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Oct 17 2010

Dr. Alexandra Morton walks the Lumby Salmon Trails

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Alexandra Morton, the biologist who has been fighting open-net salmon farm for 20 years, came to see our Lumby salmon this week!
Alex in Lumby
Dr.Alexandra Morton was accompanied by Anissa Reed and Don Staniford who, like Morton are dedicated to protecting wild salmon. Don Staniford, mentioned how Europe has lost all their wild salmon everywhere salmon farm feedlots exist. This is the same Norwegian salmon industry that now pollutes Canada’s waters – transmitting lice and other diseases to wild salmon.

These factory farms are in areas where wild salmon must pass on their way to the ocean so they have to swim through waters filled with parasites, bacteria, viruses, and everything else that is discharged by feedlots directly in our coastal water.

We were warned in 1991, when a member of the Norwegian Parliament warned that fish farm were coming to Canada to “do as we like”.

Things must change! We must see the Fish Farms move into closed containment, but there is resistance – salmon farms make profit when they don’t pay for waste disposal – Fish Farms simply lets their fish effluent, pesticides antibiotics and anti foulants go where it will – into the wild salmon migration routes.

The 2009 sockeye salmon run returned with 9 million salmon missing. 98% of the south coast sockeye that were exposed to salmon farms vanished. That is an extremely urgent biological warning.

The fact that the run is excellent this year is proof that cleaning up our waters saves salmon – the fish now returning went to the ocean at a time when pressure on the fish farms had obliged them to clean up their act. Unfortunately this will not last since the pharmaceuticals used to ward off disease no longer work – lice and other parasites have developed immunity.

The next step in the “Call for Wild Salmon People” is for October 25th when First Nations Leaders, fishermen, politicians and people who care to protect wild salmon walk to the Cohen Commission in Vancouver for ceremony and song to make it clear that Justice Cohen is supported in his difficult pursuit of truth. We will let the inquiry know that citizens of British Columbia are watching.

No matter your political devotion – everyone is welcome to join Dr.Alexandra Morton on that day. I will be there, singing my songs in praise of wild salmon and our planet. I hope to see you there.

Lumby Salmon Trail Walk

Lumby Salmon Trail Walk

submitted by Huguette Allen

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  1. Power Kite

    Wanted to drop a remark and let you know your Feed isnt working today. I tried including it to my Google reader account but got nothing.

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    1. admin

      Hey, Powerkites – thanks for the feed – feed back – not sure how to fix it – if you have some advice let me know. Thanks

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  2. Arnao

    To be honest this is my third time visiting Dr. Alexandra Morton walks the Lumby Salmon Trails » theXpress today and finally decided to leave a comment. Great info and I love the theme. Keep it up!

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  3. priscilla

    Hi Kelly,
    re: 3. there was a study out last month that proved sea lice aren’t responsible for pink salmon returns? Do you believe that?

    Personally, No I don’t believe you can prove or disprove the cause and effect of sea lice. I think that a monoculture ie: fish farm – or any monoculture (orchard, hog barn, potatoe farm) creates a breeding ground for pests and as such monocultures are responsible for environmental impacts.

    I’m not into collecting science to prove something is safe or not safe. I have seen the Morton allegations and I’m not surprised the fish farms want to “prove” her wrong – that’s the problem with science – proof and facts – you can’t prove anything beyond common sense in a complex natural environment. There are just too many things that science cannot account for.

    Whoever makes a claim leaves it open to someone else’s counter claim – meanwhile the salmon are vunerable to the tons of fish poop that pollutes their habitat.

    I say spend your money on vegetated sand beds to improve your image and your environmental footprint.

    Slick ads merely prove the fish farm industry’s desire to sell their green wash – I don’t think the public will buy it.

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  4. priscilla

    Hi Kelly,
    Re: fish health info- if disease info had been released each year on the internet – Justice Cohen would not be asking for it. I guess the fish farms did not report all the info so anything of concern will be released now – I understood the salmon farms rely on “Client vet” priviledge refusing to report any disease out break if the Government meant to publish it. Is the new fish farm website greenwashing their disease problems?
    http://www.ecojustice.ca/media-centre/press-releases/conservationists-commend-justice-cohen-for-ordering-release-of-salmon-farm-data

    “The information requested includes disease, sea lice and stocking data that must be supplied to the Cohen Commission by January 21, 2011.”

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  5. Kelly Jonson

    I saw this website on Facebook today – http://www.bcsalmonfacts.ca – and then I started googling for more info about farmed salmon. I was reading the comments above and noticed that a few points seemed to contradict that website.

