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Cohen Commission to begin evidentiary hearings October 25

The Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River will begin evidentiary hearings on Monday, October 25.

According to a news release posted on the Commission's website:

Hearings will run primarily Mondays through Thursdays and are scheduled from 10 am to 12:30 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm each day. These hearings are open to the public and will be held at the Federal Court at 701 West Georgia Street, 8th floor. Evidentiary hearings will run through mid- December, and continue in the new year.

As topic and witness schedules are subject to change, media and the public are advised to consult the calendar on the commission’s website, which will be updated regularly. Transcripts of each day’s hearings, along with evidence presented at the inquiry that day, will be posted on the commission’s website as soon as possible, likely within about 10-14 days.

Currently, topics scheduled for the first two weeks are: Fraser River Sockeye life cycle; Perspectives on the Aboriginal and treaty rights framework underlying the Fraser River sockeye salmon fishery; Conservation, sustainability and stewardship; and DFO’s organizational structure.

Meanwhile, biologist Alexandra Morton and about sixty others are paddling down the Fraser en route to the Commission hearings. On her blog, Morton described the first day's paddle and urged supporters to meet the canoes at Vanier Park at 9:00 a.m. on the 25th.

Morton also mentioned a news release posted on October 20 on the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association website, asserting that salmon farms are "well-managed and sustainable." That release said, in part:

The message from anti-salmon farm activists during a recent campaign oversimplifies a complex situation. It ignores any effects rising water temperatures, failed plankton blooms, extraordinary algae blooms, logging, mining, development in watershed areas, fisheries and fisheries management or other issues have on the life-cycle of BC's salmon. All of these items are on the list of things Justice Bruce Cohen will be investigating.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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