Sablefish Aquaculture Operation "Obscene"
Georgia Strait Alliance, press release, Wednesday May 19,
VICTORIA-The development of a unique and sensitive ecosystem
and the disinterring of First Nations ancestral remains are
at the centre of a challenge mounted against an aquaculture
facility at Walker Hook on Saltspring Island. An eleven-day
hearing into the matter by an Environmental Appeal Board panel
concluded today in Victoria.
Local residents, First Nations elders and fishery organizations
are challenging Sablefin Hatcheries' plan to operate a sablefish
aquaculture hatchery and inject effluent into the nearby sand
tombolo. The province has issued a permit and several bodies
have been unearthed.
"This is an extremely special place, identified by the government's
own Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory as comprising three rare
ecosystem types," said Donna Martin of Saltspring Residents
for Responsible Land Use. "The salt marsh wetland, sparsely
vegetated ecosystem and coastal bluff/woodland complex make
up less than 2% of the sensitive ecosystems in the entire
"Putting an industrial fish farm hatchery on this sensitive
land and discharging its waste into the marine environment
is an ecological abomination," said Georgia Strait Alliance's
Peter Ronald, "but using a fish farm as an excuse to disturb
a native burial ground is simply obscene."
The Penelakut First Nation is seeking to protect their burial
site, an area of vital historic and cultural significance.
"This area has long been identified as needing protection
and is an ideal candidate for the Southern Strait of Georgia
National Marine Conservation Area, which will be established
in the coming years," said Ronald. "We must not lose this
significant cultural site nor its sensitive environmental
The panel's decision is expected sometime this summer or
For more information:
Peter Ronald, Marine Habitat Program Coordinator - Georgia
Strait Alliance: 250-381-8321
Donna Martin, Saltspring Residents for Responsible Land