Letter of Solidarity with Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Eviction of Fish Farms

Eddie Gardner President, Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance

From: Eddie Gardner [mailto:singingbear@telus.net]
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 10:31 AM
Subject: Letter of Solidarity with Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Eviction of Fish Farms


Hi All,


Your assistance in circulating this to the mass media would be greatly appreciated.  We are encouraging others to send messages of support and solidarity with Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw to Dominic LeBlanc as Chief Michelle Lee Edwards did.


All the best,







Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance

#213 -    46693 Yale road

Chilliwack, BC

V2P 7Z4  

Telephone: 604-792-0867


September 22, 2016


The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc

Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

House of Commons

Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 0A6


Dear Minister,


Subject: Solidarity with Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Eviction of Fish Farms


We are disappointed you have not yet responded to the legitimate concerns we raised in our July 17, 2016 letter to you regarding the irresponsible and reckless decision to approve long-term leases to ocean fish farms.  Since then, you continue to approve the expansion of this industry on the Pacific coast, disregarding First Nations opposition to open net fish farms, as well as the valid concerns of scientists, environmentalists and many British Columbians.


Over the last 29 years, Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw and First Nations along the Fraser and Thompson riversheds feared that, as Justice Cohen warned, fish farms may cause serious or irreversible harm to wild salmon.  Evidence is piling up revealing that fish farms are polluting the marine environment, amplifying sea lice, and releasing dangerous levels of viruses and bacteria. The scientific evidence is growing – fish farms threaten to bring wild salmon to extinction.  The Conservative government under Harper turned a deaf ear to the people, and trashed the Cohen Commission report. 


The Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw may have held hope that the Liberal government would honour a true nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous people, and use scientific evidence and the precautionary principle when making decisions affecting fish stocks and ecosystem management. The Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Nation have never given their consent to have fish farms in their territory, nor have they ever signed an agreement with Marine Harvest or any of the salmon farmers that have operated or continue to operate in their territory. They have long opposed fish farms in their territory as these fish farms threaten wild salmon, local clam beds, and do harm to the herring and oolichans that swim near or through the open nets to become food fish for farmed salmon. It is extremely disappointing that the Liberal government has not intervened to rectify this situation, particularly given the precipitous decline of wild salmon stocks.  It appears as though the government accepts the loss of wild salmon and other species as collateral damage, and the generously subsidized ocean aquaculture industry is getting a free ride.


It is now abundantly clear that your Liberal government is continuing the legacy of the Harper government by supporting reckless expansion of ocean fish farms at the expense of wild salmon and other marine life.  Given this backdrop, we understand why Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw are exercising their own governmental authority by issuing their eviction notice to Marine Harvest and Cermaq to remove all their fish farms from their territory.  There is a groundswell of support for the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw who are united in their determination to have fish farms removed from their territory.


The Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance is in full solidarity with Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, and we urge you to meet with them at your earliest possibility to review how the Liberal government can remove salmon farms from their territory. 


We await your response to this letter.  Please note these issues cannot be ignored.  They will not go away until those fish farms are removed from Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw territory. 


Sincerely yours,


[Original signed]


Eddie Gardner

President, Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance


Cell: 604-316-2607

Home: 604-792-0867


CC           Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw

                First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance

                Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance

                Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs

                First Nations Leadership Council

                Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council

                Stó:lõ Tribal Council; Stó:lõ Nation

                Skwah First Nation, Chief and Council

                Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation

                B.C. Assembly of First Nations

                Shuswap Nation Tribal Council

                Sekw’el’was Chief and Council

                Musqueam First Nation Chief and Council

                Squamish First Nation Chief and Council

Tseil Waututh First Nation Chief and Council

Cheam First Nation Chief and Council

Sts’ailes Chief and Council

Nathan Cullen, NDP; Fin Donnelly, NDP

Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada

Namgis First Nation

Sea Shepherd Society