Alexandra Morton:

Dear Editors:

Heavily biased misinformed writing such as below [reference to Gwyn Morgan’s article in the Globe and Mail’s May 31st Report on Business] damages the credibility of your paper.  Someone should have reviewed this piece with the scientists studying the collapse of wild salmon in BC.  This author has misused information by quoting the DFO scientist on seal impact in a highly localized special case situation. To extrapolate this to a major impact on wild salmon in BC is highly misinforming.

Mark Sheppard has not published a single paper on salmon farming. He works for a government agency tasked with supporting salmon farming that is coming under increasing scrutiny. His comments, are just that…comments and are not supported by the high lice numbers in areas of the BC coast this year. Your author failed to note international scientists are warning drug resistance is causing salmon farm companies to lose control of sea lice to and release increasingly more toxic chemicals into the ocean in a losing arms race with this parasite.

Unlike your author I have met with the Norwegian fish farm CEOs and understand they intend to continue expanding to meet shareholder demand even though science warns too many fish in pens causes disease epidemics that threaten wild public fisheries and salmon farming as per the Chilean experience.

There are no dams impacting the salmon that the Judicial Inquiry is investigating and commercial fishing is not a factor as the stock that collapsed was not fished.

Your author is unprofessionally cherry-picking in failing to note that Alaska and Russia are enjoying record returns of sockeye, which is the salmon species that triggered the judicial inquiry.

Ford and Myers 2007, show scientifically that wild salmon go into exceptional decline in the presence of salmon farms. This is because these operations violate natural laws by holding salmon stationary triggering pathogens to flourish.  To use the argument that BC should trade a $600 million industry that imports fish from Chile to feed their fish, while impacting a 1.6 billion dollar wilderness tourism industry with 40,000 jobs dependant on wild salmon makes this article look like an industry-paid ad.

There are solutions and Norway is not interested in them, but there are Canadian fish farmers who are.   Canadian fish farmers will absorb the lost jobs, while developing world-class technology and a farm fish product which is greeted with enthusiasm by the increasingly ethical fish consumer market.

Large markets in BC are currently sourcing land-based farm salmon from Washington State.  BC is losing out on by supporting an industry which refuses to upgrade to meet environmental and consumer demand for non-destructive fish production methods.

Alexandra Morton
Biologist, British Columbia

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