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PACIFIC WILD JOURNAL Dispatches from a Northern Rainforest WINTER 2019-2020 1

The Tipping Point Building momentum for conservation success, powered by people like you. 2019 has been a year of momentum for Pacific Wild. We have grown as an organization and as our impact is being felt from deep in the rainforest to the offshore seamounts of the Great Bear Rainforest, I am proud of our team at Pacific Wild as we continue to lead the way for wildlife protection on the Pacific Coast. Pacific Wild is unique in the world of environmental organizations because our funding support comes almost entirely from you—our individual donors. Our conservation successes would simply not be possible if we were not supported by so many like-minded citizens from around the world who share our love for the wild places and wildlife of Western Canada. For that I thank you. Because of your support we have been able to stop the grizzly bear trophy hunt, relentlessly advocate for strict marine protected areas and old-growth rainforest protection, and continue to push the boundaries and inspire people around the world to join us in conserving this coast.

In July the Pacific Wild field team traveled to one of the world’s most unique ecosystems, the wild salmonfilled rivers of Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, where a record year saw a return of 56 million salmon.




From Singapore to The Hague, the award-winning We have some ambitious plans to tackle the biodiGreat Bear Rainforest IMAX film is being viewed in versity crisis that befalls our part of the world: theatres around the world. Over 100,000 people in Over the next year we will be increasing our Victoria alone have watched the film over the last efforts to highlight the wild salmon crisis our coast five months. We continue to leverage this massive is witnessing. Salmon stocks throughout the Great education base into conservation action. Bear Rainforest are in a state of collapse and the Our marine conservation Canadian government is ignorwork is building as we advocate for ing the evidence. Pushing DFO "I was fortunate to not only higher numbers, but higher to reinstate funding into salmon standards of Marine Protected Areas monitoring programs, which be first introduced (MPAs). Our on-the-ground—and inform all salmon management to the Great Bear underwater—knowledge makes us decisions, is a cornerstone of our key stakeholders in provincial and wild salmon campaign. Rainforest about federal discussions around what groundbreaking work 30 years ago, when to endOur the Northern Shelf Bioregion MPA the herring kill fishery network will look like, and we are what I thought was continues to gather momentum committed to ensuring our marine as we make the critical connecgoing to be a oneenvironment gets the levels of tion between protecting herring week exploratory protection it deserves. stocks and saving endangered B.C. is in dire need of resalmon and killer whales in the trip turned into a vamping its wildlife management Salish Sea. 30-year journey." policies to better respect wildlife as In the absence of frontsentient beings and critical drivers line work by our team, First — Ian McAllister of ecosystem function. We continue Nation communities and to advocate for better management other place-based organizations, policies and stronger enforcement, not the least of change will never come on its own from our federal which is our critical work to end the wolf cull in B.C. and provincial governments. Our decision makers are held captive by industry and are paralyzed to reverse our biodiversity crisis on their own. Our greatest hope is building a stronger informed and motivated public citizenry, and I believe that is what Pacific Wild does best—through our fieldwork, the high standards of our visuals, and our long-term commitment to this coast. Sincerely,

Ian McAllister Executive Director Photo: Deirdre Leowinata


2019 Celebrations & Achievements

JANUARY COAST-WIDE HYDROPHONE NETWORK EXPANDS Pacific Wild expands our whale work by partnering with neighbouring independent research organizations to quantify how the ocean soundscape is changing. The project is a collaboration amongst Pacific Wild, SIMRES, Pacific Orca Society, North Coast Cetacean Society, in partnership with the Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’ xais and the Gitga’at First Nation.

MARCH A BRAND NEW LOOK Pacific Wild launches a full redesign of , the online base for our digital advocacy tools and visual communication efforts. Our new site offers intuitive usability, featuring dynamic photo, video and design assets to raise awareness and inspire collective action across our campaigns.

FEBRUARY GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST IMAX UNVEILED TO THE WORLD After three years in production, the Great Bear Rainforest IMAX premieres in Vancouver, Victoria, and Toronto, and rolls out to international venues to recordbreaking crowds and rave reviews.



Pacific Wild sets in motion a community-powered hub, the call , for our most ardent wolf-loving supporters. There is no cost to join to swap stories, experiences, facts and ideas around our shared mission to fight for wolves’ right to live.


THERE’S A BAN ON TROPHY HUNTING, NOW WHAT? Exactly one year after a ban on hunting grizzly bears came into effect April 2018, B.C. had a record high number of human-bear conflicts. Pacific Wild releases a new mini-film series at savebcbears. org about the issues bears continue to face in 2019.


