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Above: Rally and street theatre outside the offices of the DFO in downtown Vancouver calling for an end to fish farms in the Discovery Islands
From the constituency office of MP Terry Beech, to a Wild Salmon Die-in at the DFO, the Wild Salmon Action Team joined one hundred and one BC First Nations calling for the removal of fish farms from the Discovery Islands
By Rob Dainow
This September, the UCV Wild Salmon Action Team (WSAT) partnered with the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance to join a broad coalition demanding the federal government meet its promise to implement the Cohen Commission recommendation to remove fish farms from the Discovery Islands by Sept. 30, 2020.
The forecast for the 2020 Fraser River sockeye salmon return, historically one of the richest fisheries in the world, has plummeted to an alarming 300,000.
There are 18 open-net fish farms in the Discovery Islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Pathogens and sea lice from these fish farms are harming juvenile wild salmon migrating to the open ocean to mature.
Fraser River wild salmon stocks with critical migration routes through Discovery Passage are near collapse.
Sept 15, 2020: We rallied in front of the constituency office of Burnaby-North Seymour MP Terry Beech, to draw attention to his government’s promise to remove fish farms by Sept 30, 2020, from the Discovery Islands. Beech is parliamentary secretary to Bernadette Jordan the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans.
Sept 22, 2020: Press conference in North Vancouver
A coalition of one hundred and one First Nations, commercial and sports fishing organisations, wilderness tourism operators, BC businesses, and environmental NGOs demanded the federal government close salmon farms in the Discovery Islands and transition to land-based closed-containment fish farming by 2025.
Sept 24, 2020: We engaged in street theatre — a wild salmon Die-in — outside the downtown offices of the DFO, on Burrard Street, to deliver our message directly to fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan.
Excerpt from an Email sent to the Enviro Team
From: Tamiko Suzuki
Date: 19 September 2020
Subject: Street Drama Outside the DFO
How to Take Part in a
Wild Salmon Die-in Die-off
Dress in Greens or Blues to represent juvenile salmon.
We will bring paper “sea lice” to tape all over ourselves. Please arrive a bit early to get your sea lice costume ready. It would be great if you’ve made some lice beforehand and want to walk around with them on! (See photos below.)
At a designated time, while drummers and singers perform, the juvenile salmon will “swim” around them. As the music slows, the swimming slows as the sea lice weigh down and ultimately Kill the salmon and everyone dramatically will flop down on the sidewalk *dead*.
During the next song, you must lie still on the ground while artists will trace around your body as if it was a crime scene. They will be drawing the shapes of salmon, orcas, bears, wolves, as well as trees to show how important wild salmon are to biodiversity.
If you don’t like having your face on the ground, bring a scarf, small pillow, wear a hoody, or lie on your arm. For those of you who don’t want to lie on the sidewalk, you can hold signs or get bystanders to sign postcards to be sent to the Fisheries Minister.
Covid-19 Precautions: Wear a mask of course! We will have hand sanitizers, or you can bring your own. Safe distancing will be required to keep everyone safe.
Above: Tamiko in costume wearing paper sea lice cut-outs
Above: Sea Lice
Street Theatre Highlights
Wild Salmon Die-in
Outside the DFO Offices on Burrard Street
September 24, 2020
The UCV Wild Salmon Action Team is honoured to work with Eddie Gardner president of the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance, a Stó:lō Elder from the Skwah First Nation in Chilliwack BC
The Cast: Families with young children joined the action. Eddie Gardner organised “juvenile” and “adult salmon” for the street drama.
The Sound Track: Drumming and song by Sto:lo Elder Eddie Gardner and the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance
The Crime Scene: As the tempo of the drumming slowed, “wild salmon fry” weighed down by sea lice, fell to the pavement and died
Coda: Wild Salmon Lady tells her story. Tamiko names the shapes drawn around the fallen wild “salmon:” Orcas, Bears, Wolves, Eagles, trees … to illustrate the interdependence of wild salmon, forests and biodiversity
September 15, 2020
Highlights from the Action outside MP Terry Beech’s Constituency Office
Above: the Vancouver Unitarians Wild Salmon Action Team takes a stand with the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance
Above: Sto:lo elder Eddie Gardner confers with Sabra Woodsworth (a colleague of biologist Alexandra Morton). We brought our message with drumming and song to the office of Liberal MP for Burnaby-North Seymour. The rally was limited to 35 people, due to Covid-19 precautions and social distancing rules