End The Silence: ACT Now on Cohen

As another annual migration of Fraser River sockeye salmon is about to begin, the federal government has done nothing to implement the Cohen recommendations that would help ensure their survival.

The federal government invested $26 million dollars in to the Cohen Commission judicial inquiry into the 2009 collapse of BC’s iconic Fraser River sockeye. After hearing from close to 200 witnesses, including scientists renowned as experts in their field, Justice Bruce Cohen made 75 specific recommendations designed to ensure a future for wild salmon. While unable to point to a single ‘smoking gun’ as the sole reason for the stock crash, Cohen concluded that the potential harm posed to wild sockeye by open net-pen salmon farms is “serious or irreversible”. Justice Cohen’s final report was tabled in October, 2012. To date, the federal government has failed to respond publicly to, or commit to act on any of his recommendations.

While the Cohen Inquiry’s focus was on Fraser River sockeye, many of the recommendations apply equally across our country. The implementation of the Wild Salmon Policy, for instance, will benefit wild salmon everywhere in Canada.

CAAR and our East Coast allies, Atlantic Coalition for Aquaculture Reform (ACAR) ask the questions:

  • Will the federal government implement Justice Cohen’s recommendations and if so, when?
  • Will they place a moratorium on new farms and halt the expansion of existing net-pen operations?
  • Will they relieve DFO of the political mandate to promote aquaculture and market farmed salmon and instruct the department to focus on their primary mandate to protect wild stocks?
  • Will this government take action to support and facilitate the development of closed containment salmon farming in Canada?
  • Will our federal government do anything, anything at all, to ensure wild salmon and all marine life still exist for our children’s children?

It’s time for Ottawa to break the silence. It’s time for answers.

Wild salmon spawning in British Columbia. Photo: Olga N. Vasik/iStockphotos


It’s time for DFO to act! Demand an answer to the question: “What is DFO doing?” by doing two simple steps:

1. Send a message Prime Minister Harper.


2. Call your federal MP today.

Canada’s wild salmon from Coast to Coast thanks you.