Last November, I asked Minister Heyman about Tavish Campbell’s widely shared videos of blood water effluent being pumped into the Salish Sea. Through heckling I asked the Minister to audit every fish processing plant in the province. He agreed and today the troublesome results of that review were made public.
The Fish Processing Compliance Audit found that the majority of processing operations were non-compliant with regulatory standards and that the permits were outdated to begin with. Some facilities were exceeding their allowable discharge rates and releasing bloodwater that was “acutely lethal” to fish when tested by government.
Government has a duty to protect the public interest, and like last week’s professional reliance report demonstrated, we have a long way to go to restore the public’s trust in government to do so. The resources that our environment, health, and economy rely on need to be managed sustainably with sufficient oversight and accountability. The Fish Processing Compliance Audit results provide yet another example of the harmful consequences of mismanagement. This is why I am urging government to adopt the ministry’s recommendations following this audit, in addition to Mark Haddock’s recommendations for reforming the professional reliance model in British Columbia. Now that we know the results of these reports it is essential that action is taken.
You can also read the text of the B.C. Green caucus’ response to the fish processing compliance audit below.
B.C. GREEN CAUCUS
For immediate release
July 4, 2018
Findings of fish processing compliance audit show need for reform: B.C. Green caucus
VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Green Caucus is calling on government to step up marine monitoring and protection in the wake of an audit of fish processing facilities. Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, says the report shows a disturbing pattern of widespread mismanagement by the previous B.C. Liberal government that must be addressed.
“Between ICBC, money laundering, the housing crisis and a litany of environmental disasters, it’s increasingly clear that the previous government badly mismanaged our province,” said Weaver. “Government has a responsibility to ensure the public interest by proactively updating laws and regulations to fit changing realities. Instead, the previous government left British Columbians with mounting debts while they pillaged the public books and turned a blind eye to harmful activities. We have taken significant steps to remedy this, including banning big money and reforming the lobbying industry, but we must take every opportunity in this minority government to clean up B.C. to prevent such blatant misuse of power.”
Sonia Furstenau, environment spokesperson, added that the findings show why government should adopt Mark Haddock’s recommendations to reform the professional reliance model.
“As the previous government cut the funding needed to fulfill government’s duty to protect the public interest, they saddled our province with completely avoidable messes,” said Furstenau. “Many British Columbians were horrified, like I was, to see Tavish Campbell’s videos of blood water effluent that prompted this audit. It is no wonder people don’t trust the process when we must rely on private citizens and the media to bring such serious issues to light. Adopting Mark Haddock’s recommendations – and the ministry’s recommendations following this audit – will go a long way to restoring the public’s trust that government is looking out for their health and safety, as well as the long-term sustainability of our natural resource sector.”
Adam Olsen, spokesperson for agriculture, said the findings underscore the litany of threats facing B.C.’s wild salmon and added the release of infected blood from farmed fish is another reason why the government should keep its promise to transition away from open-net pen finfish aquaculture.
“Wild salmon are culturally, economically and environmentally essential to our province, yet we are allowing them to be hit at every stage of their development,” said Olsen. “Now we learn they have also been exposed to ‘acutely lethal’ levels of effluent.”
DFO’s 2018 salmon outlook for B.C. states that of 91 different groupings of salmon, only 28 are expected to be at or above the amount necessary for a healthy population.
“This is absolutely unacceptable – we can and we must do better if we want our grandchildren to live in a province with wild salmon,” added Olsen.
Jillian Oliver, Press Secretary
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