Wild salmon vs. oil and aquaculture


Adam S. Sealey

• When it comes to the precarious relationship between wild salmon, farmed salmon and the looming spectre of heavy oil pipelines and super-tankers along BC’s coast, would it surprise you that one of the world’s top 100 richest men, Norwegian born John Fredriksen, is not only the owner of the world’s largest oil tanker fleet, but also the majority shareholder in Marine Harvest, the world’s largest salmon farming multinational with dozens of operations in BC’s once pristine waters?

Would it profit Fredriksen and others like him in oil and aquaculture if wild salmon would simply become extinct so conditions could be perfect for their corporate interests? Of course it would. We now have foreign multi-national corporations like Marine Harvest and Kinder-Morgan giving Canadian environmental law and all of us the proverbial finger while exerting tremendous financial and legal power upon our government to remove the arguments against and ram through projects such as Enbridge’s Northern Gateway and Kinder-Morgan’s Trans-Mountain pipeline twinning while continuing to farm salmon like nothing is wrong.

What stands in the way of these oil projects – culturally, economically and legally – are First Nations’ title and the right to be properly consulted on such projects, the coastal economy and the majority of BC residents.

The damage to wild salmon and their habitat by the salmon farming industry and its unfathomable quantity of chemical, fecal, viral and parasitic pollution now pouring into our coastal oceans could ultimately and conveniently lead to the end of wild salmon as well as the coastal culture and economy that is arguing against the oil agenda. Salmon farms in BC are permitted to offload their waste directly into the ocean instead of paying for proper disposal like all other animal farms in Canada must. They simply let it drift into the ocean.

Ian Roberts of the BC Salmon Farmers Association, interviewed by the Water Brothers in their recent film Farmed and Dangerous about salmon farming, provided further evidence of the above, stating, “We don’t really care whether we raise fish on land or in the ocean as long as long as two key things are met: the needs of the business (it’s viable and sustainable) and the needs of the [farmed] fish.” Period. Not a mention or hint at doing what’s good for the marine environment and wild fish! Watch it at http://thewaterbrothers.ca/farmed-and-dangerous/

Let’s also remember that Justice Bruce Cohen, appointed by Harper to get to the bottom of why Sockeye stocks are crashing, concluded in his final report in October of 2012; “In my view, when DFO has simultaneous mandates to conserve wild stocks and promote the salmon farming industry there are circumstances in which it may find itself in a conflict of interest.”

The Watershed Watch Salmon Society is now calling on Canadians to demand by petition via its website that the federal government implement the 75 recommendations to protect wild salmon made by Cohen one year ago.

Meanwhile, noted BC fish biologist Alexandra Morton and many members of the Department of Wild Salmon continue to find disturbing signs that something is very wrong in our waters; herring bleeding from their fins, pre-spawn dead salmon in rivers, some a disturbing yellow colour with internal organ evidence of disease and many salmon testing positive for European salmon viruses like Infectious Salmon Anaemia.

Here are some ways you can help: Don’t eat farmed salmon, support Salmon Feedlot Boycott on Facebook, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, First Nations and other groups opposed to tar sands oil pipelines and tankers.

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