Plastic bags in the thousands washing up on West Coast shores

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017 10:42am


Charges are being considered against a salmon farming company that operates in the area.

Thousands of large aquaculture feed plastic bags were found washed up near a protected ecological area close to Tofino, and a leaked memo from Parks Canada suggests charges be considered against a salmon farming company that operates in the area.

Caretakers of a property in the Broken Group of Islands have sent media photos of a barge sinking in the area on Oct. 20. Omega Pacific Hatchery owns that barge.

Now stakeholders in the area—First Nations, government and the public—report they were not immediately notified about the incident. The Broken Group is the birthplace of the Tseshaht First Nation. Ucluelet First Nation is at the waters edge at Broken Group as is Toquaht. A spokesperson for Tsehaht calls the discovery concerning, according to a report from CTV news.

The bags were found on four islands on Nov. 10, but the local MP, Gord Johns, only found out about the incident through media reports that day.

A volunteer group that cleans up the beaches in the Broken Group of Island said had they known about the incident, members could have used their own resources to clean up the mess. Now the community is finding the bags everywhere as they scatter on the currents and the winds. 

The Coast Guard is investing and Johns has called on the federal government to immediately clean up the spill. He has also tabled a bill calling for a national strategy surrounding marine pollution.