Friends of the Richelieu. A river. A passion.

"Tout cedit pays est fort uny, remply de forests, vignes & noyers. Aucuns Chrestiens n'estoient encores parvenus jusques en cedit lieu, que nous, qui eusmes assez de peine à monter le riviere à la rame. " Samuel de Champlain

"All this region is very level and full of forests, vines and butternut trees. No Christian has ever visited this land and we had all the misery of the world trying to paddle the river upstream." Samuel de Champlain

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Les Premières Nations veulent protéger les poissons

Les Premières Nations de la Colombie-Britannique en ont assez de l'inertie des gouvernements et veulent protéger les stocks sauvages de saumons du Pacifique contre les ravages des élevages de poissons industriels. Ils se sont présentés à la Cour Suprême de C.-B. et veulent un recour collectif contre le gouvernement provincial et fédéral.

Ils se plaignent depuis des décennies de la pollution générée par les élevages de poissons: les produits chimiques utilisés par ces élevages et les maladies pourraient se transmettre aux 230 espèces de saumons sauvages indigènes de la région.

La bataille juridique se jouera probablement entre témoins-experts qui tenteront d'invalider les preuves apportées par le parti opposé.

Il y a plus de 2 douzaines de sites d'élevage dans l'océan dans la région de Broughton et presque 230 populations de saumons sauvages passent par là pour se diriger vers 59 rivières dans la province. Si les élevages étaient transférés dans des contenants fermés, les compagnies de poissons taieraient 99% des opposants à leurs pratiques. À la place, les élevages déversent des tonnes d'excréments en plus des pesticides, des antibiotiques et la nourriture dans l'environnement.

Plus au nord, en Alaska, deux villages de Premières Nations ont gagné une bataille contre une mine de zinc qui pollue la rivière Wulik depuis 2 décennies. Cette rivière leur fournit de l'eau potable et des poissons, et l'EPA voulait allouer plus de cyanide, de zinc, du sélénium et du plomb déversés par la mine qui a déjà reçu des avis d'infractions et des mises en demeure pour avoir dépassé ce que le permis actuel lui permet. Les Premières Nations insisistent sur l'illégalité de l'EPA de relâcher ses critères pour légaliser les infractions de la mine Red Dog.
"Fish farms lawsuit sought by B.C. natives

Several First Nations from British Columbia's Broughton Archipelago have embarked on a court battle against the federal and provincial governments over fish farms. The bands were in B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday, seeking to certify a class-action lawsuit against the provincial and federal governments.

The legal battle comes after decades of inaction, said First Nations spokesman Chief Bob Chamberlin. Natives in the archipelago, on the west side of the Queen Charlotte Strait on the central coast of B.C., have long worried about the environmental impacts of fish farms. They fear the effects of the chemicals used on the farms and that the farmed fish will spread disease to the almost 230 different wild salmon stocks native to the region.

"We've pounded our head against the wall for years," Chamberlin said of the frustration in getting both governments to listen to their concerns.The court fight could last a decade, but he said the bands weren't getting any action through other avenues. "I don't think the fish can wait that long. That's why we've chosen the class-action route to get it in front of the courts as quickly as possible."

But even before the class-action certification process began Tuesday, a lawyer for the federal government challenged the scientific research presented by the First Nations in an attempt to pre-empt any further hearings."This will be about a battle of experts," Camp told the court. The hearing is expected to last nine days.

There are more than two dozen aquaculture sites in the ocean around the Broughton area and almost 230 different populations of wild salmon swim past the farms on their way to 59 rivers in B.C.

Chamberlin said they're especially concerned about what's being poured into the environment by these farms. A chemical called Slice is used to kill sea lice on the farmed fish, antibiotics are fed to the fish, and then there's the food and feces that also goes into the water shared with wild stock."Tonnes and tonnes of it. It's not some innocuous little amount, and that's getting introduced into our environment," Chamberlin said. "It's an off-loading of the responsibilities that these companies have."

Opponents of fish farms have had some success in the courts in their long fight against the industry.The B.C. Supreme Court ruled last year the federal government, not the province, should regulate fish farms because it had constitutional powers over the ocean.But unlike B.C.'s forestry, mining and fishing industries, Chamberlin said fish farming hasn't changed with the times, and continues to pollute B.C.'s waters. "If they moved to closed containment, they would silence 99 per cent of the critics. Why is it they won't do it," he asked.

Last last year the federal government gave a B.C. Supreme Court judge unlimited powers to find out why the Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery collapsed in 2009."

Excerpts from a Canadian Press article here:

Up north, in Alaska:

"Natives in two villages have won a battle against the world's largest zinc mine over a permit they said would have polluted a fish stream that provides food and drinking water. The Native villages of Kivalina and Point Hope challenged the Red Dog Mine's new water-pollution-discharge permit, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn features of the permit of concern to the villagers. The federal permit would have allowed more cyanide, zinc, selenium, lead and total dissolved solids into the Wulik River than is currently allowed, villagers said.

Red Dog has struggled with its water discharges since starting up two decades ago. The mine has routinely violated some criteria within its federal water-pollution-discharge permit, resulting in fines and lawsuits. The new permit would legalize the discharges that have been problematic. The Native villages say it's illegal for the EPA to relax the mine's previous permit."

Excerpts from an article written by By Mary Pemberton from The Associated Press, here:

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