August 23, 2011




ARESST: Some current public submissions to the Cohen salmon commission  are being recycled from several years ago, including that of the Canadian Federation of University Women's Victoria chapter who have just taken an old pro-land-based sewage treatment tract and re-submitted it:

Submitter: Canadian Federation of University Women
Community: Victoria
Date Submitted: July 25, 2011
The Canadian Federation of University Women urge the Government of Canada and the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans to enforce the Fisheries Act to eliminate pollution of fish and their habitat in Canada’s coastal and inland waters.
Submission Files:
File 1:
Resolution by Fed_Uni Women-2006-enforce Fisheries



Letters (online only)
22 August 2011

Has anyone else noticed similarities among large and expensive government projects, some completed, some likely to be completed. The fast ferries came to a sticky end. The airport interchange at McTavish is an object of puzzlement.

Land-based sewage treatment appears to be persisting on the to do list. Now the cry is for light rail passenger service. I would be astonished to find that population density and ridership could cover maintenance costs or even service the capital costs. These last two projects are not only expensive to construct, they will cost a great deal to service for many years to come.

At least the fast ferries were towed out of our sight for ten cents on the dollar.

Barbara Pettenuzzo


ARESST: Excerpt from article below: Under these rules, Vancouver, Victoria and B.C. Ferries would have to be shut down, Hay said.

Judith Lavoie
Times Colonist
August 20, 2011

Environment Canada enforcement staff are threatening to fine Central Coast floating fishing lodges $200,000 a day or seize the lodges because they are not meeting sewage discharge standards.

But consultants and lodge owners say the test being used is a standard far higher than required of municipalities or vessels and no system exists that could be installed on a floating structure to treat wastewater to that degree.

"This is a test that would be applied to pulp mills and mining tailings typically," said wastewater consultant John Rowse of J.Rowse Strategic Consulting, a company hired by about 35 lodges in Rivers Inlet and Hakai Pass, north of Vancouver Island, to look at options.

"It all seems quite inappropriate," he said.

If the same standard is applied to the approximately 200 floating lodges on the north and central coasts, it would be devastating for their businesses, said Frank Hay, president of Pinnacle Environmental Technologies Inc., a crossCanada wastewater technology company.

"It's not workable. It's all quite bizarre," he said.

The dispute has been bubbling since late 2009 when Rivers Inlet lodges, which open for six to nine weeks a year, were told to come up with sewage treatment plans.

Lodge owners failed to find a solution and it came to a head this week when enforcement officer Ken Russell arrived at several lodges with a warrant, accompanied by two police officers, and spent hours sifting through email.

Barbara Kelly, owner of Rivers Inlet Sportsman's Club, was in Victoria when Russell and police arrived at her lodge and demanded that the manager open his personal email account.

"He stood over my manager for six hours with a policeman on either side of him, in front of my guests, and then he went to another lodge the same day and did the same thing," Kelly said.

If asked, she could have provided them with whatever was needed, said Kelly, who has complained to Environment Minister Peter Kent.

Pat Ardley of Rivers Lodge watched the scene in horror.

"What on earth could have convinced the police to escort this man into a peaceful, wilderness fishing area? They would have to fly into the inlet or use an expensive boat to get here," she said.

Lodge owners want a deferral for a year, which they hope will allow government time to include small-flow businesses in regulations.

Most of the lodges, which take between three and 30 guests at a time, have holding tanks, filters, grinding pumps or discharge straight into the water, Rowse said.

The discharge is between one cubic metre and eight cubic metres a day and is all organic, with no chemicals, he said. The average household discharges about 1.6 cubic metres a day.

"There are no ill effects that anyone has proved to me," Rowse said.

On the contrary, the aquatic life is thriving, Kelly said.

"We have whales in the bay, seals and pilchards by the million," she said.

Hay, at the request of lodge owners, went to suppliers and designers across the U.S and Canada, but failed to come up with a system that would bring the lodges up to the required standard without literally sinking them with expensive equipment.

Under these rules, Vancouver, Victoria and B.C. Ferries would have to be shut down, Hay said.

"They are using the wrong measure. Environment Canada needs to demonstrate that the surrounding aquatic life and vegetation is being harmed and that has not been tested," he said.

Environment Canada was unable to comment Friday.


Judith Lavoie
Times Colonist
August 19, 2011

After more than a decade of talks, the water around Race Rocks remains without federal protection. Now a push has begun to persuade Fisheries and Oceans to step back and allow Parks Canada to manage the Salish Sea from Race Rocks to Gabriola Passage.

The Race Rocks Advisory Board, a reincarnation of a board which sat between 1999 and 2002, was disbanded in March and some members have little faith that DFO can push an agreement to create - and fund - a marine protected area.

Angus Matthews, executive director of Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney, who sat on both advisory boards, is fed up with fragmented jurisdictions and the lack of progress. He fears that, if agreement is reached, the proposal could derail when it reaches Ottawa, as happened in 2000.

"Most people are shocked that Race Rocks is not protected," said Matthews, who is about to look for support from the Discovery Centre's 17,000 members. "The public expects more from government and the ocean needs more. Race Rocks is the porchlight of the Salish Sea."

Concerns include negotiations with First Nations, which, unlike the first round, are in secret, and questions about what benefits DFO is willing to bring to the table.

Dan Kukat, president of the Pacific Whale Watch Association, who has sat on both boards, said DFO is doing nothing to better protect Race Rocks.

"It will only create more confusion and paperwork and red tape, and it could be detrimental to the area," he said.

"The Canadian taxpayer has paid $273,000 for consultations that have produced very little."