Photo: Deirdre Leowinata

Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, finally becomes law, banning oil supertankers from the Great Bear Rainforest.

HERRING IN THE MEDIA Between January and May, Pacific Wild hits the herring grounds and brings the story of herring to people around the world. International media focuses on the unsustainable commercial herring roe fishery in the Strait of Georgia—the last of its kind on the coast.

LAUNCH OF MARINE PROTECTION EDUCATION HUB On World Oceans Day Pacific Wild releases , a new marine protection education hub that highlights marine life and cultures along the Central and North Coast of British Columbia & Haida Gwaii. Explore the beauty of our Pacific coastline and its rich waters, while learning about the policy decisions being made by diverse stakeholders to protect and steward our ocean for future generations.



CELEBRATING CREEKWALKERS Pacific Wild launches our wild salmon campaign, highlighting the work of charter patrolmen and other creekwalkers—our only window to the health of wild salmon populations.



COASTAL COMMUNITIES COME TOGETHER IN HISTORIC HERRING EVENT Pacific Wild, W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council, Conservancy Hornby Island and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society co-host HELIT TŦE SȽOṈ,ET (Let the Herring Live), a forum for First Nations and conservation groups to develop recovery strategies for Salish Sea herring.

Be an important part of our work into 2020 and beyond by contributing to our efforts to protect wildlife and their habitat in the Great Bear Rainforest. Your support is what makes our work possible and it is due to individuals like yourself that our conservation efforts can make an impact.

SEPTEMBER BIG AWARDS FOR A GREAT BIG FILM Now open in over 40 theatres around the world, the Great Bear Rainforest IMAX wins Best Cinematography and Best Engaging Youth Film at the Giant Screen Cinema Association and Jackson Wild Film Festival awards, as it continues its international release.

JULY WOLF COMMUNITY REACHES HALF A MILLION STRONG TWO EPIC EXPEDITIONS The Pacific Wild field team travels to two of the world’s most unique ecosystems— the wild salmon-filled rivers of Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, where a record year saw a return of 56 million salmon, and the peak of the SGaan Kinghlas-Bowie Seamount MPA, an underwater volcano 110 miles west of Haida Gwaii. Underwater Photo: Deirdre Leowinata

Pacific Wild draws over 500,000 people to help combat a recently-leaked internal document revealing the B.C. government's intentions to expand the wolf cull program, targeting 80% of wolf populations in some areas.


Save B.C. Wolves Wolves need a voice, not a bullet. In 2015, citing the need to protect endangered southern mountain caribou herds, the B.C. government launched one of the largest wolf culls in recent history, against the recommendations of independent scientists. Over 700 wolves have now been killed over the last five winters (2015-2019), with a kill rate as high as 97% in some areas. However, the government's own data shows that habitat loss is the greatest threat to caribou, not wolves. Earlier this year, the B.C. government announced a renewal of the experimental wolf kill program. An internal document further revealed their intentions to significantly expand the program this winter, targeting 80% of wolf populations in parts of the interior while spending an additional three million tax dollars on the cull over the next two years. Currently, the B.C. government kills nearly 200 wolves per year (on average) by aerial gunning from helicopters, trapping (including the use of neck snares), and collaring “Judas” wolves.

a “judas” wolf is a cruel practice where an individual animal is collared to betray the location of other pack members. The wolf is then kept alive for repeated persecution year after year so government aerial snipers can follow it to more wolves.

Through our #SaveBCwolves advocacy efforts, the protection and conservation of our wolves will always be a top priority for Pacific Wild. This year saw the release of our new community-powered hub, "The Call", bringing together our most committed advocates and defenders of B.C. wolves who believe wolves need a voice, not a bullet. 6

Campaign Summary 500,000



petition signatures to #SaveBCwolves

letters sent to the B.C. government opposing the cull

members in The Call, our global network of wolf advocates

Featured this summer by its technology provider, Mighty Networks, as one of their fastest growing and thriving communities. To join The Call or learn more visit

5 Years of the Wolf Cull 2015

Governments continue to scapegoat wolves while green-lighting widespread destruction of critical old-growth caribou habitat.


Despite considerable public opposition and against the recommendations of independent scientists, the B.C. government launches a multi-year wolf kill program as part of an ill-conceived plan to save endangered southern mountain caribou herds.

