Correcting the correction

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In a letter titled “Column full or errors” (May 25), one would expect the letter not to contain errors. Unfortunately this is not the case for letter writer John Gibson. Mr. Gibson is quick to “correct” Trevor Taylor and suggest that Mr. Taylor did not “read up” on the subject of salmon farming. I would suggest that Mr. Gibson listen to his own advice.

It is incorrect for Mr. Gibson to state that sea lice from salmon farms in British Columbia “has been blamed as a major reason for the collapse of sockeye runs on the Fraser River in B.C.”

In fact, Justice Bruce Cohen, who headed the recent $26 million Fraser River sockeye inquiry, concluded that “I am satisfied that sea lice acting alone did not cause the decline of Fraser River sockeye, but sea lice acting in combination with factors such as other pathogens or increasing water temperature may have contributed to the decline.” (Final Report, Volume 2, page 114.)

Justice Cohen also stated “…data presented during this inquiry did not show that salmon farms were having a significant negative impact on Fraser River sockeye” (final report, Volume 3, page 24).

Perhaps Mr. Gibson has a different definition of “major reason” than the rest of us. His error is, however, a major reason why readers may want to think critically about the rest of Mr. Gibson’s “facts.”


Ian Roberts

Campbell River, B.C.

Geographic location: Fraser River, British Columbia, Ian RobertsCampbell River

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Recent comments

  • James
    June 05, 2013 - 13:47

    When Justice Cohen said that the data did not show a significant impact, I took that as meaning that all means available were unable to quantify it. If it is too small to measure, or does not stand out from all other impacts, it must be either very small - insignificant, or non-existent. It does not mean that the assumption that it must be happening is true and the professionals who have spent considerable time researching the issue have missed a "significant impact" simply because the issue is (in the minds of some) "unresolved". The profession of the letter writer also has no bearing on the validity of the facts presented. Regardless of the source data must be weighed on its own merit, you don't see salmon farmers simply dismissing work presented by the likes of Morton and Krkosek - they actually take the time to show people where it is wrong - or, in a few instances where it may be right. That is how science works. Justice Cohen took the time to weigh all evidence presented during the commission and although there was a high level of fear and speculation acknowledged - the lack of evidence showing any measurable impacts from all data collected was clear.

  • fish tailer
    June 04, 2013 - 20:37

    This is Atlantic salmon, not that old pacific stuff that lives in warmer waters on the other side of the country and in the garbage from coming over across the ocean. Nice try though Ian but we've seen trev in action before.

  • Gordon
    June 04, 2013 - 10:26

    Roberts says that "data...did not show that salmon farms were having a significant impact on" wild salmon. In other words, the issue is unresolved and the salmon feedlots may well be having a significant impact on wild salmon. The precautionary principle would have us err on the side of caution and not place these massive, overcrowded feedlots in wild fish habitat. This salmon feedlot industry should be moved into land-based facilities where waste and disease can be better controlled. One cannot help but get the impression that DFO has given up on trying to protect wild fish.

  • steve
    June 04, 2013 - 07:25

    Just googled this letter writer. He is a salmon farmer from BC. He has a financial vested interest. John Gibson is retired, and has no financial interest at play in this issue.