Letters to the Editor

Seaweed damage unknown

I had to laugh at the article in The NEWS (March 6) about the seaweed harvest in Bowser/Deep Bay (‘Misconceptions tackled’).

Right from the onset is one invalid statement after another and nowhere in the entire article is a single misconception made known, let alone addressed and tackled as the title of the article suggests.

Jason Rose says this area is his home and he wants to make his living here. No one has any qualms about that, but this supposed economic opportunity of harvesting beach wrack should not come with risks to diminish others from making their living in established sustainable sectors of fisheries, tourism and food production.

This professed opportunity is exploitation at its very worst because while the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture issued permits it neglected to conduct research regarding detrimental impacts to forage fish and its role in producing healthy Pacific salmon stocks, fails to quantify economic losses from impacts coming from this perceived “opportunity” and it also appears that government is doing little or no on-site monitoring of the number and size of the vehicles on the beach.

It is also important to acknowledge that the targeted seaweed is not the only organism to be removed from the beach.

Recent collapses of some important fisheries in Atlantic Canada have created a strong public concern regarding management policies for wrack harvesting. Consequently, a precautionary approach has been urged for these resources. In some Atlantic areas harvesting with vehicles on the beach is prohibited, but rather by boat to lessen the harm.

A statement by Rose appears to attempt justification of the harvest by saying it is not as environmentally damaging in comparison to the oil industry, but as the historical proverb teaches, two wrongs have never made a right.

Ronda Murdock

Parksville

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