International superstar Miley Cyrus travels to the Great Bear Rainforest with Pacific Wild to speak out against the war on wolves, garnering international scrutiny and condemnation.

An affidavit that is part of the Province’s response to Pacific Wild and Valhalla Wilderness Society’s petition for judicial review of the legality of the wolf cull program is released: the B.C. government admits there is not enough intact habitat left for endangered caribou herds.

2018 Caribou disappear completely from the contiguous United States—and the B.C. government is to blame. Scientists criticize the province’s “new” Draft Caribou Recovery Program for ignoring the role of logging, mining, and oil and gas activities in caribou decline.

The B.C. government proposes to increase the trapping of coastal wolves on Vancouver Island, genetically-distinct from inland grey wolves, to 10 months out of the year. The proposal states that they are basing the decision on anecdotal information and not on science or any reliable data.

2017 The government-sanctioned wolf kill program is expanded and individuals in all known wolf packs within the treatment area are radio-collared, referred to as “Judas” wolves, so that when they rejoin their family every member can be killed.

Nine Canadian provinces and territories fail to meet a five-year federal protection deadline to release their range plans in order to conserve caribou populations and protect critical caribou habitat from industrial activities.

2019 A renewal of the five year wolf cull is proposed in the 2019 bilateral draft agreement between the governments of B.C. and Canada, while the Province turns a blind eye to rogue “wolf-killing contests” being held in the interior.

B.C.’s southern mountain caribou populations are listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act as the B.C. government issues industrial logging permits in critical caribou habitat and proposes to kill more than 80% of wolf populations in certain areas, commencing the winter of 2019/2020.

Check out the complete wolf cull timeline at wolf-cull-timeline


#BigLittleFish Another industrial herring fishery has come and gone, and with it, the opportunity to protect the foundation of the B.C. coast.

Haida Gwaii c lo sed



West Coast V.I. c lo sed

the strait of georgia is the last herring population in B.C. jeopardized by unsustainable sac roe fisheries. In the last three decades, the four other populations crashed—and despite years of little fishing—have not recovered.



Central Coast c lo sed



Prince Rupert c lo se d


Thanks to generous supporters like you, Pacific Wild was able to join Conservancy Hornby Island and the Association for Denman Island Marine Stewards on the Salish Sea herring grounds in March to document the last major industrial herring fishery left on the coast. Together, we brought herring to the attention of people around the world —and to the floor of the House of Commons. This year, the seine and gillnet fleets removed more than 15,000 tons of herring from the Strait of Georgia. Like 2018, large herring were hard to find. It took days for the boats to catch what they once would have caught in minutes, indicating herring’s decline on our coast. In 20 years, we’ve witnessed herring populations collapse in Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Central Coast, and West Coast of Vancouver Island management areas. The Strait of Georgia is the last area open to the industrial roe fishery. Collapse has serious consequences. Herring feed countless species on our coast, including imperiled Chinook salmon, which feed the hungry Southern Resident Killer Whales. Coastal First Nations have lost access to important traditional foods and cultural practices. Meanwhile, the roe fishery is appallingly wasteful: the carcasses (up to 88% of the catch) are reduced into meal and oil to feed farmed Atlantic salmon. Meanwhile, herring roe (only 12% of the catch) is declining in value, earning fishers a fraction of what they made three decades ago. In 2020, Pacific Wild will continue our fight against herring mismanagement and this destructive fishery, working alongside numerous collaborators. Join us in protecting this #BigLittleFish!


Georgia Straight op en

The quota for the 2019 Strait of Georgia roe fishery was 21,493 tons. That’s about 130 million herring which is enough to feed 100 humpback whales for an entire summer, or between 400,000 and 900,000 10-lb Chinook salmon for a year.

bubblenet feeding is a complex cooperative


This spring, Pacific Wild collaborated with conservation leaders to oppose the wasteful commercial herring roe fishery in the Strait of Georgia.

feeding method used by groups of humpback whales to corral small fish like herring. Herring are important food sources to humpbacks and myriad coastal species from salmon to seabirds, and even plants that grow on beaches near spawning sites. A complete collapse of herring populations would cause ecosystem-wide changes.


Ocean Oasis The biodiversity and productivity of the North and Central Coast and Haida Gwaii makes this place a unique home for thousands of species. Are we keeping our promise to protect them?

