Marine Harvest sponsors girl’s soccer team and 14 year old player who stands up for wild salmon is muzzled
The Norwegian salmon farming industry using the waters of BC to grow Atlantic salmon has been problem from the start, but in the past 4 months, the industry has sunk to new lows. This week there are reports that a 14 year-old girl on an elite soccer team on Vancouver Island has been told not to speak about why she won't wear the Marine Harvest logo on her uniform. She is now at risk of losing her place on the team. She was told in an email this was strike one against her.
This is only the latest in the on going issues in just the past 4 months to do with the three Norwegian companies using BC to grow Atlantic salmon.
- May - petition with over 100,000 signatures is delivered to the Premier of BC telling her to stop issuing new salmon farm licences of occupation
- July – Grieg Seafood tries to bribe fishermen with a total of $157,000 to stop objecting to a new salmon farm.
- September – Cermaq’s new salmon farm given to them by the Province of BC is evicted by Ahousaht First Nations.
That's 3 strikes
In 2010, thousands of people from British Columbia marched on the BC Parliament to send a clear message that they want fish farms out of the ocean. It was named the GET OUT MIGRATION with people walking hundreds of kilometers down Vancouver Island.
Later that year 100 people paddled for 7 days down the lower Fraser River and marched through the streets of Vancouver to the opening of the Cohen Commission into the Decline of the Sockeye Salmon of the Fraser River to demand the farm salmon disease records be released. Those records contained reference to European salmon diseases covered up by the Canadian government. These findings became the subject of an award-winning documentary.
The Cohen Commission concluded:
“I therefore conclude that the potential harm posed to Fraser River sockeye from salmon farms is serious or irreversible."
But the old Harper government refused to abide by its own commission.
In June 2015, a petition of over 100,000 signatures was delivered to the Premier of BC asking her not to grant anymore fish farm licences of occupation, because sea lice and other issues put wild fish at too great a risk. The Premier of BC, Christy Clark, did not respect the wishes of the people and granted 4 more licences on the afternoon before the BC Day holiday.
In September, Cermaq tried to put a new farm on the new lease granted to them by the Province of BC. Ahousaht First Nations stepped onto the farm and told Cermaq to remove it, which Cermaq had to do after a two-week stand off.
Today 10,102 people from 72 countries are asking Norway to DIVEST FROM DIRTY salmon, many of them are Norwegian!
Here in BC we see the industry has lost control of its sea lice again this spring during the critical juvenile wild salmon outmigration month of April. The sea louse limit is 3 motile lice per fish here in BC, not 23 as seen here in this ASC approved Marine Harvest salmon farm on the Fraser sockeye migration route. As we see below salmon farmers in Norway are also incapable of controlling their lice. Sea lice from salmon farms kill young wild salmon.
The science on salmon farms informs us that wild salmon stocks tip into exceptional decline wherever there are salmon farms. Indeed, while Alaska harvested over 100 million salmon this year, BC once again suffered reduced fisheries, poor catches which causes impact on our iconic species that fuel a $1.6 billion tourism industry.
Norway is now trying to move their dirty, controversial industry towards closed tanks to protect their own last wild salmon and sea trout and to protect the industry itself from its diseases. Leaders in the industry report "the classic arguments against land-based salmon farming -- higher capital expenditure costs and energy consumption, as well as lack of land -- are not necessarily valid" because the salmon farming industry is suffering increased impact of their diseases and lice which is eating into their profits.
But the salmon farming industry continues to sink to new lows. A salmon farming CEO in Norway was just sentenced to prison for cheating on sea lice counts and Norway is reporting some in the industry are hiding the internationally reportable influenza-family ISA virus from trade partners.
BC is a leader in land-based salmon farming, and could protect wild salmon and BC salmon farm employees by forcing the industry to get onto land immediately. However, anyone driving between Port McNeill to Campbell River can see that Marine Harvest is in the process of a massive farmed salmon hatchery expansion. There are rumors of stocking 10 more farms. I took Marine Harvest to court to stop them from transferring diseased fish from this hatchery into our ocean waters. I won, but Marine Harvest and DFO have appealed this decision. What does that tell us?
The salmon farming industry has lost its moral compass. It is desperately trying to buy the social licence that it has never had in BC. As Canada risks its wild salmon, herring and lobster with this industry, there is no visible long term future for this industry because it is helping fish down our oceans to feed its fish. It is not making food, not making more jobs than it is impacting, not benign and there are serious questions about whether it is safe for women who plan to have children.
Do you want to help?
Send this blog to your newly elected MP and tell him/her this nonsense has to end, wild salmon are far too valuable and there is a much better way to boost Canada's coastal economies. On the west coast this industry is implicated in harming wild salmon and on the east coast salmon farmers are threatened with a jailterm for using illegal chemicals to kill sea lice and these drugs are damaging lobster fisheries. The Norwegian salmon farming industry is old dirty technology that has no place in Canada today under a new government that appears interested in protecting this planet for our children.
Meanwhile, hockey star Willie Mitchell has tweeted that he will sponsor soccer player 14-year old Freyja Reed, because he does not believe in corporate bullying of young athletes.
See more on the impacts of salmon farms at www.AlexandraMorton.ca