Plastic debris contaminates and degrades our shoreline habitats

Every year, Denman Islanders collect 4 to 5 tons of plastic debris from the island's beaches. The debris is concentrated on the western shore, which faces Baynes Sound, where shellfish aquaculture operations are at their most intense in the region.

Over 90% of all plastic debris collected is from the shellfish growing industry. Though it is a multi-million dollar economic sector on the BC coast, this industry has not found a way to consistently manage its plastic equipment and gear.

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Anti-predator netting degrades key habitat for birds and salmon

Netting and thick layers of oysters (grow-out) from the shellfish industry cover over 56% of feeding grounds of the diving ducks which overwinter in Baynes Sound.

Netting covers the estuaries of salmon bearing streams, degrading key habitat for salmon fry as they transition from fresh to salt water. Installing netting in these areas causes serious harm to fish, and is contrary to Section 35 of the Fisheries Act. However, this industrial practice has been permitted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

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Vehicles damage beaches and salt marshes

Driving on the beach by shellfish growers accessing their tenures has compacted the layers of sediment and disrupted our salt marshes.

Over time, this damage has greatly reduced the reproductive success of shore spawning forage fish like surf smelt and Pacific sand lance.

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Channelizing streams damages salmon spawning habitats

Salmon bearing streams have been channelized to protect shellfish tenures, making these streams inhospitable to salmon and their fry, as well as to invertebrates which feed the salmon.

Channelizing streams causes serious harm to fish, and is contrary to Section 35 of the Fisheries Act. However, this industrial practice has been permitted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

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Microplastics contamination threatens all marine creatures

Microplastics contamination is a severe problem worldwide, and threatens the well-being of every marine creature, from the tiniest zooplankton to the largest whale. Our local waters receive microplastics through septic seepage, storm drain runoff, ocean currents, and plastic equipment from the shellfish industry.

Baynes Sound is the nursery for freshly hatched herring larvae. Their long-term survival - and the survival of all marine species - relies on keeping the sources of microplastics out of the water.

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Altering natural beach formations threatens biodiversity in the intertidal zone

Species like the plain fin midshipman rely on the boulders in the intertidal zone for nesting habitat. These species are threatened when natural beach formations are altered to make way for aquaculture installations.

Moon-snails, starfish, and crabs are viewed as predators to clams and oysters, and are routinely destroyed by shellfish industry workers.

These practices degrade marine biodiversity over long stretches of intertidal habitat in Baynes Sound, and deprive many species of essential spawning or foraging grounds.

We advocate for protection of Baynes Sound, Lambert Channel and surrounding waters.

Together, these waters are identified as an Ecologically and Biologically Significant Area. We pursue positive actions that show respect for and commitment to our marine ecosystem as a whole. We recognize that all life, including our own, depends on our oceans flourishing.

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