Volcano may get credit for immense salmon run

Posted on November 2, 2010. Filed under: Environment | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


The Kasatochi volcano in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands is closer to both Russia and Japan than the Fraser River.

By Jeff Nagel – BC Local News

Fraser River fishermen may have an Alaskan volcano to thank for this summer’s supercharged sockeye salmon run that ended up being the biggest in nearly a century.

The eruption of Kasatochi, an Aleutian Island volcano, fertilized a vast area of the north Pacific Ocean by spewing out huge amounts of iron-rich ash, according to new research presented to the Cohen Commission into sockeye stocks.

It’s one of the more intriguing ideas to arise in the hearings now underway in Vancouver.

The judicial inquiry into the collapse of the 2009 sockeye run, when just over a million fish returned, has been forced to also try to make sense of why almost 30 times more sockeye came back this year.

Kasatochi’s ash fell at precisely the right time in the summer of 2008 to create huge algae and plankton blooms that provided Fraser sockeye with a tremendously rich food source, researchers told the commission.

“There was a massive increase,” Dr. David Welch testified last week. “It was a very large eruption.”

Welch tabled satellite imagery of the ash plume and the resulting plankton bloom, which he said could well be responsible for the tremendous productivity of the Fraser sockeye run that came back this year.

The run size is estimated at 34.5 million, although officials expect the final count to drop to around 29 million.

Crucially, the eruption happened just as a major storm system was pounding Kasatochi, helping disperse the ash over a wide area of the Gulf of Alaska.

The summer timing also helped – long hours of northern sunshine grew more plankton than otherwise.

And it all happened as young sockeye from the Fraser were arriving in that part of the ocean, just in time to gorge on the fish food bonanza at a critical stage of their growth.

Scientists stress there are many other factors that could have contributed to the unusual return.

But the theory is a signal this summer’s salmon bounty was likely a fluke and not a lasting rebound – volcanic eruptions can’t be counted on for consistent help.


Sockeye returning to the Adams River northeast of Kamloops.

Also at issue in the inquiry is how far fishery managers should go in trying to protect the biodiversity of Fraser sockeye – essentially whether the weakest stocks should be sacrificed if strong runs returning to certain tributaries can sustain fishing.

The commercial fleet is sometimes ordered to stop fishing to avoid endangering weak runs like Cultus Lake sockeye, which return intermingled with more abundant stocks like the Adams River run.

Rob Morley, Canadian Fishing Co. vice-president and chair of the Fisheries Council of Canada, suggested a better way to conserve Cultus sockeye might be to ban all recreational activity on the popular boating and swimming lake.

“We are under-harvesting Fraser sockeye significantly,” he told the commission.

“If the aim is to maximize all stocks, nobody would be allowed to harvest any sockeye.”

Other witnesses argued even the tiniest runs should be defended.

The Fraser River needs a “diversified portfolio” of individual sockeye runs, the inquiry heard, because no one knows for sure which stocks will be best genetically equipped to survive future environmental conditions, such as the impacts of climate change on either the ocean or inland rivers.

It’s a sensitive point for First Nations advocates, who want to ensure a supply of salmon can be caught by local bands throughout the entire watershed.

“If some of these go extinct it means a lot to our people,” said Dr. David Close, an aboriginal fisheries expert. “We have to be very careful.”

SFU salmon expert Dr. John Reynolds warned B.C.’s wild sockeye may also be increasingly in competition for food with hatchery-raised salmon from Russia and Japan that also feed in the north Pacific.

Reynolds said both countries are dramatically increasing hatchery production.

Sockeye aren’t the only fish that have been in trouble on the Fraser.

Coho salmon were in crisis in the 1990s, Close noted, prompting severe fishing restraint.

And in more recent years, he said, a once “unimaginably abundant” run of eulachon – an oily smelt-like fish harvested by First Nations – has all but vanished.

Justice Bruce Cohen, in an interim report released Friday, said this year’s “extraordinary” rebound was in contrast to the “steady and profound” decline of sockeye over the past two decades.

The commission has so far received 153 written submissions, most addressing aquaculture issues.

Hearings are scheduled until late December.

This week, current and former managers with Fisheries and Oceans Canada are testifying about the structure of the department.

Kasatochi volcano



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‘It’s ridiculously huge’: Fraser River fishermen net massive sturgeon

Posted on September 17, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

Thu Sep 16, 6:42 AM

By Susan Lazaruk

A group of sports fishermen struggling for an hour and a half to land a Fraser River sturgeon suspected it was big — but they had no idea how big until they got it to shore near Mission.

The five men took turns with the rod and 130-pound test line, spelling each other off every 10 minutes, to eventually wrangle the monster.

It measured out at almost twice the length of two of them, and outweighed three or four of them put together.

“It’s ridiculously huge,” said Warren Calderone, who works in heavy construction and lives in Abbotsford and was treating his Vancouver clients to a day of sturgeon fishing — their first time at the sport.

