June 20, 2010
Hello Salmon People
The effort to protect our wild salmon from salmon farm pathogens, pollution and by-catch continues to grow. We are keeping abreast of the issues at:
Hundreds of people have been mobilized by the Get Out Migration writing letters, holding meetings, demanding answers from their politicians and the science continues. The sockeye leaving the Fraser River are once again heavily infested with sea lice near the salmon farms. This picture shows a juvenile sockeye with 14 young sea lice caught near salmon farms off Campbell River.
The salmon farmers have put government on notice - they will not be volunteering any further disease information again. The secrecy around salmon farm disease is a red flag and the people trying to answer why the Fraser sockeye are dying are running blind. The Fraser sockeye decline began at the same time as salmon farm outbreaks of IHN. IHN virus is lethal to sockeye and the fish feedlot outbreaks represent pathogen loads higher than wild sockeye have ever experienced. See attached graph. It is unacceptable that they demand to operate in secrecy in public waters when there is clearly cause for concern. The Governments in power have done nothing to protect BC from these disease outbreaks, in fact they have aided in the cover-up.
Our westcoast Federal Fisheries Critic, MP Fin Donnelly asked Canadian actor William Shatner to lend his star power to this issue and you can see the result at:
The Cohen Inquiry into the Fraser sockeye decline is under intense scrutiny for hiring people connected to DFO to investigate DFO. Meanwhile, scientists who have worked on impact of aquaculture were rejected due to their connection to me. However, we have the same lawyer as won our BC Supreme Court challenge, Greg McDade, and we are optimistic that this Inquiry can be a powerful process to reveal the scope of impact of salmon farms on the Fraser sockeye. I encourage all to visit their website frequently and see the submissions. There is one posted there now from hockey star Willie Mitchell who has a deep personal interest in salmon. http://www.commissioncohen.ca/en/
We are hopeful that this year’s Fraser sockeye return will be a big one because this lineage has shown the least decline. There are numerous Fraser sockeye runs and year-classes. These strands twist together like a rope. If we get this strand back, we are lucky but it does not mean the ones we are losing have recovered. Each generation of salmon stands alone, but also are critically linked genetically and ecologically. They cannot thrive alone.
As the inquiry turns up the heat on salmon farming, the attacks have disintegrated to mud-slinging. Below are two links to the National Post that cast doubt on anything this paper has ever published. The money reported in this article must include everything related to wild salmon research, I don’t believe the environmental organizations have received anything close to this for working on salmon farm issues. As well, I have been in the middle of this for 20 years and have never been approached by Alaskan interests. These writers are grasping at straws. Their source on this was reportedly hired by MP John Duncan, a salmon farm advocate. The scientific community is responding and we will be posting these as they come in on salmonaresacred.org
The Cohen Inquiry funding is scant and so donations would be helpful. There is an avalanche of documents to review. I hate asking for funds, but there is a Pay Pal button on the Salmonaresacred.org website. Since this work would be considered political by Revenue Canada there are no tax-receipts possible. My operations are frugal with no office rental and an abundance of incredible volunteers, so the tiniest donations count and go straight to the work.
Our next court date on the charges against Marine Harvest for illegal possession of wild salmon and herring is this Tuesday. We hope the Department of Justice will appear in court and move forward on this very important case to investigate the rate of wild fish consumption by the salmon farming industry. While the DOJ has assumed our charge we have not abandoned the case.
Rising out of this fracas is Canadian landbased fish farming technology. Farming salmon is never going to feed the world because it takes more fish than it makes, but aquaculture has a place and there are Canadian engineers, communities and organizations who are going to lead us out of this mess offering jobs and a product and technology that Canada can be proud of. Some supermarkets, such as Overwaitea in Canada are currently sourcing land-based salmon from Washington State, which is an opportunity missed. click here As well, one of the 4 main supermarkets in Norway, ICA, announced that fish farmers must move into closed containments within 3 years, or they will remove farmed salmon from their close to 1000 stores in Norway, Sweden and Holland. Between disease, drug resistant lice and their markets the fish farm industry will have to move into tanks and hopefully Canadian fish farmers who are ahead of the curve will reap the benefit.
COSTCO is a major buyer of BC farm salmon.
I was given an honorary Doctorate of Science from Simon Fraser University last week for the research I have done on salmon farm-origin sea lice. This was an enormous personal milestone and should help those who are trying to evaluate what we know about the impact of farm salmon on wild salmon. Simon Fraser University has become a leader in wild salmon research, conferences and education.
There are never enough funds to do the ongoing research in the field and through the documents and so I have launched an online store to continue supporting myself www.alexandramorton.ca is a way for me to remain financially viable and keep my voice free and unencumbered.
Thank you, to all of you. Our numbers are growing, we are concerned about the people who work in the salmon farming industry, but we will continue to powerfully, peacefully and unrelentingly protect what belongs to all of us and the future – wild salmon. Wild salmon are thriving everywhere in the North Pacific, except where there are salmon farms.
Dr. Alexandra Morton DSc (honoris causa)