Underwater photos: Ian McAllister takes a rare look at the top of the 9000 foot peak of the SGaan Kinghlas-Bowie Seamount MPA, a submerged volcano 180 km west of Haida Gwaii, shows that MPA’s really work. First established as a pilot in 1998, a co-management plan was completed for the federally protected area by the Haida Nation and the federal government in July. Underwater Photos: Deirdre Leowinata


In 2019, Canada’s federal government finally banned industrial activity in new federal Marine Protected Areas—an essential step towards the minimum standards that these conservation areas need to succeed. Although Canada has now ostensibly protected 10% of its jurisdictional waters, few of those existing protected areas are completely off-limits to shipping or extractive activities (like fishing and mining) and many have no dedicated enforcement. However, MPA network designation processes are underway in 13 Canadian regions, including the waters of the Northern Shelf Bioregion, encompassing B.C.’s North and Central Coasts and Haida Gwaii. This summer our team travelled to the ecologically and biologically significant SGaan Kinghlas-Bowie Seamount MPA, an underwater volcano 110 miles from the west coast of Haida Gwaii that is protected from all fishing activity. Looking forward to 2020, Pacific Wild will build on our long-standing participation in marine spatial planning in this region by continuing to represent the conservation community and advocate for minimum standards and real protection for the species and places we love. To learn more about marine conservation activities in the waters of the Great Bear Rainforest, visit our new online marine protection education hub at


There’s A Ban On Trophy Hunting— Now What? One year after the ban on grizzly bear trophy hunting came into effect, Pacific Wild’s Conservation Policy Analyst, Bryce Casavant, looks at how B.C.’s grizzly bears are faring. “They’re everywhere!” “The population is exploding!” “I’ve never seen so many before!” “They are even coming to Vancouver Island now!” The quotes above are a small sample of what I have heard about grizzly bears in the past 24 months. One main argument which appears to underpin many observations like the ones quoted above is, “the grizzly bear population has exploded since the trophy hunt ended in 2017.” In support of this contention, individuals offer up accounts of grizzly bears swimming to Vancouver Island, an increase in rural and urban conflicts with grizzly bears, and anecdotal information regarding an increase in sightings. In many cases, this argument is quickly followed by a call to reopen grizzly bear hunting in the name of “safety”. But everything is not what it appears to be. In today’s age of instant gratification and fast food media, we often forget the all too recent past and our own history. So, let’s pause for a moment and take a step back. Grizzly bears have been hunted for over 100 years in B.C. and have now been extirpated from many parts of its historic range. Current population estimates are a mere 6,000 province-wide – down from 35,000 in the early 1900s. While we will never know the true number of grizzlies killed in the last century, we do know that trophy hunting accounts for approximately 87% of grizzly bear deaths, with over 12,000 killed by trophy hunters since 1975. Approximately 30% of those 12,000 have been female—which is concerning for one of the slowest reproducing land mammals in North America. In 2017, the Auditor General of British Columbia released a damning report which found, among other things, serious concerns with the province’s management of grizzly bears, including resource extraction in critical 12

habitat and an absent inventory and monitoring strategy. That same year, after two decades of dedicated advocacy and scientific work by First Nations, organizations, and over 78,880 petition signatures and 7,063 letters sent to the government from Pacific Wild supporters, the B.C. Government announced a full and total ban on the grizzly bear trophy hunt. So did the trophy hunt bring about a grizzly population explosion? Simply put—NO! In a nutshell, what we are seeing is population dispersion not population inflation. Large bears have been dipping their toes on and off the islands in search of food for a long time. Remains of a bear that was roughly 1.5 times bigger than the grizzly bear, the giant short-faced bear (Arctodus simus), have been found in caves on Vancouver Island, providing some insight into the historical ranges of large bears in B.C. and their ability to swim and relocate for food and habitat. But today it’s not as simple—because it’s disappearing there too. We are seeing this historic shift in bear distribution because their traditional habitat is being destroyed and wild salmon, their most important food supply is collapsing. These bears are simply searching for productive habitat. Unlike the last ice age, this modern climate crisis is human caused. When we think about the bear and its behaviour, we need to think about ourselves and our own. Survival for man and beast is a twoway street. After two decades of fighting, this is why our team continues to advocate for grizzly bears in B.C.


April 2019 to July 2019, the Conservation Officer Service killed 249 bears and sent 31 cubs to rehab.


