Some time ago I was drawn to the debate about fish farms on the Pacific Coast of Canada because of what seemed like a lack of basic common sense. Growing Atlantic salmon in open water nets in the ecosystem that supports Canada’s wild Pacific salmon was a disaster looking for a place to happen. Recently I viewed the video presentation, The Facts on Fish Farms by Alexandra Morton, and I was moved by the compelling scientific argument presented. The link to the video is http://vimeo.com/41523842.
My trust in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and in extension our Canadian government who I naively thought were charged with protecting Canada’s natural resources, has been severely shaken by revelations that DFO scientists have been muzzled, the directive for the DFO seems to be to ensure the economic viability of the fish farms rather than protect Canada’s wild Pacific salmon, pertinent scientific information was withheld from the Cohen Commission, proper scientific studies have not been conducted, concluded and publically presented, the governments of BC and Canada are allowing fish farms owned by a foreign nation not to allow Canadian scientists to test the fish in the fish farms for virus and pathogens.
Raising a species alien to an ecosystem, like Atlantic salmon on the Pacific coast, has the potential for an ecological disaster. The presentation also makes a very clear case of salmon viruses, diseases and pathogens infecting wild salmon from the fish in open water fish farms. Land based containment systems could raise the same seafood without all the detrimental effects of the open water nets. Why are we not moving decisively to protect Canada’s wild Pacific salmon?
Former Chairman Temagami Stewardship Council
Lake Temagami, Ont.