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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Way I Sea It" Contest: Preparing for the Journey

Next week, I have the great privilege to sail through the magical Broughton Archipelago. Your votes for my blog post about how my life veered off the highway to Whangamata and led to a career in ocean conservation helped me win the Way I Sea It contest and for that I am so grateful.

Where is the Broughton Archipelago?

The Broughton Archipelago is a group of islands and islets off the north east coast of Vancouver Island. It’s part of Great Bear Rainforest and is home to an abundant diversity of wildlife on the land, coast and sea. My trip will leave from Port McNeill on the north east coast of Vancouver Island and meander through the ocean area rich in orcas, dolphins, fish, seabirds and colourful intertidal critters.


Sea lice in paradise?

This ecological gem has also been at the centre of the debate around whether sea lice from salmon farms affects the health of the wild salmon that migrate past these farms. The Broughton is speckled with open net fish farms, where high densities of salmon are raised in nets in the ocean. Their waste, pests and diseases pass freely through the nets into the surrounding sea, and can infect wild salmon populations. Much research has emerged that shows wherever there are net pen salmon farms in the world, sea lice levels on wild salmon are higher and their populations are decreasing at a faster rate than in adjacent areas where there are no salmon farms.

What is federal government is trying to hide?

As I prepare to sail past these fish farms, what has really piqued my interest in the health of our wild salmon is the recent muzzling of a federal government scientist. Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientist Kristi Miller had been researching the link between sockeye salmon mortality and a novel viral infection. After her research got published in ‘Science”, the federal government stopped her from speaking to the media.

What does it mean to the Canadian public when government scientists are muzzled?

A judicial inquiry is currently underway to get to the bottom of the decline of the Fraser River sockeye salmon populations and Dr. Miller will be testifying next week when the Cohen Commission turns its focus to disease and aquaculture. The hearings are open to the public at the BC Courts in Vancouver, so I’m going to go hear what she has to say. I expect to have some interesting insights to take with me on the sailing trip.

What do you want to hear about?

I’m looking forward to sharing my sailing experience with you. I will be taking lots of photos and videos and will be working them into a blog post and a Google Earth tour. I am interested in what you’re interested in hearing about. Please let me know by answering this one multiple-choice question here.

Just knowing I’m going to spend a week with the whales, birds, fish and stars of the Broughton Archipelago has me bursting with creativity and inspiration. Check out some of my marine-inspired art here.

I look forward to sharing the experience with you.
Follow me on twitter @feeltheflow and stay tuned on Living Oceans Society’s Facebook and Twitter feeds and their newsletter.

Jodi Stark is a guest writer for WaterBlogged. She is the winner of the Whales and Totems sailing trip of a lifetime with Maple Leaf Adventures. She’ll be sharing her experiences, as well as plenty of photos and videos, right here on this blog throughout her journey in September. Be sure to tune in again!

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