Habitat Destruction

Human Conflict

Declining Salmon Stocks

To look back on the trophy hunt and stay up to date on B.C.’s grizzlies visit



Where Have All the Salmon Gone? Vanishing Programs, Vanishing Fish In just the past 15 years, DFO fundDoug Stewart recalls a time when salmon ing for salmon escapement programs “return in such massive numbers that they has been cut by over 60%. Today Stan push their way into any and all trickles of Hutchings is the last Charter Patrolman fresh water, with creeks filling to the point in Area 6—an area of over 10,000 square that they pile up against, and even ascend miles and approximately 150 spawning cascades and falls that smaller returns streams. Last year Stan counted just over would not normally attempt.” 50 of those streams— Doug’s first year "We need more people and walked almost as a contract Fisheries 700km, in his 44th Charter Patrolman for to understand that the contract year. wild salmon was 1977. For needed numbers of “Without people the next 40 years he monsalmon to sustain the in the field, no one itored the stocks of B.C.’s stocks needs to be like will know if this recent Fishing Area 6 by walking the days when carrier decline is a trend or the rivers and creeks not until it is too late to counting fish, evaluating pigeons blacked out change management stream conditions and the sun as they passed practices to try and halt timing, and overseeing overhead.” that decline,” says Doug. commercial catches. — doug stewart, On July 25th, Over those years, dfo charter patrolman, 2018, B.C. Areas DirecDoug bore witness to 1977-2016 tors sent a joint letter to the degradation of wild salmon programs on the coast. He and the regional science director and division manager with concerns that “implementother Patrolmen watched their contract ing core salmon assessment programs days erode, the number of colleagues they [was] no longer achievable at current had on the water diminish, and DFO’s eyes levels [of funding].” on the ground all but disappear. 14

Above Creekwalker photos: Stan Hutchings and Doug Stewart were the last two Fisheries charter patrolmen in Area 6, monitoring salmon together since the 1970s. After Doug retired, DFO did not replace him, leaving Stan the Area of over 10,000 square miles. Photos: Moyna Macilroy

When Doug’s knees forced him to retire in 2016 from the strain of hiking 10-17 hours a day, he was never acknowledged or replaced. He turned 73 last summer, and continues to walk the creeks of B.C.’s north and central coasts—at his own pace. Today, First Nations, academic groups, and organizations are trying to fill the gaping hole left by DFO funding cuts. Despite hundreds of millions of federal dollars announced for wild salmon recovery, DFO is still not investing in the most basic and most critical step: Monitoring. Charter Patrolmen and other creekwalkers are our only connection to the health and status of wild salmon. After what has been the most dismal year on record for salmon on this coast, it’s time to reinvest. Follow along in 2020 as we continue to share stories of creekwalkers like Doug and Stan, and help us tell our government to count salmon—because #SalmonCount.

The Great Bear Rainforest Agreement Revealing the Clearcut Truth Our work was founded by protecting rainforests. In 2016, the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement promised to be “Canada’s gift to the world” ushering in a new era of forest management. The final multi-stakeholder land use agreement, described as ecosystem-based management, or “EBM”, was meant to manage human activities (ie. logging) within the area with a priority to protect its ecological and cultural integrity. Before the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements almost all of the low elevation productive rainforest was threatened with clearcut logging. Today we have managed to protect a representative sample of rainforest river valleys but they are isolated and lack enough connectivity to protect species over time. It is clear that with the massive network of new roads and clearcuts occuring in the Great Bear that Ecosystem Based Management has not proven itself an adequate surrogate for a higher level of rainforest protection. When you fly over the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) today, new roads are being punched into the last enclaves of rainforest and clearcuts are expanding at a rapid pace. The sheer volume of rainforest that is being cut leaves one to wonder why EBM is causing more harm than protection.

knight inlet, 2019. One of the areas where EBM falls short lies in the difference between a “productive” forest and a “non-productive” forest. High-elevation regions, or “non-productive” areas of the GBR, support less biodiversity, have smaller trees, and are more expensive to log than lower valley bottoms. Lower elevation areas with large old growth trees and high biodiversity are referred to as “productive forests” but it is here that the vast majority of clearcut logging is taking place. Industry and government defend the rate of logging in these biologically productive forests by pointing to the overall percentage of protection, not the actual quality.

