and the coast of British Columbia. They carry the energy created by sunlight hitting open ocean waters in their flesh and provide food for us, other species and to our forests, that make oxygen and stabilize our climate. If you are breathing in British Columbia, you have sucked air made by a salmon-fed tree into your lungs. We are linked that closely.
Wild salmon create 52,000 jobs and $2 billion through fishing and wilderness tourism. Salmon farming is a small industry with 6,000 jobs, and $300 million much of which goes overseas to share holders.
Salmon farms break the natural laws that allow wild salmon to thrive by holding the nomadic salmon stationary and inducing fatal collision between the pathogens of successive generations. Wild salmon are in exceptional decline wherever there are salmon farms in net pens (Ford and Myers 2008).
The science is in, but there is enormous resistance within government to deal with fish farms effectively. When Canada's North Atlantic cod collapsed, there were scientists like me and within government who warned that action had to be taken to preserve the cod stocks. In their historic paper, Hutchings et al, describe how the Canadian government misrepresented the science to the public, how this hindered any effective response and the result was collapse of one of humanity's greatest food supplies. Shortly, thereafter the Hiberia oil wells were put into place where the cod had once thrived.
As a scientist and resident on the grounds I have created this blog to communicate directly with you the public in hopes that in spite of the government that we can prevent a similar collapse of our wild salmon. The trouble is not aquaculture, it is simply the way salmon farmers operate worldwide. We can have privately owned farm fish on land and we can have abundant public wild salmon, but only if you the public take a stand right now while we still have the essential DNA needed to rebuild British Columbia's wild salmon runs. The Norwegian salmon farming companies that operate in BC waters are perhaps the only farmers who never shovel their manure. It flows unimpeded into our ocean and with it the bacteria, viruses and parasites that brew under all feedlot conditions.
There is something very wrong with the way fish farms are being handled by our governments at every level. I don't understand why, but I do see the consequences. No one is going to benefit from the way government is behaving, not even the fish farmers, one only has to look to Chile where they have been given free-rein and have destroyed 60% of their industry with a disease called Infectious Salmon Anemia.