“The guide figured it was eight to 10 feet [while we were playing it]. He had no idea it was going to be as big as it was.”

It was so large that it took 10 grown men to hold it up for the photo shoot.

“It was so thick around the middle, you couldn’t get your arms around it,” said Calderone.

Officially, it measured 11 feet, three inches, or 3.4 metres — the length of a compact car. And it likely weighed more than 700 pounds, or 320 kilograms, based on its girth.

Calderone, Norm Young, Charles Belanger, Brad Allan — the one who hooked the fish — and guide Tom Pearce shared in the glory of the trophy during the quick catch-and-release, required for the designated “species of concern” caught on the Fraser.

“We let it go after about two minutes,” said Calderone. “And they were always splashing it with water.”

The average sturgeon is two to four feet long, although fishermen regularly catch seven- to eight-footers, according to STS Guide Services owner Vic Carrao.

This latest catch was shy of the all-time record of 11 feet, nine inches, he said.

There have been fewer than 20 sturgeon of 11 feet or more tagged since the tag-and-release program began in 1994, a program that helps monitor the growth and migration of the fish, said Carrao.

“There have been stories of 13- and 14-foot sturgeons, but I’ve never seen [evidence of] one,” he said.

White sturgeon — which can grow to 18 feet, 1,300 pounds and live 150 years — is covered with large bony plates rather than scales. It has a flattened nose, no teeth and four fleshy whisker-like projections used to detect food on river bottoms. Fossil records show they’ve remained unchanged in 175 million years.

“It’s the ugliest fish you’ll ever see,” said Calderone. “They’re just prehistoric.”

Calderone was also struck by how docile the monster was when brought to shore.

“Unlike salmon, they don’t fight themselves to death after they’re caught,” said Carrao. “They just lie there, they don’t stress themselves out. That’s why they’ve lived 200 million years.”

As fat and ugly as the prize was, it won’t stop the lucky fishermen from reliving the glory for years to come.

“We went out for lunch later and it was all we could do to wipe the smiles off our faces,” said Calderone.


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Auditor-general report slams Victoria’s failings over parks conservation

Posted on August 23, 2010. Filed under: Environment | Tags: |

Tweedsmuir Lake
Echo Lake in Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park.

While the Ministry of the Environment has a clear vision for conservation in B.C.’s parks, it is not meeting its goals, according to a new report by B.C.’s auditor-general

While the Ministry of the Environment has a clear vision for conservation in B.C.’s parks, it is not meeting its goals, according to a new report by B.C.’s auditor-general
Photograph by: Submitted photo, Tourism BC

The B.C. government is not doing enough to protect the ecology of the province’s 1,000 parks, according to a new report by B.C.’s auditor-general.

In the 23-page report, published Monday morning, John Doyle said an audit found that while Victoria had a clear vision for parks conservation, it didn’t have the plan to achieve it.

“Despite its declared intentions and clear vision to conserve the ecological integrity in these areas, the Ministry of the Environment is not meeting this goal,” said Doyle.

Conservation plans were incomplete or dated, he found. Policies were not being followed through consistently and little was being done to ensure conservation.

The audit looked at whether the environment ministry was meeting its goal of being a leader as a steward of ecological integrity, which includes protecting biodiversity and wilderness, water purification and erosion control.

The report can be viewed at www.bcauditor.com.

© Copyright (c) The Province

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/technology/Auditor+general+report+slams+Victoria+failings+over+parks+conservation/3432454/story.html#ixzz0xSc2a6Ip

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McDonalds Beef – Important Read

Posted on August 1, 2010. Filed under: Health | Tags: , |

Must read..CANADIAN Beef



I’m sure those of you who aren’t in the cattle business don’t
understand the issues here. But to those of us whose living depends on
the cattle market, selling cattle, raising the best beef possible…
This is frustrating.

This will keep us from ever stopping there again, even for a drink.

The original message is from the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association

Canadian cattle producers are very passionate about this.

McDonald’s claims that there is not enough beef in Canada to support
their restaurants. Well, we know that is not so. Our opinion is they
are looking to save money at our expense. The sad thing of it is that
the people of
Canada are the ones who made McDonald’s successful in
the first place, but we are not good enough to provide beef.

We personally are no longer eating at McDonald’s, which I am sure does
not make an impact, but if we pass this around maybe there will be an
impact felt.

Please pass it on. Just to add a note:

All Canadians that sell cattle at a livestock auction barn have to
sign a paper stating that we do NOT EVER feed our cattle any part of
another animal. South Americans are not required to do this as of yet.

McDonald’s has announced that they are going to start importing much
of their beef from South America . The problem is that South
Americans aren’t under the same regulations as Canadian beef
producers, and the regulations they have are loosely controlled.