four lakes, Recent investigations king island, 2019 into forestry management show government departments at the core of the province’s most harmful logging practices, and in the Great Bear Rainforest the province continues to claim protection while allowing the unsustainable logging of critical wildlife habitat and sensitive old growth rainforest. The cumulative impacts that old growth logging has within the GBR, and the lack of independent monitoring and compliance of EBM standards need to be brought to the public forefront again. Ensuring transparent planning, monitoring, and review of activities is essential to the success of forest management. In 2021, our province has another opportunity to improve forestry standards within the Great Bear Rainforest—a place that should be cherished as a rich intact coastal temperate rainforest, and the last of its kind. In the midst of a biodiversity crisis driven by human impacts, our country’s climate targets should be reflected in all regional management schemes, including the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement and other forestry management plans to protect a minimum 50% of the planet’s land base. 15

an excerpt from

“Nathan E Stewart” A poem about a diesel spill in Heiltsuk Territory written by Megan Humchitt, Councillor for the Heiltsuk Tribal Council

I closed my eyes, Listened for the song of our ancestors. The pound and crash of waves kept time, Swells rolled Beneath my feet, Reminding me That the ocean breathes, Holds for us An endless bounty. Have you heard her song? The stench of diesel fills my lungs, Constricts my throat. I can barely breathe. I am paralyzed, Witness To our nightmare in the flesh. Can you feel the chaos ensuing? I look to the others, Abject disbelief shining in their eyes, Tears Raining down faces Leaks out of the twisted hull

A Marine Victory More Than 40 Years In The Making Bill C-48 came down to the wire: passed by just three votes, on the second-to-last day of this year’s parliamentary session. If the government had delayed any longer, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act would never have become law. After two years in parliament, including three readings in the Senate, Bill C-48 received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019. The new legislation bans oil tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tonnes of crude and persistent oils from the waters of the Great Bear Rainforest. The fight for the Act included months of Senate Committee hearings across Canada and relentless lobbying by the oil and gas industry. But First Nations and coastal communities have been orga-

nizing against the movement of crude oil through B.C.’s central and north coasts for more than four decades. Like the defeat of Enbridge Northern Gateway, the passing of this law took a thousand diverse acts of resistance, all along the coast. Our work to protect the waters of the Great Bear Rainforest isn’t over. The Oil Tanker Moratorium Act does not apply to tankers carrying liquid natural gas (LNG) or refined oil, or to articulated tug barges like the Nathan E. Stewart, which spilled 110,000 litres of diesel fuel, heavy oils, and other pollutants when it ran aground in Heiltsuk territory in 2016. We will continue to work alongside First Nations, communities and environmental groups to protect this coast from dangerous fuel shipments.

The Long Road to the Tanker Ban

Feel the ocean’s breath Become laboured gasps As the diesel consumes her. Can we save her? My eyes strain towards the shore Scan the horizon Leagues and leagues of memories Fear envelopes My heart has fallen Broken on the rocks Scattered pieces


Voluntary Tanker Exclusion Zone (TEZ) pushes US tankers offshore


Tankers banned informally from Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound

Life Will you ever be the same? ‘Resources’ you call them I call them lifeblood. Family Ties that bind us Heart and soul 16

2010 MARCH

Coastal First Nations ban oil tankers on B.C.’s North Coast

2010 MAY

Enbridge submits Northern Gateway application


Harper government approves Northern Gateway

The Next Fight to Protect Coastal Communities From Spills: Reforming Canada’s Marine Liability Act Marilyn Slett, Chief Councillor of the Heiltsuk Nation, whose territory encompasses 16,658 square kilometres of land and water on the Central Coast, outlines the modernization of Canada’s MLA and the importance of including coastal communities who bear the risks of shipping traffic. As we celebrate the hard fought passage of Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, we must remember that the fight to protect our coastal communities from the threat of spills continues. One front, on which the Heiltsuk Nation finds itself fighting, is the reformation of Canada’s Marine Liability Act, the premises of which are older than the ships that first brought European explorers to the shores of Heiltsuk territory in the late 1700s. Canada adopted its liability limitations without consulting or considering us. As such, liability laws were not designed with a view to claims for compensation based on Aboriginal rights and title under Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, or other expected norms of compensation. Despite Canada’s pride in its “world class” oil-spill response, we have learned that the pursuit of justice is something that’s carried on the backs of our communities, while the polluters continue their business. Vancouver taxpayers are still out of pocket more than $500,000 in cleanup costs after the MV Marathassa leaked 2700 litres of bunker fuel into English Bay in 2015. When Kirby Corporation’s tugboat barge, the Nathan E. Stewart, sank in Heiltsuk territory in 2016, it spilled more than 110,000 litres of diesel and lubricant oil

2016 JUNE

Federal Court of Appeal overrules Northern Gateway approval, due to inadequate consultation with First Nations

