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Chilliwack chapter at launch of Sea Shepherd campaign against farmed salmon

Photo: Larry Commodore and Dan Coulter were among the Chilliwack chapter activists and supporters at yesterday’s launch. Photo by Wayne Froese.

The Council of Canadians Chilliwack chapter attended the launch of a new Sea Shepherd Conservation Society campaign yesterday.

CBC reports, “Celebrity and animal-rights activist Pamela Anderson joined David Suzuki and others to urge consumers not to eat B.C. farmed salmon on Monday, at the launch of a new campaign aiming at highlighting problems in the industry. …The event was held in Vancouver aboard a sailboat owned by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a controversial direct-action marine conservation group that will be flying its pirate-inspired flag along the B.C. coast this summer. …The Sea Shepherd’s R/V Martin Sheen will be travelling from Vancouver to Port Hardy, B.C., carrying biologist and activist Alexandra Morton as she carries out field research on a virus found on B.C. salmon farms and in the wild.”

The article highlights, “Morton said diseases from fish farms are a major threat to wild salmon smolts as they swim past the farms on their way to the open ocean. …On the Sea Shepherd vessel, Morton will be travelling a path juvenile Fraser River Sockeye would take from the mouth of the river at Vancouver, to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, in a project called ‘Operation Virus Hunter’. She’ll be gathering gathering mussels to test for the presence of PRV (piscine reo-virus) around fish farms and elsewhere. She hopes the research and activism will put pressure on the federal Liberals to take action.”

The Vancouver Sun quotes Morton saying, “[The farmed salmon industry] use the ocean as an open sewer and dump their waste straight into it, specifically the viruses and sea lice that breed in industrial farms. They’re allowed to pour that on to the biggest salmon migration routes in Canada.”

And Anderson notes, “Salmon farms keep pens in the ocean, where the fish swim in their own feces, and breed disease and sea lice that kill wild salmon, threatening the orcas’ ability to feed.” She adds, “The consumer has the power to help and not purchase farmed salmon.”

In a Sea Shepherd media release, Captain Paul Watson states, “Our mission is to investigate, document and expose an industry that is spreading disease, parasites and destroying the natural habitat of our wild salmon – the coho, the sockeye and the chinook. These exotic Atlantic salmon simply do not belong in these waters.”

It has been estimated that 70 to 80 per cent of salmon on farms are infected with piscine reo-virus.

To see a 7-minute video about this campaign, please click here.

Further reading
Chilliwack chapter greets Wild Salmon Caravan (May 14, 2015)