They can spray numerous pesticides on their pastures that have been
banned here at home because of residues found in the beef. They can
also use various hormones and growth regulators that we can’t. The
Canadian public needs to be aware of this problem and that they may be
putting themselves at risk from now on by eating at good old

Canadian ranchers raise the highest quality beef in the world and this
is what Canadians deserve to eat. Not beef from countries where
quality is loosely controlled. Therefore, I am proposing a boycott of
McDonald’s until they see the light.

I’m sorry but everything is not always about the bottom line, and when
it comes to jeopardizing my family’s health, that is where I draw the

I am sending this note to about thirty people. If each of you send it
to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300) … and those 300 send it to at l
east ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000) … and so on, by the time the
message reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached
over THREE MILLION consumers!

I’ll bet you didn’t think you and I had that much potential, did you?
Acting together we can make a difference. If this makes sense to you,
please pass this message on.

Larry Latam
Sylvia Van Oene R.N.
Occupational Health Services (HSD)
XL Foods Inc.
Lakeside Packers Brooks , AB.

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New Buddhist monastery opens in Richmond

Posted on July 26, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

The new Thrangu Monastery was officially opened on Sunday, July 25, 2010.

The new Thrangu Monastery was officially opened on Sunday, July 25, 2010.

Photograph by: Ward Perrin, PNG

Struck by the light reflected from the 13-foot golden-plated Shakyamuni Buddha, one might think they were resting in an isolated shrine in the hills of Nepal. Actually, it’s the new Thrangu Monastery in Richmond, the first of its kind outside Asia according to its builders.

The Thrangu Monastery will be home to seven monks and lamas from Nepal, here to guide local practitioners on the path to peace and enlightenment, said Thrangu Vajra Vidhya Buddhist Association spokesperson Lyle Weinstein.

At Sunday’s opening ceremony, attended by worldwide Thrangu Monastery leader Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, monks and lamas performed special rituals and unveiled the focal point of the monastery’s shrine, the 13-foot gold-plated Shakyamuni Buddha. The central Buddha is flanked by 35 smaller Buddhas of confession and 1,000 medicine Buddhas that offer protection from illness and danger, spokesperson Laurie Cooper said.

Cooper said the statues and artwork in the new shrine were created by lamas — high-level monks who go through incredibly rigorous training.

While it takes almost eight years to become a Buddhist monk, to get to the next level, a lama must go into complete isolation for three years, three months and three days, meditating in a tiny box for 24 hours a day, only exiting for meal and washroom breaks, Cooper explained.

Weinstein said from July 27 to Aug. 1, there will be a series of teachings by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, called “The Jewel Ornament of Liberation.”

Resident monks and lamas will guide practitioners on short and long-term retreats, and non-Buddhists are welcome to visit the shrine, Weinstein said.

The Thrangu Monastery is located at 8140 No. 5 Road in Richmond.

© Copyright (c) The Province

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The Story of One – Memories of the Residential Schools

Posted on June 30, 2010. Filed under: Everything Else | Tags: , |


Today at 7:21am


A little note was found between two wooden boards in the walls of the structure in the 1960s…
It was dated 1882, and looked as if it was written by a little girl… It read:

‘Where do I start, in writing my story?
Who cares, anyway? Who is listening?
I feel as though I am shouting in an empty room.
I feel confused, bewildered, and lost in this world I did not create.

Sitting here on my cold bed, I notice I am getting really good at English and my writing skills are improving, but why is my Culture being erased from my mind?
Why am I being told I cannot speak my Mi’gmaq language? Why am I beaten when I am caught?
Why have I been ripped away from my family? I cannot see my mother’s face that good anymore…
And I cannot pronounce my brother’s name anymore. Is this what Creator wishes?

Why are they roughing us up and treating us like we are no good?
We aren’t being taught – this is not a ‘school’ – no, it is a prison
and the sisters and the director of the school are all having fun and eating well.
They look like they enjoy beating us and mistreating us, and I know that this is happening in other places, too… I hear people talk about it sometimes.

I am watching all this, as I sit on my cold bed hungry and sick.
It is freezing in here, they don’t even put the heat on very much…
I am not sure what I have. Tuberculosis is all around me, my friends,
brothers and sisters, cough all night, some have even died without even being looked after.
My best friend died just ten days ago, they let him cough and bleed himself to death.

I don’t understand.

What is it with ‘me’ that they find ‘savage’, ‘uncivilized’ and ‘barbarous’?
Why is my Culture being replaced like this, and by those ‘white-eye’ that break everything?
Why was I poured salt on, and then called a ‘christian’ and given a new name?
Is mine not good enough? And why am I being made to be ashamed of who I am?

Will you please pray for me?
Help us, please, and let this all come out into the Light, it has to.
I am only 13. My name is Sho-na-ka, the one who prays for others.
Is anyone ever going to know what really happened to us all?’

Memories of The Carlisle Industrial School (Residential School for Indians)


For information on the ‘school’, go to:
or: http://home.epix.net/~landis/histry.html

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