    Maybe you can answer;
    1. Salmon are the most efficient converter of fish meal to meat. Better than all land animals. Hatchery salmon make up a large % of the wild salmon we eat, and even they aren’t as efficient as a farmed salmon? Alaska hatchery salmon eat more fish meal than BC farmed salmon. Hatchery salmon don’t eat vegetable, so why should a farmed salmon? What do you think about that?
    2. You want BC salmon farms to release all fish health info. Apparently they do, to government, and this info has been released each year on the internet. If there was anything concerning in this info, then you’d see that, right?
    3. there was a study out last month that proved sea lice aren’t responsible for pink salmon returns? Do you believe that?
    4. Wild salmon and farmed salmon get flesh colour from the same thing – feed. Is that right?

    Interested in what you think of this website and the stuff they talk about.

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    1. admin

      Hi Kelly,
      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I was really impresed that you were able to post a link in your comment. Please let me know how do you did that ’cause I’d like to post a link on my comments that I leave on the Internet – is it hard to do? Here on my blog I have to go to my edit page to get a link to post.

      As to your questions. – I’m not really an expert you know and I can’t comment on the efficiency of salmon converting fish meal to meat because I refuse to accept efficiencey as a valid marker for doing anything – what ever it is. I went to your website – it looks like a forum – it should have that kind of information on it and you might get some better answers by posting your questions there. Meanwhile:

      check out the Science Secretariet – Federal Government Science Advisory panel on fish feed that contains “chemicals” in “medicated food (drugs)” which seems to be more inportant to understand than the amount of vegetables eaten by famed fish. It states that:

      Chemicals enter the aquatic environment during normal aquaculture practices. They are released directly into the water column (pesticides, antifoulants and disinfectants) or in faeces and constituents of medicated food (drugs). Hazards have been determined for most of these compounds but field data on exposure and effects is limited. While data are collected on use patterns of therapeutants, access to these data is limited, which greatly hinders the characterization of pathways and of effects.

      I think fish that eat meat should be free to swim in the ocean and eat the meat that is available to them. Fish that eat vegetables seem to be a more appropriate fish to raise in farming because humans can produce lots of vegetables without plundering the ocean for meat to feed to farmed salmon. It seems wierd to catch fish somewhere else on the planet – ship it aroud the world – process it for feed by adding drugs and chemicals to feed to farmed salmon. The energy consmption and green house gas emissions created by travel are not good for the planet. The depletion of fish stocks in some other part of the world for fish food in BC coastal waters doesn’t seem sustainable.

      As to your other questions., I answer as I can – have to make supper now – best regards,
      Priscilla

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  6. Pierre Dowing

    Well I guess that in the larger scope of things, it’s as much about sustainable fish farming as it is with general safety and efficiency. Granted, current methods are quite efficient and are en route to making salmon available to a wider set of consumers, but there is potential for equal efficiency without compromising on the environment. For instance, changing from open to closed pans has been proven to reduce the spread of sea lice, and a couple of farms in BC, as far as I know, are in fact switching to this method. I do have to agree with you in that the pace of change is less than favourable, but the spread of the dangers of classic, open-pan farming is becoming better spread, so there is hope that this will all feed back to the producer and induce the guys to reconsider their methods.

    The need for fish in general, I believe should be used in consideration of every “class,” if you will, mostly because fish as a species, are consumed worldwide, and are an invaluable source of omega 3s, although I know I’m a bit of an idealist in considering this, since so many can’t even afford the staple goods needed for a wholesome life.

    Either way, as it stands; yes, fish farming is currently a definite liability to the environment, but so are most other methods of controlled farming/agriculture. However, many of these industries are looking into better practices, and I see no reason why similar innovations can’t be used with, and developed for farmed fish. If this is the case, then the “inferior” fish can still be affordable, more sustainable, and thus available to more people.

    Anyway, sorry for the disjointed response, a bit of a thought spew on my part, but hope this makes a bit more sense. As for the link, I’m not really sure why it’s not going through correctly, so my apologies for any confusion with that.

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  7. Pierre Dowing

    You know, I have to say that I’m actually incredibly relieved that some salmon farms are finally taking an initiative into a more sustainable direction and away from past practices, such as the ones recently outlined online in the press (http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/showlink.aspx?bookmarkid=CUECRUKZDUO1&preview=article&linkid=dd75b2ba-428b-47fc-b155-6cf49dbfdef4&pdaffid=ZVFwBG5jk4Kvl9OaBJc5%2bg%3d%3d). Still, with the increasing population and thus demand, it will take more than lukewarm measures to ensure a good, stable source of salmon and other seafood.