The hodge-podge of protection now in place for the rocky islets and lighthouse, one nautical mile off the southern tip of Vancouver Island, includes a provincial ecological reserve designation, which covers the land, federal ownership of the lighthouse building, some fishing closures and a resident eco-guardian paid for by Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific.

It is vital to have a physical presence on the rock, but DFO is not offering to pay for the eco-guardian, said Matthews. He added that DFO seems unwilling to take on other federal department issues, such as Department of National Defence explosions and dumping of ballast water by freighters.

Glen Rasmussen, DFO oceans co-ordinator, said consultations with First Nations have not finished and, once completed, regulations have to be developed. "We are still targeting to have those published and in place by the end of March," he said. "But we still have some hurdles to go and I'm not saying it's a done deal at all."

The advisory group was disbanded because consultations were complete, but a public advisory board will be re-established once the marine protected area becomes a reality, he said.

So far, on the Pacific coast, Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents and Bowie Seamount are designated marine protected areas and Parks Canada, in partnership with the Haida Nation, has designated water around Gwaii Haanas as a national marine conservation area.

Hecate Strait sponge reefs are going through the process to make them marine protected areas and Parks Canada is working on the southern Strait of Georgia as a national marine conservation area.

Parks Canada would be interested in expanding to Race Rocks but, for the moment, such a move is probably not practical, said Richard Carson, Parks Canada's national marine conservation area director.

"The notion of going bigger is appealing and it's sorely tempting to dream that dream, but we need to be realistic about what we can achieve.

"We have to be realistic about how big a bite we can chew," Carson said.

Once the southern Strait of Georgia national marine conservation area is established, it is possible that expansion around the southern tip of the Island would be considered, Carson said.

Both marine protected areas and national marine conservation areas have the same objectives of marine protection while allowing multiple uses, but have different management styles.



NY Times
15 August 2011

ReutersThe beluga whale is threatened by mercury and PCBs in the Arctic Sea.
What has been billed as the “Dow Jones of ocean health” is six months from release, and Ben Halpern is feeling the pressure. “We’re frantically wrapping up analyses,” Dr. Halpern, a research biologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, said in a telephone interview.

Just as traders use various stock indices to monitor the global economy, micro-analyzing each blip, a team of nearly 50 scientists from many disciplines is designing an analogous tool to track the health of the world’s oceans and the implications for human well-being. (Dr. Halpern is part of a core team of 15 scientists who work on the index daily.)

The Ocean Health Index, a collaborative project of the group Conservation International, the National Geographic Society, the New England Aquarium, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and the Synthesis and the Sea Around Us project, measures, country by country, the ability of marine ecosystems to thrive and to support human livelihoods — goals that are often in tension. The index aggregates complex data into a single numerical score for every country.

With a maximum possible score of 100, the number measures how well a country fares in achieving optimal oceanic conditions and management practices; the lower the score, the worse conditions are.

“It’s easy to get lost in the hierarchy,” Dr. Halpern said of the final scores. The index actually nests measurement within measurement: each country’s score is based on 10 broad goals of ocean health like water cleanliness and biodiversity, and each of those goals relies on a more specific set of metrics.

Water cleanliness is, for example, subdivided into pathogens, chemical pollution, nutrient pollution, toxic contamination, trash and so forth. Metrics that are deemed more important carry greater weight. Along a beach heavily trafficked by tourists, for example, pathogens may carry greater weight than they do in Acadia National Park, where the aesthetic disruption from litter might be more problematic.

Over all, about 100 metrics are used to compile the index, which the team hopes to update at least once a year. Updating the scores will give policymakers an overview of ocean health trends over time and allow them to map out coordinated remedial efforts and conservation policies.

This ranking structure, both expansive and infinitesimal, has never before been applied to the oceans on a global scale. The index is also unique in its attention to the link between oceans and people, Dr. Halpern, said, noting that past examinations of marine health have tended to focus on pristineness as if the ocean were an untouchable wilderness.

“But the reality is we all like what the ocean provides — food to eat, a beach for recreating,” he said. “If these use values are not incorporated into conservation, then any solution will be doomed from the start. Solutions have to revolve around how people benefit.”

Data for the index are drawn from national databases and cover the exclusive economic zone of each coastal country — the marine territory extending 200 miles from shore over which nations maintain sovereignty. Yet the index offers the potential for a profusion of case studies on varying scales, from the health of the Long Island Sound or San Francisco Bay to large-scale analyses of the Mediterranean Sea or the vast open waters of the Pacific.

Stephen Katona, a former president of the College of the Atlantic, oversees the index, which combines two projects once independently assessing global ocean health and was seeded in February 2008 with a $2.5 million research grant from the Wrigley Company Foundation.

Thirty months later, challenges remain. A precise definition of ‘health,’ for example, appears elusive. “A booming whale-watching industry may come at the expense of thriving fisheries, while an emphasis on unpolluted waters may constrain coastal economies, three leading scientists contributing to the index noted in a recent article. “It is no trivial task to answer the question: healthy to whom?”

What is more, the data can be inconsistent in quality and quantity. The seas are vast and poorly explored, with many sections of ocean floor mapped less finely than the surface of Mars. “When you work at the global scale especially, and in the ocean particularly, there is always the issue of missing data,” Dr. Halpern said.

Yet identifying the critical gaps in local and global ocean data yields benefits for researchers, allowing them to optimize their time and resources in the future.

Efficient problem-solving seems critical at this point, given that many scientists believe that humans are currently at risk of causing a global mass marine extinction event — the sixth to take place in 600 million years.

“We hope the index will stimulate more concerted and sustained actions” on ocean issues, Dr. Katona said. “We’re trying to take an optimistic view — if we apply enough time, money and political will to these problems, we can bring them under control. We can mitigate them, probably even solve them.”