2016 NOV

Trudeau government scraps Northern Gateway

into one of the most productive and sacred marine environments in our territory. Overnight, we lost clam beds, fishing grounds and one of our most important cultural sites. Three years later, we have yet to receive any compensation for the costs of the spill. The problem is that Canada’s Marine Liability Act does not allow for claims relating to “impairment of the environment,” except where claims involve “loss of profit.” This has two serious effects on coastal communities that experience spills. First, “pollution damage” does not include communal non-profit food harvesting or social or ceremonial activities—the vast majority of losses and harms Indigenous peoples (but also non-Indigenous people) suffer. Coastal communities rely on a healthy ocean to survive, and the Marine Liability Act basically excludes our way of life. Secondly, Indigenous peoples on the coast claim title to seabed and foreshore areas within our traditional territories. Since “pollution damage” excludes compensation for impairment of the environment alone, damage to these areas is non-compensable. This injustice is further deepened by the fact that Indigenous peoples – people who are the descendants of 700 generations, whose ancestors exercised sovereign authority and ownership over our land and waters – are forced to “prove” our Aboriginal title in court before our rights are recognized at all. The end result of this is that Canada is infringing on Indigenous rights and title that predate the assertion of European sovereignty by drastically impairing the ability of Indigenous peoples to receive full compensation for harms caused by oil spills. This is at a time when the Canadian government is approving major new pipelines and oil-tanker traffic, including the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. In modernizing the Marine Liability Act, Canada must consult with the Indigenous and non-Indigenous coastal communities who bear the risk - before another spill happens. This means accounting for actual losses, including impact on Indigenous rights and title.


Bill C-48, The Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, is introduced


Bill C-48 becomes law


Bill C-48 will undergo a mandatory 5-year review



Director’s Cut In conversation with the director of the Great Bear Rainforest IMAX film Ian McAllister What led you to decide that now was the time to make the film? Making a giant screen film about this area has been on my mind for a long time. I actually brought an IMAX director up about 20 years ago, but the noise and size of the camera technology were too incompatible with the natural rhythms of life here. It was exciting that digital technology finally caught up with the need to move quietly and with flexibility in order to capture rarely documented wildlife behaviour. We were able to capture some of the most intimate wildlife sequences both above and below the water that would have been impossible with the technology of just a few short years ago. How did you choose what to focus on? Trying to put my 30 years of experience in the Great Bear Rainforest into 42 minutes sometimes felt impossible. I wanted to show how life begins with the smallest of fish like herring and their influence moves through the tidal interface right into the rainforest itself. I hope we found a balance that represents the beauty, the grandeur, the intimacy and the elegant nature of this place, all woven together with the stories of the fiercely independent First Nations cultures, who have been protecting it for thousands of years.


:D Photo

How long was the overall shoot? Originally, we were going to shoot for two years but we were lucky to be able to shoot for three full seasons. Certain events that we wanted to film only take place a few days a year so if your cameras aren’t working or your boat needs repair or you get there just a hair late, you miss that small window of opportunity. Another year really made a difference to make sure we packed in every last bit that we could. You couldn’t have predicted in advance the torrential storm and the mudslide that destroys the fall salmon stream. How did that occurrence impact the production? It was a really dramatic event. It happened in our second year of filming when there was an unprecedented rain event that brought the side of a mountain down completely, burying the estuary and the salmon. To see the spirit bears and sea wolves we had been watching fish in the crystal clear waters just the day before now wandering around in disbelief was truly heartbreaking. But it’s an important story that illustrates our changing weather and climate so we kept shooting, and eventually the slide disaster made it into the film.



You have captured so many unprecedented wildlife moments in the film. Do you have a favourite? I’m very glad that we found a way to tell the story of the herring, which is so culturally and environmentally vital to all the life in the rainforest. The surf scoter sequence is something that has never been filmed before. To have 10,000 surf scoters blocking out the light above you, and to capture them feeding on herring eggs deep below the surface—that was super cool. The surf scoter is just one of countless species who rely on the herring, but I was stoked to get these very unique shots of them. What do you most hope a young person sitting in the theatre who maybe never had even heard of the Great Bear Rainforest takes away when they leave? I hope people leave the theatre with a sense of hope, knowing that places so valuable ecologically and culturally still exist, even here in North America. I hope they understand that it is through the leadership and stewardship of First Nations that much of the coast is still intact. But mostly I hope they are inspired to become a voice for what remains a fragile and threatened coastline. There are countless ways people can get engaged in conservation efforts here and Pacific Wild is set up to help facilitate them.

