done for millions of years in the oceans around the world…. clean up the dead and rotting matter. Without the sea cucumber Baynes Sound would slowly turn the substrait anorobic (without oxygen) create dead zones. The 600 pounds per sea cucumber per year tells you what a great job they are doing. Please consult a biologist.
    2) To Ed Varney. Wow I like your math…….If we make 45 million dollars I will be happy. Sadly, this is also incorrect. The fees you note are set by the province and the hundreds of tenure holders have the same fee structure So what is your point? You are not against us on that you are against the Provincial Government. If it was the public interest you were concerned with then what about the Federal, Provincial Income taxes (about 30-40% would come off that figure and go back to the Public coffers. About 30-40% would go back to the community as wages, aquaculture material costs, dive contractors, aquatic biologists, consultants, research monitors, boat costs and tenure fees. Please consult with a person that knows about business expenses and business revenue. This is totally in the public interest of our community from all points of view.

    3) The delegation noted that they are afraid that they cannot see under the ocean that something sinister would be happening. Our plans are for a very low profile operation with only 1 % of the entire area being used for our natural nurseries the remaining 99% will be a green zone for sea cucumbers to forage to natural densities based on the habitat. Your art work was very good I admire creative artists, but that was an illustration to scare folks… and was it true?………… no just a very good illustration!

    To advise you of our plans, we will be surveying all the eel grass beds and plotting the areas where infill may be possible. We will be committed to a 5 year plan to restore some native species of kelp that have been sadly harvested out. We will apply “Green Ocean ” concepts as some of our guideing principles. Much our work will be videotaped and avaiable on line. Keep your eyes on the website. The so called veil of secrecy will be lifted for all to see and it will be beautiful!

    Visit our web site for more information………

    Questions: email me at


    Dan Bowen,
    Project Manager

  2. gartleybay July 5, 2012 at 6:25 pm


    I would be interested in reviewing any independent scientific papers published which support Mr. Bowen’s claim that Sea Cucumbers “clean” the area. What exactly happens to the existing heavy metals and assorted toxins ?

    • Dan Bowen July 10, 2012 at 1:56 am

      HI gartleybay, There are a couple of international references that are accessable on the internet under Science Alert: –
      1) Benefits of sea cucumbers to the ocean water by refreshing it. Also removing harmful toxins in nitrates.

      2) Food quality of sea cucumbers analysed noting low heavy metals and acceptable food source.

      Summary notes that based on these specific papers and in these specific areas this is the case. This why it is important to repeat this study on our sea cucumbers.

      Thanks for your interest. As we all learn more about the wonderful benefits of sea cucumbers you will learn not to be afraid of this humble worker of the ocean.
      I am also a friend of Baynes Sound and have been so for many more years than most. I was on the Baynes Sound Round Table for many years and we collaborated on several action plans that did enhance and protect Baynes Sound.


      Dan Bowen

      • David Riddell July 16, 2012 at 7:29 pm

        It has taken me a while to review these references – both sites are for the same research paper. This was a lab experiment with looking at the effect 4 sea cucumbers in a tank had on carbon concentrations and nitrogen levels. My understanding of their results was that sea cucumbers consume organic matter on the sea bed and help to decrease nitrogen levels. This would make them beneficial creatures to have where there was more biological debris to clean up – such as around fish compounds. I did not see any reference to altering toxic organic byproucts nor any mention of heavy metal levels. I would be interested in a paper actually showing that sea cumcumber tissue did not accummulate toxins when they were exposed.
        Always interested
        David Riddell

  3. Dan Bowen July 11, 2012 at 2:21 am

    Hi to gartleybay… I note that there has been another recent false reference in the CV Echo paper. That refered to Antibiotics? I assume this came from some google reference to Chinese aquaculture? Well sorry to burst your bubble. The Gartley Point Hatchery has never used antibiotics nor will ever have to. This type of backhanded reference would make people think that the Gartley Point Hatchery was doing something that was not acceptable.

    Just for the record again its not cool to present false references out of context.

    These types of statements give your group no credibility.

    If you want to meet with me any time to discuss the real facts aboiut our plans or the hatchery operation just let me know. I meet with one group each week and so far each one has supported our plans.

    I hope to hear from you,


    Dan Bowen

  4. Sue July 11, 2012 at 5:15 am

    I find these kinds of responses by Dan bullying and disrespectful to the residents of Baynes Sound, if not childish. What the residents want is valid and truthful information from the proponents, not anger and fluff.

    I am very disappointed that Dan Bowen continues to be adversarial in his comments publicly through his letter to the editor and via the website. He has not attempted to build any form of relationship with the community, so how can he expect the community to trust his word.

    In my opinion, the proponents are no different than Enbridge, who have wholesome advertisements and state they are environmentally responsible however the reality is they continue to have oil spills that are damaging to the environment.

    The behaviour of Dan has increased my distrust and further diminished my confidence in his ability to successfully manage aquaculture in Baynes Sound. I am fully convinced, due to the judgmental and insensitive responses provided by Dan Bowen, that this project, if allowed to proceed, will be damaging to Baynes Sound.


  5. Dan Bowen July 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Hi Sue,

    Sorry you feel that way. It was not my intention to upset you.

    Your recent statements about me are without just cause and then your summation about trust is equally not logical. I have been open and truthful with you and others in your group. I have done my best to answer the many questions asked about the sea cucumber application I have put up the website. This is what I committed to do at our information meeting. Your definition of insensitive should not be confused with my trying to provide the truth directly to you……..even if you don’t want to believe the truth.
    If you want to try to build a relationship of trust with me as you say above, I will again leave you an open offer to meet for coffee. So far you don’t seen to want to? Please contact me vis email so we can sort this out.

    Dan Bowen

  6. Sue July 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Dan, you have upset me, as well as many others, in spite of what you describe as good intentions. Just so you are aware, my post above was written prior to our email exchange about meeting for coffee. I did mean to get back to you earlier, and apologize. I had a really busy week and had thought this week would work out better, but after reading this latest post I was a bit unnerved. I don’t really want to be the recipient of blame and name calling; I would prefer a dialogue. As I said in my email to you before, even if we have different perspectives, we can still be respectful.

    Anyhow, I am gathering my courage and thinking about your offer again. Can you meet for coffee this Friday? I will cc this post to you directly to ensure you get it and hopefully we can work out a time and place to meet.

    Talk soon,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: