NEWS

PURCHASE OF FISHING LODGE AT DOUBLE BAY FOR CORKY SANCTUARY!

OCT 2018

By Michael Reppy:

 After six months of difficult negotiations and delays, on October 12, 2018, I closed the deal on the purchase of the Pacific Outback Resort - a run-down fishing lodge on Double Bay, Hanson Island, British Columbia.   This was a once in a lifetime opportunity I could not miss. I was fortunate to have the money necessary, and hung in there to make the deal! 

I have worked closely for over 20 years on the Free Corky Project with orca researchers Paul Spong and Helena Symonds of nearby Orca Lab.  And now we have the perfect retirement home for Corky!   Corky was captured 49 years ago in British Columbia, and is still held by SeaWorld San Diego.  Corky’s A5 pod frequents adjacent Blackfish Sound, and would be able to reconnect with Corky in the Sanctuary. 

We know it is a longshot that SeaWorld will realize the benefits of retiring Corky: 1) a better, healthier quality of life for Corky in her natural home waters, and 2) a big boost for SeaWorld’s image!   We sincerely wish to work with SeaWorld and make this happen for Corky! 

The former fishing lodge, Pacific Outback Resort, from the bay

The former fishing lodge, Pacific Outback Resort, from the bay

This is a huge rebuilding project to bring the facility up to the standard we want!

View of T60 Transient Orca passing in front of entrance to Double Bay with the facility in the back ground. Photo by Matchu.

View of T60 Transient Orca passing in front of entrance to Double Bay with the facility in the back ground. Photo by Matchu.

Double Bay and the lodge have all the requirements for a whale sanctuary:  a pristine and protected bay, with good tidal flow for clean water, and room to create an approximate 50 acre netted enclosure with depths up to 80’, and a deep water channel to the dock. 

The lodge features a large lounge, restaurant grade kitchen and dining room, and cabins and rooms to house over 30 people. Additionally, the facility will become an Ocean Conservation and Educational Center, hosting seminars, meetings, and retreats. 

We will support healthy oceans and watersheds, the return of wild salmon, the phase out of open net salmon fish farms, and promote the rich cultural heritage of indigenous first nations, such as the ‘Namgis.  We are presently in discussions with the ‘Namgis Council requesting their approval and blessing for this project.

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 The day after the deal closed, I was there with a small crew to begin the clean-up, securing the docks, and repairing rotted foundations and decks.  After five weeks, the weather turned rainy and cold, and I drove home. 

THE TEAM: from left Matchu, and Michael with “Angel” our doggie, Mike, Barbara, and David - at area behind the facility where we did healing and blessing ceremony with Quan Yin and Tibetan Prayer Flags hung over the little pond.

Mike Durban with clipboard, and Matchu Preville, working on the rotted out front deck of the lodge.

Mike Durban with clipboard, and Matchu Preville, working on the rotted out front deck of the lodge.

The two man crew of Mike Durban and Matchu Preville continued working on rebuilding the main deck.  They finally shut it down as it got into freezing temperatures, and Matchu stayed on as the winter caretaker. 

I will return in early April to take up the huge job of repairing and upgrading the facility. 

Two big projects will be installation of a new septic system that does not dump effluent into the bay, and a solar charging and storage system to power the facility without running the large diesel generator. 

We intend to create a model ecological facility, with 100% clean energy and zero waste!

Stay tuned for updates and how you can help realize this dreaM

“Corky Come Home”! 


best way to increase salmon for orcas: breach the four lower snake river dams

The number one factor in the threatened extinction of the Southern Resident Orca is the decline in their primary food source Chinook Salmon. Others are high toxin levels, which are made worse with starvation as the toxin loads are released from blubber stores, and boat noise which interferes with orca foraging for salmon.  

The quickest and most effective way to increase Chinook salmon is the removal of the four lower Snake River dams.

This has been stopped by bureaucratic resistance for years. Washington State Governor Inslee has set up a task force for orca recovery which met on August 7, 2018, filed its final report with recommendations in November, 2018.

Governor Jay Inslee’s Orca Task Force continues to avoid supporting dam breaching, calling for more studies.  The Washington State legislature has six bills containing recommendations of the task force, which were recently passed by either the house or the senate.  They will be helpful to reduce toxic runoff, reduce vessel noise, and assist oil spill response.  But they fall far short of addressing the problem of lack of salmon for the orcas, that breaching the four Lower Snake River Dams would accomplish.  An EIS from 2002, using alternative 4, has stated breaching the dams is the most effective way to increase salmon on the Snake and Columbia Rivers. The Army Corps of Engineers could be authorized to do it.

Sign Change.org Petition - over 700,000 have signed:



WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO

  1. Learn More: Dam Sense

  2. Call the Northwestern Division, US Army Corps of Engineers USACE to Request Breach the Four Lower Snake River Dams: (202) 761-0011

  3. Call Washington Gov. Inslee: (360) 902-4111,  Fax (360) 753-4110



    MY LETTER TO GOVERNOR INSLEE

Dear Governor Inslee,

I heard your recent interview expressing your real concern for the plight of the Southern Resident Orca after the tragic death of J35’s baby.  And after four days, she is still carrying the baby on her head in deep grief. This a dire emergency – the orcas are starving to death, and the loss of babies and fetuses is shocking.  This is not new – in December 2014, J32 Rhapsody was found dead with a dead fetus inside. She was extremely emaciated with very thin blubber layers from starvation. As you know, orcas depend 80% on chinook salmon for their food, and the salmon are in sharp decline.

You expressed that you would follow science in determining what measures to take, and are waiting for the task force to make recommendations.  The science is in and undeniable – the orcas are primarily dying from lack of salmon. Toxins, habitat destruction, and underwater noise interfering with foraging are also factors.

Please take immediate action!  I recommend:

1.    A moratorium on salmon fishing until stocks are restored.
2.    A moratorium on whale watching for the Southern Resident Orca. But allow whale watching for Transient orca, and other whales like humpbacks.  I went on a recent whale watch trip and we saw transients and a humpback and it was a great and satisfying trip!
3.    Yes, increase flows in the Columbia river, but that is not enough. Do all you can to authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to remove the four lower Snake River Dams.  Studies clearly show, this is the best way to increase salmon stocks. The great success of the removal of the two Elwha Dams, with quick return of salmon, shows how effective this can be.
4.    A comprehensive program to restore salmon spawning streams in the Salish Sea.

Thank you for your concern and please take immediate decisive action to save the salmon and the Southern Resident Orca.

Sincerely,

Michael Reppy
July 28, 2018



VICTORY! FISH FARMS TO BE PHASED OUT IN
broughton archipelago, British Columbia

‘Namgis First Nation Protest of Swanson Island Fish Farm – May 6, 2018. Photo, Michael Reppy

‘Namgis First Nation Protest of Swanson Island Fish Farm – May 6, 2018. Photo, Michael Reppy

In December 2018, the provincial government of British Columbia and three Broughton area First Nations reached agreement for the phasing out of 10 of 17 open ocean fish farms. The other seven will close unless they get approval by local First Nations. The Glacier Falls fish farm in the Tribune Channel was the first to close in February 2019, and is nearly completely dismantled.  The agreement took months of negotiations between the province, the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis, ‘Namgis and Mamalilikulla First Nations, and the two Norwegian Aquaculture companies, Cermaq and Marine Harvest.  It also comes after years of demonstrations by First Nations against the harmful open net pen fish farms which the government allowed without proper indigenous consultation and consent. It is estimated that about 80% of all framed salmon carry the Piscine Orthoreovirus  (PRV), which are infecting wild salmon.  High levels of sea lice in farmed salmon also infect wild salmon.  A major goal of this effort is to create a “Farm Free Migration Corridor” for wild salmon.

 The Swanson Island Fish Farm, near Orca Lab and Double Bay where Michael Reppy has recently purchased a former fishing lodge to convert into a Whale Sanctuary, is scheduled for closing in 2022.   A 280 day Protest and Occupation of the Swanson Island Fish Farm was led by ‘Namgis traditional leader, Ernest Alfred, and was a strong force in the movement to close open net fish farms. 

From: www.oursound-oursalmon.org

From: www.oursound-oursalmon.org

 An alternative to open sea net fish farms are land based farms like Kuttera, near Port McNeill in the North Vancouver Island.   Kuterra is a closed containment recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility operated since 2013 by the ‘Namgis First Nation.  See www.kuterra.com.

There are still 120 open net fish farms in British Columbia, about 50 are active at any one time. 

Take Action:

 See:  www.oursound-oursalmon.org

 Sign petition to remove open net fish farms at: