A bit of a potential insight into the process for open net-cage site applications for some of those impacted or interested in the process... The Province of BC, through Pat Bell's office (the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands) is currently the responsible department that quarterbacks the application through the other regulatory agencies - and is responsible for developing the site application process. Once the applicant fills-out the applicable forms and deposits the fees, the BCMAL reviews the application and sends it on to other departments (DFO, EC, BCE, etc). Ultimately, the application ends-up at DFO, often where ex-fish farmers review the CEAA application. What you say? How did that happen? Well, you need to look at the history of the Office of the Commissioner for Aquaculture Development (OCAD), CEAA, and the moratorium that was lifted in 2003 By John van Dongen. BC lifted the moratorium in 2003 without consulting the appropriate federal departments in 2003, after fish farm companies contributed to many newly-elected BC liberal ministers, incl. van Dongen. It caught many departments, including Coast Guard, by surprise. Before the moratorium was lifted, nobody had to worry about the regulatory process too much. Once the moratorium was lifted, Coast Guard got nervous about their liabilities through the Navigable Waters Protection Act (their mandate), and declared that since physical structures were a navigation hazard, the new site applications now had to go through a Canadian Environmental Assessment (CEA). How this was now to develop was anybodies guess, and so the applications were held-up, which got the fish farming companies irate. The BC Salmon Farmers Association applied pressure to Bastion - the Commissioner for Aquaculture Development. Who is this, you say? Yves Bastien was appointed (and not hired through a competitive process) Commissioner for Aquaculture Development on December 17, 1998 in response to the federal Liberal Party’s 1994 election platform document: "Securing our Future Together", which stated that improved support for the aquaculture industry from the federal government and its agencies would foster more rapid growth of the industry. Yves has sat on various boards of directors, including the Aquaculture Association of Canada (AAC), the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA), and the World Aquaculture Society (WAS). Since then, and in response to the political pressure from the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association - the Office of the Commissioner for Aquaculture Development (OCAD) reassigned (in 2003) 14 federal staff, including BC MAFF and industry funded biologists to review and fast-track the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) applications for the impending net-cage expansion. http://www.johncummins.ca/news/jc2004-04-02b.htm Is this an issue? Is there a conflict of interest? Under section 61(2) of the CEA Act, the Federal Minister of the Environment is responsible for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEA) and the referrals, but the Commissioner for Aquaculture Development is now in charge of the aquaculture net-cage site applications and has dictated that the applications should go through a screening process only, which then omits mandatory public involvement and scoping (determining geographic boundaries of impacts) during the assessment process. This is a particularly relevant question since OCAD’s mandate (http://www.ocad-bcda.gc.ca/emandate.html#Background) states that OCAD will promote the interests of the industry by development of more supportive and pro-active policies for aquaculture and enhanced leadership for aquaculture initiatives within government. This would appear to be a conflict of interest, and incompatible with the intent of the CEA Act. Additionally, the Commissioner for Aquaculture Development is part of the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans, while the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act is under the responsibility of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, which is part of the Ministry of the Environment. How did the Commissioner for Aquaculture Development legally assume responsibility for the CEAA referrals? Was a “Memoranda of Understanding” (MOU) signed between the two federal departments giving one jurisdiction over the other responsibilities? If an MOU exists, who signed it (e.g. Deputy Minister?), and what were the reasons given for the departmental change? Then there are serious issues with the siting process itself. It is basically a sham. The current site applications do not identify things such as larger oceanographic patterns of water circulation, or smolt migration patterns. Scotland not only accepts sea lice transfer to wild stocks as a reality - but uses Canadian modeling technology (i.e. Saucier et al.) to model sea lice plumes and oceanographic circulation patterns in Scotland. So, obviously there has been Canadian scientists within DFO working with Scottish scientists trying to grapple with the problem, there. Yet DFO still denies it is a problem here, back in Canada. Instead site applications only look at effects that are within an arbitrary and scientifically indefensible 1 km radius. This speaks to the lack of scope and small scale included in the assessment process, both of which are inappropriate given the wide scope and large scale of potential impacts. The assumption for the 1 km radius is presumably that fish only swim 1 km, or maybe fish are most experienced with the metric system, verse the standard English system. The reality is that many inland salmon smolts swim tens, if not hundreds of km downstream to the ocean, and potentially circulate thousands of km first South to North along the coast, then out to the Alaska gyre, and back again along the same route. The reality is if scoping was included, it would have to be accepted that fish do swim - that they swim more than 1km, and that they swim into Alaska waters. This means that CEAA open net-cage applications would then be bumped into the highest CEAA process - the panel review, due to transboundary effects - and the Alaskans would then be invited to participate on the board. Alaska - where open net-cage Atlantic salmon aquaculture is illegal. Anyone wish to add anything in this thread?