By Alexandra Morton
Gordon Campbell locked the doors and left us on the street when I tried to deliver our letter. Since then, he has been re-elected.
At first, I thought this meant that B.C. does not actually want wild salmon nor their rivers. I began to make plans to give up and get my own life back in order. Then someone forwarded me a map detailing the general election results. The ridings with wild salmon and wild salmon rivers did not actually elect Campbell.
Thousands of people have told me they want wild salmon and have wished me success in pursuing this end, but during every B.C. election a handicap is laid on us who are trying to do this. I am writing to say people cannot wave from the sidelines any longer because we are not succeeding.
Wild salmon are going extinct on our watch. Yes, yes, climate change will be a factor, but wild salmon are built to survive cataclysmic change in their environment. If we allow their genetic warehouse to rebuild right now, we stand a far better chance of receiving the food and energy this fish brings to us in the years to come.
Grieg Seafood is trying to build two of the biggest fish farms on the coast—on the juvenile salmon migration route for Fraser River and eastern Vancouver Island stocks at York Island.
Marine Harvest is trying to increase the size of their “farms” coastwide. They are taking me back to court this summer to resolve whether they own their fish in the Canadian ocean.
Atlantic salmon eggs are still being imported into B.C., despite the infectious salmon anemia virus popping up in some of the places Norwegian salmon farmers operate.
Emamectin benzoate (SLICE) is being used in our waters—with no warnings posted during usage—even though the U.S. Food and Drug Agency apparently has a ban on any food products exposed to this neurotoxin. This means all of us who are fishing and harvesting seafood near fish farms have no way to make sure we are not exposed to the drug.
As well, some the fish feedlots are in violation of many sections of the Fisheries Act.
Not only is there no progress, we are moving backwards.
I am headed to Norway next week, but doubt anyone is listening there either.
I can only see two ways forward: The courts and for us all to step up and say “no more”.
The solution is so simple: Apply the laws of Canada contained in the Fisheries Act. If the Norwegians can’t comply they should leave. Give Canadian fish farmers who want to revamp their industry in closed tanks a break in getting set up. Market wild and farmed fish to raise the value of both. And restore wild salmon in a way that has never been tried by adhering to their biology—the natural laws that have caused them to thrive in the first place.
We need everyone who wants wild salmon to sign this letter. Currently we are at 14,000 signatures and we are still on the street—however, this was not enough to even get in the door.
Alexandra Morton is a member of the Raincoast Research Society and a founding member of Adopt-a-fry.org/.