Supreme Court Justice Cohen Speaks - Mitigation Must Not Be Delayed

Supreme Court Justice Cohen Speaks – Mitigation Must Not Be Delayed

“If we don’t make a stand in British Columbia… 100 years from now we might have very few salmon. Mitigation measures should not be delayed in the absence of scientific certainty!” – Justice Cohen.

I thank Justice Cohen for his work and presentation of the fact that the plight of the Sockeye salmon, which for decades have been sent to sea in ever increasing numbers only to return in ever fewer numbers, is a serious crisis. This is true for most species of Salmon. We agree something must be done without delay and we are proud of our village which is working to develop and deliver practical, affordable, and timely solutions.

Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen was appointed to lead the inquiry by Prime Minister Stephen Harper after only 1.4 million of the highly prized salmon returned to spawn in 2009, a tiny fraction of what were expected. Justice Cohen held months of hearings, collected more than three million pages of documents and heard from 179 witnesses in leading the $26-million inquiry which has taken more than two years to complete. In parallel the Village of Old Massett has been at work on its hopeful solution to the BC Salmon crisis, has spent much more time, but has used a fraction of the Cohen commission budget to introduce and begin research and development of the most likely solution.

Our village project expects our mitigation strategy and technology to lead to restoration of the ocean pastures upon which the salmon of the Fraser River, and countless other British Columbia watersheds, graze and grow to maturity. The fact that salmon put on less than 5% of their body mass while in fresh water and over 95% on their ocean pastures is the reason d’etre for the village work. Spokespersons for the village have stated we’ve got to do something to try to learn how to bring the fish back.

Monday’s announcement by the Federal government that it is making massive cuts of salmon biologists in British Columbia, for reasons good or bad, leaves a void regarding who will be the ocean stewards for the salmon of the Old Massett Haida and the Province. As Justice Cohen clearly states, “Mitigation measure should not be delayed in the absence of scientific certainty!” The Village of Old Massett , through its company the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, and their legitimate research and development work that will lead to just such mitigation measures is today powerfully affirmed by justice Cohen as the right thing to do. Read the Sockeye/Cohen report here….