I have been on the research vessel Martin Sheen since the beginning of July. This is the 3rd summer Sea Shepherd Society has made boat this available to me. A researcher from the University of Toronto joined us for the second year to take water samples that will be analyzed for viruses and bacteria known to infect salmon.
The Martin Sheen helps researchers who are doing work that can benefit our oceans including research into open oceans plastics, toxicological health of great whales and beaked whales, fish abundance studies and tourism guidelines. This is incredibly generous, beneficial to scientists and the frontlines of keeping our oceans alive.
This year, I boarded the vessel struggling with depression for the first time in my life. This spring was the 18th year of sea lice research and I was devastated by the sight of the tiny schools of young salmon leaving the Ahta and other rivers of the Broughton. Where there should have been millions, there were tens.
I have failed. This is what extinction looks like. People try to tell me that I have done so much, but I know the truth. So much starvation will come of this, bears, birds, whales and much more.
I joined the crew somewhat reluctantly. After the hundreds of days of the fish farm occupations last winter, I was emotionally exhausted by the realization that Marine Harvest and Cermaq had not moved a single fish while the Musgamagw are losing theirs. I was infused with sadness, anger, helplessness and personal financial collapse. The crew tell me otherwise, but I know I was not good company. I just wanted to disappear.
I have seen so many front-liners crushed by depression in the face of the madness of today’s governments, who seem completely blind to the fate of even their own children, leaving them a planet where everything good has been destroyed. It’s epidemic madness.
Now 30 days later living with people who consider it normal to put their lives on the line for our oceans, exuding laughter, kindness, and hard work, my sense of optimism has surfaced again.
The best medicine is to surround yourself with people who refuse to give up and who remember how to laugh.
Last winter, I used a tiny mesh aquarium net to scoop up hundreds of fish scales that were knocked off young farm salmon as they were pouring into the pens from transport vessels. I also collected bits of flesh from dead farm fish that was pouring out of a salmon farm and had them tested. Viruses were detected in these samples. I learned that farmed Atlantic salmon infected with piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) are being put into the farms in Musgamagw territory.
By collecting the waste pouring out of the farms, I now have the capacity to discover the infectious status of individual farms. Previously I only had access to farm salmon from markets with no way of tracing them to individual farms. Sampling the farm sites will allow me to begin measuring the impact of specific farms on wild salmon. Aboard the Martin Sheen I have now sampled every salmon farm between Vancouver and Alert Bay.
I have done extensive searches of government communications through Canada’s Freedom of Information Act and I read DFO communications trying to figure out how make it illegal to sample the water. A DFO Intelligence Officer wrote:
“Doesn’t seem like anything is required to sample seawater (don’t quote me)…”
Not sure why she doesn’t want to be quoted, however, I do wonder what roadblocks I will face in testing the material I have collected this year.
Beginning on July 11, aluminum crew boats with blacked out windows began following us. They only appear at Marine Harvest farms and they follow us far beyond Marine Harvest’s tenures. They hide in the boats, peeking out to photograph us. Strange behaviour.
Black Cube is an intelligence company with offices in Tel-Aviv, London and Paris. They describe themselves as “a select group of veterans from Israeli elite intelligence units” that help multinational corporations with litigation problems.
Marine Harvest has serious litigation problems. I am suing Marine Harvest for not testing farm salmon for piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) before transfer into our ocean, Marine Harvest was suing me for going close to their farms in public water, the Dzawada’enuxw are suing Marine Harvest and DFO for violating their rights, and the Namgis are suing Marine Harvest and DFO for putting PRV-infected fish into farms in their territory.
The future of Marine Harvest in British Columbia depends on winning all these lawsuits, because they refuse to respect First Nation rights, and they insist on raising PRV-infected Atlantic salmon in BC waters.
We now know that Marine Harvest hired Black Cube to follow us, but they want us to believe this “Black Cube” in Campbell River is completely unrelated to the Black Cube of international notoriety. News Article
On June 18, 2018, Craig Peterson of Corrado Ventures Incorporated (CVI) applied for two business licences to operate Black Cube Strategies and Consulting Ltd in Campbell River. Campbell River approved these licences on July 3 and a few days later vessels with blacked out windows began following the Martin Sheen. They follow us when we are near farms and far from farms. They sit watching us while we are at anchor in Port McNeill, Echo Bay and Farewell Harbour. They refuse to speak to us. When we go near them they go inside and close all windows, the door and the hatch... It does make a person wonder what they are hiding!
When they followed me when I was in my speedboat, I turned to speak to them, they fled, I followed them and then I filed a report with the RCMP, because this has become stalking behaviour.
A Marine Harvest spokesperson confirmed they have hired CVI in Campbell River, but BC Salmon Farmers Association’s Shawn Hall claims that the Black Cube operative following us is not THE Black Cube from Israel. Why did CVI create a “Black Cube” in Campbell River, just days before initiating a big operation involving 2 crew boats and 10 people? Many multinational businesses form companies in countries where they do business. For example, Marine Harvest Canada Inc. operates in Campbell River as a subsidiary of Marine Harvest Norway. Among other things this means that lawsuits cannot touch the mother companies.
Black Cube was hired by Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers to halt publication of sexual-misconduct allegations and was also allegedly hired by President Trump aides to undermine the Iran deal. LINK If the Black Cube that Campbell River approved is not THE Black Cube, I would expect push back from Tel Aviv on the use of their name.
Several hereditary chiefs came with us to witness the behaviour of the vessel Coastal Logger who has been following us daily since July 11. The crew of the Coastal Logger, insisted on exhibiting rude behaviour, refusing to come out of their black box and answer the chiefs.
Whoever they are, that Marine Harvest chooses to behave like this in the face of staunch opposition to their presence by First Nations means to me they are desperate. All the money they spent funding youth teams, churches, barbecues, signing bonuses etc. has been wasted. Now we know who you are. Note the logo on this fellow's cap "Marine Harvest." Good grief!
In an interesting development BC Supreme Court ruled that Alexandra Morton can sample near to Marine Harvest's salmon farms, but I have to be in a boat so tiny, it begs the question why? LINK The boat has to be 2.6m, 8.5' long. I am grateful the judge acknowledged the value of my science, I wish she knew forcing me into a tiny boat is risky, but so be it. If that's what it takes. Here is a picture of my new boat the RV Science!
The voyage continues...