What I learned about aquaculture I wasn’t planning on knowing. It started in May when someone dropped off a pamphlet alerting residents of the proposed 155-hectare tenure application somewhere between Gartley Point and the Union Bay Log Sort area. Since then I have been engaged in finding out what does this really mean to the residents along Baynes Sound and those that live in the Comox Valley. The journey has been interesting.
I learned: * that the public information process is minimal. An ad in the newspaper is required and the public has 30 days after that to send in their concerns. If the public demonstrates enough concern then an open house is strongly recommended.
* that the office that handles these applications is very small.
* that the only course of action the public has is to send your comments to Kathy Evans or email the authorizing agency in Nanaimo.
* that after a tenure for aquaculture is approved the next step is with the DFO. Presently the process is undergoing change.
* that I worry how Bill c38 is intertwined in this process if we reach the federal level, is it good-bye to the public process altogether? (read more at http: //www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/resources/2012/ bill-c38-what-you-need-to-know/).
* that a second tenure application of 115 hectares has surfaced and has been lumped in with the first one
* that combined the tenures cover 667 acres of crown land essentially between Gartley Point and Buckley Bay; if granted it will be the largest tenure area ever granted in BC.
* that the one hectare research areas containing the nurseries are adjacent to public beach access points
* that many articles, including those suggested by the proponents, recommend juxtaposing fish farms with sea cucumber aquaculture.
* that Green Oceans is a business model, mindset and philosophy and that green washing is making misleading claims about the environmental benefits of a company or industry. Green Oceans results in a win-win for the community, engages the community in a positive relationship-building manner, reduces its industry’s environmental impact, and attempts to lower the consumer-driven mentality to a sustainable one.
* that concerned Baynes Sound residents were advised to form a group and that is how the Friends of Baynes Sound was formed. The group is asking questions and searching for unbiased information from a lot of sources. They are not fear mongering, but are fearful of the potential harm this industry could cause.
* that the Friends of Baynes Sound poster is an artistic expression of concern, one that is meant to provoke thoughtful reflection to look deeper than the surface, things are not always as they appear.
* that there is not a lot known about the sea cucumber industry and that no one really knows how this aquaculture industry will impact this area.
* that there are more questions than answers.
* that my 83-year-old neighbour sums it up best: this tenure application is wrong, it is just wrong, wrong, wrong!
I believe this application should not be allowed to happen here in Baynes Sound.
I disagree that this application is a low/ no impact enterprise. The carbon footprint alone is huge. This product will be shipped to Richmond/Vancouver area for processing then onto Asia.
I do not think it meets the Green Oceans objectives either.
There is no win-win for the community. What are we really restoring? Baynes Sound is pristine; Mother Nature will look after Baynes Sound if we do not interfere. I think it wise we just leave this area alone.
What needs help is where man has already impacted his will, the farmed salmon industry. Aligning fish farms with the sea cucumber business would better fit the Green Oceans objectives. It would also make for a more valid research project. Best not to add to the man-made problems, but fix the ones that already exist.
The sea cucumber industry is based on consumerism, supplying a delicacy. Green Oceans rejects the 20th century model to build on consumption levels that are not sustainable.
Baynes Sound is doing its part for the Shellfish industry. It already supplies 50 per cent of the Shellfish in British Columbia.
Let’s not get greedy. We have the best place in the world; the Friends of Baynes Sound want to keep it that way.
If you want to keep Baynes Sound how it is, now is your window to exercise your democratic right, the deadline is approaching.
Send your written concerns to the Manager, Aquaculture, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, 2500 Cliffe Ave., Courtenay, B.C. V9N 5M6 or e-mail: authorizingAgency.Nanaimo@gov.bc. ca before July 31, 2012.
If you need help with a letter, visit http: // friendsofbaynessound.wordpress.com/
Click the website “media” tab for video presentations and transcripts from the open house.