The following is from a commentary on the release of the Cohen Report issued by the Georgia Straight Alliance:
“The recommendations of the Cohen Inquiry into the Decline of Fraser River Sockeye released in Vancouver on Oct 31, 2012, make clear that though there was no ‘smoking gun’, there are multiple threats that need to be addressed to ensure the long-term health of the Fraser River sockeye. In 75 broad-ranging and specific recommendations, Commissioner Cohen gave the federal government an action blueprint, ranging from the long-overdue implementation of the Wild Salmon policy to actions to ensure that the risk from open net-cage salmon farms are minimized.
“Even though the Commissioner acknowledges the complexity of the stressors on these salmon, his recommendations are strong and identify key actions that the federal government needs to take,” says Christianne Wilhelmson, Executive Director, Georgia Strait Alliance. “Overall, we are pleased that the Commissioner heard the evidence before him, and that he clearly highlighted what needs to be done to protect salmon in BC.”
“The Commissioner was critical of DFO’s role as promoter of salmon farms while it is also responsible for protection of wild salmon, and recommends that the responsibility for promoting aquaculture be moved to another agency. He also made clear that the Wild Salmon Policy and Habitat Policy (1986) must be implemented fully. Currently no one is responsible for their implementation and this must change.
Between November 2009 and December 2011, the Cohen Commission held public hearings into the decline of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River. The intention of the recommendations was to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Fraser River Sockeye.