Much of my more than 35 years of commercial-fishing experience has been spent diving for octopus along the murky shorelines of the Victoria waterfront and adjacent areas. Perhaps more than any other person, I have observed the damaging effects that the discharge of untreated sewage through outfalls off Clover and Macaulay Points has had on the local seabed and marine environment.
Just a casual glance at a current atlas for Juan de Fuca Strait shows the currents running along the Esquimalt and Victoria waterfront are consistently weak and variable. A more critical analysis of our local current patterns and geography reveals that, rather than disperse the effluent into oblivion, they actually work effectively to settle thousands of tonnes of contaminated sediment on the local seabed in both an upstream and downstream pattern from the outfalls.
This is exactly what has been happening for decades. The evidence of this persistent siltation can be seen on the seafloor from Becher Bay in the west all the way around to Gordon Head in Haro Strait and is truly staggering in places.
Sad to say, I have also witnessed the steady loss of biodiversity that has accompanied it. Many areas, once colourful and vibrant marine habitat, such as the entire Esquimalt waterfront, are now dull remnants of their former selves, where only the most silt-tolerant marine life can exist.
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