Tag Archives: Alexandra Morton

Bring Salmon Farms On Land

The ECOreport looks at British Columbian companies and the push to bring salmon farms on land

By Roy L Hales

screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3-43-47-pmCanada’s $2 billion Aquaculture industry is embroiled in controversy. While there may be some debate as to whether wild salmon spread more infections to British Columbia’s penned stock or vice versa,1 there have been incidents like the Queen Charlotte Strait’s 2015 sea lice epidemic.2 On May 20, 2016, Dr Kristi Miller, from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, announced that there is “a potential Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI) in farmed Atlantic salmon samples” collected from a aquaculture facility off the coast of Vancouver Island. In Norway, where HSMI is more common, this disease is “associated with generally low mortality on farms, generally between 0 to 20%.”3 The stress (and thus mortality rate) is undoubtedly greater on wild salmon, which need to capture prey, escape predators and swim upstream to spawn. So, acting on behalf of marine biologist Alexandra Morton, ECOjustice is suing Canada’s Ministry of Fisheries for putting wild salmon at risk. Some argue the best answer is to bring salmon farms on land.

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  1. Marine Harvest Canada’s (MHC)studies show that the prevalence of sea lice in wild salmon stocks is unaffected by the presence, or absence, of fish farms. Katherine Dolmage, MHC’s Certification Officer, claims that wild salmon definitely spread sea lice to fish farms in the fall, but data showing that fish farms infect smolts when they swim out to the ocean, in the spring, is not conclusive. Anti-fish farm biologist Alexandra Morton emailed me that these studies are bogus, but did not explain why.
  2. In a 2015 interview, Morton conceded (starts 7:39 in podcast) that the fish farm’s delousing procedure “worked very well for seven years” prior to 2015. MHC is now beefing up their preventative measures with a 75-metre “freshwater well boat,” to give fresh water cleansing baths to their salmon twice a year.
  3.  Press release from Fisheries and Oceans Canada; According to Marine Harvest’s Integrated Annual Report 2015, from Norway, HSMI is listed third in the “Main causes of reduced survival” graph on page 68; Ironically: though HSMI is specifically mentioned in Norway’s Region West, this was also “the most profitable (fish farming) region in Norway in 2015” p 55

Visiting Philips Arm Salmon Farm

The ECOreport’s experience: Visiting Philips Arm Salmon Farm

By Roy L Hales

screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3-43-47-pmMy interest in British Columbia’s fish farms began with Alexandra Morton’s fim “Salmon Confidential Documentary” and you can find a distillation of her arguments, as well as other articles critical of this industry on this website. I recently became convinced there is another side to this story that we haven’t been hearing. So I recently went visiting Philips Arm Salmon Farm, as Marine Harvest’s guest.
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Ian Roberts’ Response To Anti-Salmon Farm Critics

The ECOreport listens to the other side of the story, Marine Harvest Canada’s Ian Roberts’ Response To Anti-Salmon Farm Critics

By Roy L Hales

screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3-43-47-pmIn 2002, the number of pink salmon returning to the Broughton Archipelago was only 3% of normal.  Alexandra Morton subsequently co-authored a study reporting that 68 – 98 % of the fish tested in this area had the sea louse “L. salmonis.”1 A University of Toronto study links the 2015 sea lice epidemic to fish farms in the same area. The article that follows is based on Marine Harvest Canada’s (MHC) Ian Roberts’ response to anti-salmon farm critics.

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  1. S. Saksida et al, Population ecology and epidemiology of sea lice in Canadian waters, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Table 3: Reported sea lice levels on juvenile wild salmon in the Pacific.

Hard Evidence From The Inside

The ECOreport looks at Alexandra Morton’s new video,  hard evidence from the inside

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMWildlife biologist Alexandra Morton has been wanting to get a close look at the salmon inside a fish farm for years. She got her opportunity on August 23, when the  Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw nation boarded the Marine Harvest Midsummer farm in Kingcome Inlet, BC. The video below shows what Morton found after lowered a Go Pro camera into the pens for ten minutes.  She calls this hard evidence from the inside.

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Scientists Condemn The Flawed Review Process For Lelu Island

The ECOreport looks at a joint letter in which more than 130 scientists condemn the flawed review process for Lelu Island 

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMThere are more than 130 of them, from Alaska, Russia, the West Coast as far south as California and east to the Atlantic coast. Their joint letter refers to “Misrepresentation,”  “lack of information” and “Disregard for science that was not funded by the proponent.” Scientists Condemn The Flawed Review Process For Lelu Island, at the mouth of British Columbia’s Skeena River, as “a symbol of what is wrong with environmental decision-making in Canada.”
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Over 70 BC Leaders are calling on Trudeau to Reject Lelu Island LNG

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMAccording to Greg Horne, of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, there has never been “such widespread and unprecedented agreement” regarding LNG before. The elected Lax Kw’alaams Band Council, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and leaders from Gitxsan, Gitanyow, Wet’suwe’ten, Tsimshian, Fort Nelson and Salteau First Nations were all signatories. So were Dr. David Suzuki, Dr. Wade Davis, Dr. Alexandra Morton, and Dr. Barb Faggetter. Over 70 BC leaders are calling on Trudeau to reject Lelu Island LNG.

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A Victory For Wild Salmon

Alexandra Morton’s struggle against fish farms has made her a folk heroine in British Columbia. Two years ago, she approached the legal firm ecojustice with a report that aquaculture company Marine Harvest Inc. had transferred Atlantic salmon infected with piscine reovirus (PRV) into net pens located along the Fraser River salmon migration route. Many Scientists believe piscine reovirus as the most likely cause of Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI), a severe disease that affects the muscles and heart of salmon and in many cases causes death. Ecojustice sued the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, arguing they must take responsibility for determining if and when it is safe to transfer fish into net pens in the open ocean. This is the story of the court victory they won on May 6 and Alexandra Morton talks a little about what comes next.

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Pressure Against BC’s Fish Farms is Mounting

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1After two years of legal proceedings, on May 6 Federal court ruled that the government cannot delegate its responsibilities, to protect BC’s wild salmon stocks, to the province’s fish farms. According to the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans, as many as 120 licenses, due for renewal this year, could be affected. Ecojustice filed on behalf of biologist Alexandra Morton in May 2013, after learning that salmon infected with infected with the piscine reovirus (PRV) were put into an open pen fish farm in Shelter Bay, BC. The owners, Marine Harvest Canada, claim “there no evidence” the fish they transferred were unhealthy. Morton has evidence to the contrary and, since her legal victory, the pressure against BC’s fish farms is mounting.

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Alexandra Morton on Salmon Farms (Audio)

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1An interview with Alexandra Morton, who  came to British Columbia to study Orcas in the 1980‘s and initially thought salmon farms were a good idea. As problems began to surface, she discovered the regulatory authorities largely ignored her complaints.

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The ECOreport goes live on Cortes Community Radio

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1At noon on Tuesday, July 8, the ECOreport goes live on Cortes Community Radio, 89.5 FM, CKTZ, which is also broadcast over the web. This is the start of a series of half hour programs that are scheduled from 12-12:30 on Tuesdays and from 10:00 – 10:30 on Wednesdays. The ECOreport (www.theecoreport.com) is a sustainable news site, focusing on how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of North America, but also carrying items of a broader interest. Continue reading The ECOreport goes live on Cortes Community Radio