• Book review: Not On My Watch, by Alexandra Morton


    This book (available here) was written by a remarkable and courageous woman, Alexandra Morton of Echo Bay, British Columbia. It has 335 pages (not including notes), but it took me a long time to get through it. That’s because it contains several stories. Two of them are Morton’s personal history, and the picture she gives of life in the remote coastal communities of British Columbia. It’s something that most people who have spent most of their lives in Vancouver and Kelowna know nothing about.

    Mostly, though, it’s the story of her battle against salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago off northern Vancouver Island. It began in 1989, and didn’t end until February, 2023.

    Things started to get serious in 2001, when large numbers of wild salmon were infected sea lice. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, because of massive sea lice infestations in Scotland and Norway. Two years later, Morton and other scientists (including one from the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans [DFO]) observed massive die-offs of pink salmon. In 2009, there was a collapse in the Fraser River sockeye salmon return. As time went on, Morton and her allies observed fish that were blind, had tumours, and were missing their lower jaws. In 2013, pink salmon and chinook turned up that were yellow all the way through.

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  • Roberts Bank Terminal 2 opposition demands answers from governments on expansion: Environmentalists, communities, and unions stand together

    Roberts Bank Terminal 2

    June 14, 2023 press conference highlights government’s weak reasoning to sacrifice wildlife and ecosystems in the name of jobs and economy, based on false justifications and incomplete facts

    VANCOUVER / UNCEDED xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh AND səlilwətaɬ TERRITORIES —
    Labour, community, and environmental groups have come together in a united front against the
    controversial Roberts Bank Terminal 2 (RBT2) expansion project, holding a press conference
    this morning at Crab Park. With the federal government’s recent approval and the decision now
    resting with the B.C. government, these groups are determined to halt the project, citing its
    detrimental impacts on wildlife, the environment and job security.

    Today’s press conference was organized and endorsed by 13 organizations including the BC
    General Employees’ Union, International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Georgia Strait
    Alliance and the Wilderness Committee.

    One major concern workers and unions raise is the threat of widespread automation in the
    sector. Representatives of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union say that RBT2 will
    reduce family-supporting jobs as existing terminals will be forced to automate to compete with
    the fully automated RBT2. They emphasize the need for jobs that do not come at the expense
    of the ecosystems that sustain us.

    Speakers from environmental organizations at the press conference highlighted the project’s
    impacts on migratory birds, southern resident killer whales (SRKW), and chinook salmon. These
    species, already facing significant challenges, will be further endangered by the expansion. The
    project’s environmental consequences exist despite the inclusion of 377 lacklustre mitigation
    measures and are deemed unacceptable by the opposition groups. Moreover, concerns have
    been raised about the consultation process.

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