Letters to the Editor

Seaweed harvest may be illegal

Re: Deep Bay’s seaweed harvest, story by Candace Wu (A5, Jan. 23 The NEWS).

If the proponents of the seaweed harvest choose to ignore science in favour of economic advantage, would they also ignore legal advice?

The Environmental Law Centre at University of Victoria recently completed a report on the topic, “Seaweed Harvesting on Vancouver Island” (Nov.,  2013, available at www.mvihes.bc.ca). The report suggests that even with the weakened Fisheries Act, “the seaweed harvest would constitute a breach of the new section 35.”

Detached seaweed provides nutrients to the ocean environment and sea birds and the beaches where it is cast can provide spawning areas for forage fish, smelt and herring.

Rather than risk collapsing such an important link in the food chain, let’s heed the advice of the Law Centre and impose a moratorium on seaweed harvesting and licensing until the ecological impacts of the Mazzaella harvest have been identified and assessed.

It is worth remembering that the harvest at Deep Bay is a “pilot” project and, if given the green light, could well spread over the entire coast of B.C.

Faye Smith

Qualicum Beach

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