    Well anyway, some food for thought :]

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    1. admin

      Hi there,
      To tell you the truth – I couldn’t really see the article for which you included a link.
      If you know of some information about salmon farms changing to sustainabile farming – I hope you could send me a better link to the article. I have not seen anything that suggests this is happening.

      As for needing more farmed fish for human consumption – the question becomes which humans? The wealthy North Amercian and European people?

      As it stands, farmed salmon – being meat eaters, require lots of fish for food and that food fish is caught and removed from areas where people have traditionally relied on that local fish. Many of those people are going hungry as a result. Then to get the food to the farms, transportation energy releases green house gasses and makes so much noise at the farms that the whales can’t find their pods.

      So by the time the farmed fish are produced – the salmon are inferior – less good fat and grey in color requiring the addition of red dye. The farmed fish; being nourished on drugs and pesticide, have created massive amounts of toxic sewage.

      The broken fish farm nets get wrapped around sea lions strangling them as they grow. Farmed salmon have diseases that infect wild salmon…
      please stop me now… how is that sustainable?

      I won’t rant on – I’ll send this off because you may have info that addresses these problems. I have discovered one solution which I have sent to the Fish farms and to the Cohen Commission – I’d love to have a dialog on “going sustainable” so please answer and maybe we could develop some ideas about where to go from here.
      best regards,

      Priscilla

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  8. Don MacKray

    Priscilla, I think you need to keep an open mind on this subject. You seem way too emotional about it. Might be clouding your judgement. Don’t put to much faith in Alexandra Morton – her accusations are getting pretty weak and she;s getting angry. Might be best to distance yourself from her.

    I’m betting that even if these farmed salmon were raised on land, you would be against it, am I right?

    By the way, Slice (used to kill sea lice) is not a pesticide. It’s actually in the feed and not sprayed. I’ve been told the whole salmon farming industry uses less than 15kg of product per year, although I don’t know that for sure. If it’s true, then your word “laced” would be a little extreme, wouldn’t it?

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    1. admin

      Hi Don,
      I have spent quite a bit of time with Alexandra Morton recently. She is calm and determined. I saw no anger. She is asking for the fish farm disease records – all of them from all the farms, not just 23 farms. Is there some reason why you guys can’t or won’t release them?

      Keeping records hidden – does not look good.

      I am not opposed to fish farming on land but I would prefer the choice of farmed fish to be the one that eats vegetables because salmon farms take fish that would otherwise be food for people in poorer countries which is not very moral. I am absolutely opposed to GE salmon.
      Slice is a pesticide by definition – it is used to mitigate sea lice which is a pest – even fungicide is considered a pesticide – pesticide does not have to be sprayed.
      If the Canadian Science Advisory Panel notes that pesticide, anti foulants and drugs enter the water column directly from fish farms – then – no I don’t think the term “laced” is an extreme description. I’ll post the link for you to read and check out the e-mail from Eric Foster and my response – the DFO sign in our salmon trail says that fish farms are a threat to wild salmon.
      I am working on a new way to deal with pollution called vegetated sand beds and the person who patented the process has used it for fish farm waste – now I don’t know that it was an open pen fish farm but I hope to find out. If so perhaps your industry will be interested in cleaning up your pollution.
      Here is a link to their site. You can read the President’s CV on my latest post.

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  9. admin

    Hi Brian, The fact that in sworn testimony, the director for DFO – Mr. Trevor Swerdfager regulates fish farms according to his “feelings” and his “beliefs” puts Alexandra Morton’s comments into perspective.

    I don’t need science or feelings to know that releasing that much concentrated – pesticide laced fish farm fish poop into our coastal water is wrong – all it takes is common sense.

    and another thing – if the fish farms released information on disease as you say, then Alexandra Morton has information on which to make her observations. Science is about keeping track of information is it not? If the farms released it – then Morton has it – right? Or do they keep it locked up so she can’t see it?

    Why should the fish farms not have to prove the scientific safety of what they do? Have you thought about that Brian?

    Why should we expect Morton to be so scientific when the fish farms don’t have to prove with any science that their farming is safe – the stupidity of that blows me away – we challenge those who have seen sick and deformed and lousy wild salmon where the farms are located and we make Morton prove fault – then to make it even more unfair – we don’t give her the information she needs to do that.

