Food & Drink » Glenda Bartosh on Food

Black and blue all over

Our seven seas need more friends than ever

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Today, I'm feeling a little black and blue.

As I write this, it's Black Monday. Across Canada – 13,000 websites have gone black in protest of the federal government's sweeping Bill C-38.

This dark Trojan horse disguised as a budget bill will make such draconian changes to Canada's environmental and social justice landscape it has everyone from scientists to Anglican bishops to former federal fisheries ministers as outraged as the 13,000 groups and agencies draping a black curtain over their public windows.

It has so incensed not one but four former federal Fisheries and Oceans ministers of both Liberal and Conservative stripes — Tom Siddon, David Anderson, John Fraser, and Herb Dhaliwal, all privy councillors in B.C. and all righteous men in my books for speaking out — that in last Saturday's Globe and Mail they jointly penned an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper decrying the changes to the Fisheries Act that Bill C-38 will bring as it effectively ends the protection of fish habitat.

That put them in concert with 600 Canadian scientists who have also urged the prime minister and his henchmen to "abandon this initiative [BillC-38] as it is currently drafted" because changing the law "would be a most unwise action, which would jeopardize many important fish stocks and the lakes, estuaries and rivers that support them."

For those fortunate enough to live in B.C., the iconic question is: how do we have healthy wild salmon populations, or steelhead populations, or any number of fish populations (groundfish like red snapper account for more commercial fishing than our great salmon) if we don't protect the health of the waters they live in?

All this on the eve of Blue Thursday, June 8, World Oceans Day — a day when we're meant to celebrate and appreciate our beautiful blue oceans, the legendary Seven Seas that, since the beginning of time, have captured our collective human imagination and, more important, have kept us alive with their bounty.

In 2010 alone, more than two billion meals of B.C. seafood alone were served to people around the world hungry for their "brain food".

With commercial fishing the fourth biggest economic driver in the province and Canada on the verge of entering a Dark Age for our fishe, it's doubly, triply, maybe even quadruply important to make this World Oceans Day a platinum-plated, parade-studded, symphonic and sonic salute to the watery side of Planet Earth.

Make that Planet Ocean, as more and more scientists are suggesting since the world's great oceans cover more than 70 per cent of the planet. They contain 97 per cent of the world's water and most of the world's fish, which, according to a report in the U.S. National Library, constitute the most important source of quality protein for people worldwide.

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