Fishing for data

Yesterday, Agriculture and Lands Minister Pat Bell released a farmed fish health report showing "British Columbia's results-based regulatory regime is working." As our astute readers will already know, that report - which the minister had planned on releasing in September - was assembled with the assistance (or perhaps hinderance) of a "dysfunctional" database. When asked whether that database was an embarassment for government, Minister Bell told reporters, "Keep in mind, this is a first report. And the second report will be done in a more timely way and provide the result out to the public more quickly then this one. So I'm not satisfied with how quickly we were able to turn around this information. And that's why we put the RFP out" to replace the computer system.

But, even though problems with that system meant the data included fish health report had to be manually collated, Minister Bell said he has "confidence in the calculations that have been done. I wouldn't release the report if that wasn't the case." During that same scrum, the minister conceded the report doesn't address whether fish farms pose a threat to wild stocks - an issue that is being investigated bty the special legislative committee on sustainable aquaculture.

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