Friends Of Baynes Sound Society

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Cumberland BC Cumberlander: Articles

Sea Cucumbers – Friends of Baynes Sound

By Bon Thorburn 2 days ago ·

I attended the July 11th meeting of the Friends of Baynes Sound at the Fallen Alders Hall in Royston. I was asked twice to leave because I was not against sea cucumbers. The ‘public’ meeting was only for those who were against the proposed sea cucumber tenures. However, I stayed and heard an interesting speech from a retired pediatrician, Dr. David Batel sp?, who gave a talk on the topic, “Are Sea Cucumbers from Baynes Sound safe to eat?”. His professional opinion was – In Canada, 1 in 6 children have development disorders probably caused by the chemicals they ingest in Canada. He noted that many poisonous chemicals and pesticides from all the septic systems, the sewage outfall at Cape Lazo, the Cumberland dump, all the farms and industries in the area, leach into the groundwater and then into Baynes Sound. Sea cucumbers eat these poisons. His closing statement was “Is it safe to eat sea cucumbers from Baynes Sound?” and followed it with an emphatic “NO!” This received a hearty ovation from the 100 attendees. This silly false scare mongering must stop. I live in Deep Bay, am an active boater and a volunteer coast guard auxiliary member. I am a friend of Baynes Sound. Our sea cucumbers are the garden worms of the oceans. They purify all the chemical wastes that they ingest and leave a nutritious sea garden bed. They are our ecological angels. Furthermore, The Canadian Food Inspection Agency regularly tests the waters of our Baynes Sound under the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program. For confirmation, please visit . Sea cucumbers, oysters, fish and other aquatic species from Baynes Sound are usually safe to eat, except shellfish during red tides. Sea cucumbers are Friends of Baynes Sound.Bon Thorburn

via Cumberland BC Cumberlander: Articles.


4 responses to “Cumberland BC Cumberlander: Articles

  1. David Riddell July 16, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Dear FOBS readers,
    I feel I have to reply to this comment since I am misquoted -although no one would know who it was as the name was wrong also. I only had rough notes for the talk so I put these thoughts to print the next day. For anyone who would like to look at the source of most of this information it is reported in Lancet 2006;368:2167-78 “Developmental neurotoxicity of industrial chemicals”.
    Since dealing with the political/industry/social aspects of aquaculture is a new entity to me, I wanted to view the topic within an area of which I am more familiar. Thus I wanted to look at the sea cucumber from a consumption/product point of view.

    Developmental disorders are common in childhood, estimated somewhere around 1:6 live born children. Thus over the years this figure accumulates to include vast numbers of children. Most of these developmental disabilities involve neurological sequelae if not direct brain insult. A neurodevelopmental disorder is generally considered to be a disorder that occurs in the developing fetal brain. These disorders include such diagnosis as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism, developmental delay, ADHD, learning disorders and many more. Unfortunately the vast majority of the time, definitive diagnosis of the cause of this brain injury remains unknown. The role that environmental toxins play has been suspected for decades as a definite cause. There are well over 200 industrial chemicals that are known to be toxic to the adult brain (eg: metals and inorganic compounds, organic solvents, other organic substances, pesticides). There are only a few that have been proven to be toxic to the developing fetal brain. This small list so far includes only lead, methylmercury, arsenic, PCBs, and toluene.

    Over a decade ago the National Research Council in Washington DC tried to put a number to the role that environmental toxins play in these neurodevelopmental disorders. Their numbers suggested 3% of all developmental disorders were directly related to environmental industrial toxins and another 25% of all developmental disorders were caused by an abnormal genetic susceptibility/toxin interaction.

    So how does the above relate to the present situation of this sea cucumber aquaculture farm that is proposed for Baynes Sound?

    1). Direct water involvement: there are four rivers that drain into the Comox Bay emptying into Baynes Sound, and I would suspect, washing right over the areas of the tenure. These waters drain the farmlands in the Valley (fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides), septic systems, the Cumberland sewer system, and also the Courtney city dump. There are a large number of other rivers and streams that empty directly into Baynes Sound. What is the chemical makeup of these waters and what is the concentration of the various toxins that could be present? Have there been adequate studies to answer these questions?

    2). Seabed sediment: the total area of these two tenures have a seabed affected by the waters that wash down the mountainside.

    Vancouver Island has been extensively logged for many many decades, and logged repeatedly. This leads to increased erosion of the land with drainage of heavy metals and arsenic. These substances accumulate in the beds of streams and the beds of the sea into which the streams drain. Sea cucumbers live on and in the seabed.

    Up on the mountainside also are old coal mines and at least one former open pit copper mine. The tailings from the Coppermine would probably still be draining their leftover metals into the sea. It is well-known that old closed coal mines continue to pollute heavy metals (lead and cadmium for example) for decades after the closure of the mine. The waterbeds of the affected areas continue to be polluted. Two of these polluting products, lead and arsenic, are proven neurotoxins to the human fetal brain.

    From my understanding of the process so far, it is the DFO that is responsible for the safety of the product. Thus I would be asking the DFO, “is this seabed polluted, what are the actual concentrations of arsenic and other heavy metals in this specific seabed, does the sea cucumber accumulate these toxins in its tissues which could then be passed on to humans if consumed or are its tissue somehow safe from absorption of these toxins “?

    These sea cucumbers are largely exported to Asian countries and it would be a disgrace to Canada if this was not a safe product to consume.

  2. eugene hrushowy July 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Excellent questions and concerns

  3. Sue July 20, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Thanks David, its funny, I remember your discussion and thought it was great, but I don’t remember the resounding “no” nor participating in a hearty ovation response to it, hope I wasn’t rude!

    • Mary Reynolds July 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      Dr. Riddell:
      Mr. Thorburn has publicly claimed/accused you of making statements which he describes as: “This silly false scare mongering must stop.” The accusation appears again today in the Comox Valley Record letters section.

      In my opinion, Mr. Thorburn owes you a public apology and should correct the information he has published which casts doubt on your

      Mr. Thorburn’s credibility and reliance for accurate information being relayed to the public, in my opinion, must be viewed with a
      critical eye due to this claim. I am basing my opinion on published statements by Mr. Thorburn which I have recently read.

      I have no fear of stating: Mr. Thorburn’s claim Dr. Riddell made the following statement is absolutely false.
      His closing statement was, “Is it safe to eat sea cucumbers from Baynes Sound?” and followed it with an emphatic “no!” This received a hearty ovation from the 100 attendees.

      If it were me, I would be contacting Jason Gratl.
      Phone: 604 694 1919
      Fax: 604 608 1919

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