Regional Profile: Nanaimo and Strait of Georgia

Michelle Young, Georgia Strait Alliance & CAAR

Community Area:

Strait of Georgia, North to Gunner Point, including the Discovery Islands; South to the American border.

Coast Mobilization Team Member Profile:

Michelle Young, Salmon Aquaculture Campaigner, Georgia Strait Alliance, & CAAR, Salmon Farming Campaign.

Michelle’s involvement in fish farming came from her upbringing in the Broughton Archipelago, where the negative impacts from fish farms first came to light in B.C. Over the years, she became increasingly involved by volunteering for the Georgia Strait Alliance, ultimately leading to her decision to change her career as a Chartered Accountant to work in the environmental sector. Michelle’s accounting background has provided her with valuable experience in working with local, regional and First Nations governments and non-profit organizations. It has also fostered a strong interest in the economic viability of Closed Containment Salmon Farming. Michelle lives on the ocean on Vancouver Island in Bowser, B.C, at the edge of the Georgia Strait. If you would like more information, or to become involved, contact Michelle by email or by calling Georgia Strait Alliance’s office at (250) 753-3459.

Current Issues, Projects & Programs in the Region:

In the course of investigating the issues and impacts of open net pen salmon farming, Michelle has been fortunate to get out on the water to observe the impacts for herself, both in the Discovery Island area of the northern Georgia Strait, and the Broughton Archipelago. She has witnessed the devastating effects of sea lice on juvenile salmon and learned about the many scientific studies, both published and in progress. Having previously gained her knowledge about salmon farming primarily through research, it was very powerful for Michelle to actually witness sea lice infected juvenile salmon with her own eyes, which has strengthened her resolve towards finding a solution.

Working towards a solution, Michelle and other Coast Mobilization Team members are currently touring a presentation, ‘Closing in on Sustainable Salmon Farming’, around Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and Lower Mainland. The presentation explores Closed Containment as a viable option to open net pen salmon farming, and looks at the impacts that can be addressed by this emerging technology. After hearing this presentation, the Tofino Chamber of Commerce voted to take the position that the BC government should create a $10 million dollar Closed Containment Research and Development Fund , and the presentation has also led to similar resolutions by the Strathcona Regional District and the Village of Sayward. Watch for upcoming presentations in your community.

Michelle has been engaging people in coastal communities around the Strait of Georgia who are concerned about fish farming in their local waters, mobilizing support for the B.C. government to fund closed containment research, gathering signatories to CAAR’s various petitions, and resisting expansion of the industry in the Georgia Strait. People who spend time around the fish farms are engaged in our Eyes and Ears program, which greatly expands our knowledge of what’s happening at the fish farms. Michelle looks forward to your involvement and to meeting you around the Strait of Georgia!