    Let’s treat the fish farms the same way Dr.Morton is treated – ok ?
    Before they can operate a fish farm they have to provide scientific evidence and I mean actual scientific proof that fish farming will not harm wild salmon – and we are not accepting any conclusions based on “beliefs” or claims of “good farming practice” or “feelings” or “honor” – The farms have to prove that there is 100% no harm to wild fish by what they do – think about it – it couldn’t be done – so it should not be done – take the farms out of the ocean until they prove safety.

    After your comment – I reviewed a few articles about disease information and I think Dr.Morton is asking that all the fish farms release all their disease information, not just 23 farms out of – what is it? 181 fish farms? but please correct me if I’m wrong – I’d like to know just how many farms are using our common oceans without providing scientific proof of safety.

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  10. admin

    Hello Brian,
    Sorry we didn’t see you on the walk

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  11. Brian

    Quote:”The fact that the run is excellent this year is proof that cleaning up our waters saves salmon – the fish now returning went to the ocean at a time when pressure on the fish farms had obliged them to clean up their act.”

    How do we know that the reason for this large return was due to fish farms “cleaning” up our waters. Morton only hypothesizes this. She does not present any evidence that this has occurred or didn’t occur last year. I realize she blames the fish farm industry for not releasing certain records on disease outbreaks (which were released to the Cohen Commision weeks ago), but all her theories on why the return was large was this season compared to last season is conjecture at best at the moment until she can actually demostrate this to the scientific community.

    Recently, her collegue Dr. Martin Krkosek has suggested to a House of Commons committee in May of this year that their conclusion about the extinction of pink salmon in the Broughton area (the report that is heralded by environmentalist as “the” evidence against fish farms) is not correct now due to this “apparent clean-up”, but again he does not present any shread of evidence that the reason was due to this….nothing. In fact, Krkosek’s 2007 Science paper was critisized from the start for excluding certain data that would have showed something completely different, so for me this was a rather convenient way out without having to demonstrate how it related to his study. This is why Mathematical Ecology is no replacement for actual field biology where you work with actual fish.

    You know me, Priscilla….I don’t get too caught up in YouTube videos of fish in ziploc baggies with lice on them. I realize we differ somewhat on this topic, but the goal to enhance and better understand wild salmon is common ground. Extinction is a pretty big word to use, so if someone is going to pronounce this they better get their ducks in a row and demonstrate to me “scientifically” with actual on the ground testing – not mathematical models. Ironically, some of these models that Krkosek used for his predictions are used by forecasters (but in a different way). When they don’t work for forecasters it is seen as incompetence, but when they do not work for people like Krkosek or Morton it is not mentioned at all.

    Hopefully, the Cohen Commission will direct more resources into this fish farm question here on our coast as well as other marine issues, such as early marine life for juvenile salmonids. I definitely believe that we need to have a moritorium on any future expansion of fish farms until we can better assess it’s impacts on our coast. In the end, most reasonable people want to see the best for our wild fish. The big difference is how we get there. This is where most of the disagreement comes from, in my opinion.

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    1. admin

      I should have given credit to Huguette Allen for writing this article when I first posted it – sorry about that.

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  12. admin

    Thank you so much –
    I’ll be reading your blog to hear more on your holiday and looking for your wonderful photos too.

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  13. Marion

    Good Morning, Priscilla,

    On our holiday, we drove through Lumby, and I thought of you. You are doing amazing work regarding our beautiful Salmon…your enthusiasm is definitely catching. Thank you so much…the world needs people like you so badly!

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  14. Katie Quinn

    Ms Morton is not Doctor Morton. She doesn’t have a masters much less a PhD. She is a registered biologist.

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    1. admin

      Hi Katie,
      I took a quick look around the Internet and Wikipedia says…it’s “a matter of personal preference should an honorary doctor use the formal title of “doctor”, regardless of the background circumstances for the award.”

      That aside – a Educational Doctorate is awarded to a student who writes a paper based on work outside the Institution. That process leads to acceptance from his or her peers – and a doctoral degree. It seems to me that Dr.Morton has written many books and papers which led to her honorary award.

      I don’t know if she uses the title herself – but I’m comfortable with it – – you don’t have to use the title if you don’t want to – it’s your choice.

      Thanks for helping me clarify things – we are allowed to recognize Dr.Morton’s achievement and quite a number of people choose to do that – recognize Dr. Alexandra Morton’s dedication to her science.

      and thanks for dropping by my blog

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