For the full interview with Ian and for more information about the film, current screenings, and education, visit

Making Waves Ian McAllister

Executive Director

Karen McAllister

Riding the tide of success into a new year.

Director of Operations

2019 was a year of growth for our team and for our work. With your support, we have been able to increase the depth, scope, and force of our campaign areas with three new full time staff. Joining our team this year were Sara-Jane Brocklehurst, Bryce Casavant, and Nick Voutour. We are excited about the diverse skills and experiences they bring to Pacific Wild and to our campaigns. Stay tuned as 2020 will be a big year for herring, wolves, wild salmon, and the Great Bear Rainforest. Lindsay Marie Stewart Creative Director

Colette Heneghan Outreach & Events


Geoff Campbell

Laurie McConnell

Deirdre Leowinata

Martha Jordan

Communication Design & Visual Media

Visual Communications Director

Vanessa Minke-Martin Marine Science & Communications Specialist

Systems Wrangler & Community Outreach


Volunteers continue to make a difference for Pacific Wild, and we are extremely grateful for the individuals we have met this year who have contributed thoughts, conversations, skills, equipment, and time on the ground. We extend our gratitude to those who have dedicated personal time to Pacific Wild’s public outreach. Moderators in The Call continue to play an integral part in our community-powered hub and we thank them for bringing their voices and expertise in working towards putting a stop to B.C.’s heinous wolf cull.

ARTISTS, NEWLYWEDS, EXPEDITIONS AND COMMUNITIES FOR CONSERVATION From donation jars at an underground cave wedding, to merchandise collaborations, unique inspired works by our #ArtistsForTheGBR, and adventurers sailing, kayaking, and hiking great distances to raise funds, we are incredibly grateful to our creative and generous third party donors. If you have an idea for a fundraising initiative, contact or

friends of pacific wild

Friends of Pacific Wild is our new name for fundraising collaborations with artists, makers, tour companies & expeditionists. Follow us on Instagram @friendsofpacificwild

Nick Voutour

Social Media & Engagement Specialist

our team has a new home in downtown victoria!

Bryce Casavant Policy Analyst

Sara-Jane Brocklehurst Executive Assistant

Missing: Nichola Walkden (Development Associate), Michael Curnes (Development Director)

Our new office will allow us to build our capacity, have more conversations, and increase production value for the powerful visuals that you love. Stay tuned for more details. Photo: Deirdre Leowinata


All the Ways to Give

Gifts & Mementos

There are many ways to support Pacific Wild. We appreciate every one.

Take a Little Pacific Wild With You

donate online at monthly giving Monthly contributions of any size help form the foundation of our work while allowing us to strategically and securely plan ahead. Monthly funds also reduce administrative costs, allowing us to put more of your support directly to our wildlife conservation work.

From beautiful books to stunning photos to a brand new line of Pacific Wild-branded apparel, help us protect the Great Bear Rainforest while taking home a little gift for yourself. Visit

NEW BOOKS Looking for a Great Bear gift for one of your wolf pack? Yes, it’s true. Babies of the Great Bear Rainforest will make you want to squeal like a little pup.

one-time donations Whether it’s an inspired moment of generosity, a direct donation to a specific project or issue, or a thoughtful gift for a wild friend who cares, one-time gifts are always appreciated and will help us increase our impact. bequests Leaving behind a legacy of conservation is a gift that will continue to give. volunteer We have a lot of work to do. Do you have a skill you think will add to our efforts? Do you have some free time? We’re always on the lookout for passionate, driven individuals who want to use their unique talents to help carry out our campaign goals. Your time and energy are appreciated. Learn more at

In this companion book to the Great Bear Rainforest film, go behind the scenes to learn about the incredible challenges of filming in such difficult conditions and feel the wonder that comes from experiencing this wild place.

equipment donations/sponsorship Pacific Wild spends a lot of time in the field, and sponsorship helps us keep our gear working and up to date. Cameras, outdoor gear, technology, boat equipment. If you think your brand can help Pacific Wild in our efforts we’d love to talk with you. phone: 250-597-2480 email:


main office:

field office:

PO Box 365 Duncan, B.C. Canada V9L 3X5

PO Box 26 Denny Island, B.C. Canada V0T 1B0

All photos by Ian McAllister unless otherwise noted.

Profile for Pacific Wild

Pacific Wild Journal - 2019

Pacific Wild Journal - 2019