Seeing is Believing

A personal understanding of the places we are trying to protect is requisite for working as a Raincoaster. In this spirit, members of our salmon aquaculture team climbed aboard the SV Achiever last month and embarked on a journey of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Under the wing of Alexandra Morton, we skirted the shores of Tribune Channel in the Broughton Archipelago collecting “loners” – juvenile salmon bristling with lice that are flailing on the surface.  It felt like we were collecting casualties in the wake of a bloody battle.

To the north, Ian McAllister took us by boat to the Ocean Falls Atlantic salmon hatchery near Bella Bella, that is embroiled in legal challenges with the Heiltsuk. Large green tanks chock full of Atlantic salmon now cover what was barren ground just one year ago. This hatchery could grow to be the largest in North America, supplying 20-30 salmon farms in BC’s Great Bear Rainforest and bringing with it the risk of disease, waste, and escapes into the local ecosystem.

After a day of sampling, we rounded the entrance to Mussel Inlet and entered the magical scene on the cover of Raincoast’s Great Bear Rainforest book.  Tiny rainstorms sent thousand-foot trickles down steep granite faces.  Patches of snow skirted the edges of a lovely estuary where two grizzly bears were munching on sedges and roots.  It was clear that they call this place home.

Lastly, we visit the Nutreco Kitasoo Aquafarms salmon tenures near Klemtu.  Nutreco and Pan Fish (owners of the Ocean Falls hatchery) are set to dramatically expand salmon farming in the Great Bear Rainforest.  Pan Fish has identified 19 salmon farm sites they will be applying for on the north coast near the Skeena River.  BC’s Liberals lifted the moratorium in 2002 and have promised to double the number of farms in the next decade.  There are currently 132 salmon farm tenures in British Columbia.

Raincoast and others are fighting to support solutions that will reform the salmon farm industry. Visit for more information and to get active!

Theresa Rothenbush
Salmon Aquaculture Specialist
June 2, 2004
From Bella Bella, BC

Help us protect KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest

Together with Pender Islands Conservancy, we are raising funds to purchase and permanently protect a 45 acre forested property on the edge of the Salish Sea. The KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest is located within the Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) biogeoclimatic zone, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in Canada. It is also among the most threatened in Canada. Protecting these forests is an investment in our collective future.

We’ve just announced a donation matching campaign to support the purchase and permanent protection of KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest. Every dollar donated before December 31, 2022 will be matched by anonymous donors. This is a chance for you to double your impact!