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UPDATE: Council seeks Shatner’s support on GM salmon issue

The Ottawa Citizen reports that, “William Shatner is being beamed into Ottawa to host this year’s Genie Awards. The annual awards, honouring the best in Canadian film, will take place on Thursday March 10 at the National Arts Centre and will air live on CBC-TV.”

The 79-year-old actor, who was born in Montreal, is likely best known for his role as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek television series.

But perhaps less known is his activism in defence of wild salmon. CBC reported last June that, “Fin Donnelly, the federal New Democrat Fisheries and Oceans critic, introduced a private member’s bill last month that would force fish farm operators to move from open nets along the B.C. coast to closed-containment systems. Shatner joined Donnelly on a conference call at the news conference and urged Canadians to prevent their precious resources from being destroyed. …’My opinion is that anybody who’s trying to do something about as basic a species as salmon must be listened to,’ he said of Donnelly’s bill.”

At that media conference, Shatner also said, “The fauna and the flora of the British Columbia river shores and rivers are nurtured by the salmon. Without the salmon, they die.”

In 2009, as reported in a magazine for divers, “(Shatner) wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, asking that salmon farms be removed from crucial wild-salmon migration routes off northern Vancouver Island.”

The Council of Canadians is hoping that Shatner will also speak out in defence of salmon on the Atlantic coast.

The St. John’s Telegram reported last month that, “In a place built on fish five centuries ago, this is a fish tale like no other. Controversial salmon research pioneered at Memorial University decades ago is in the final stage of the U.S. approval process. The science sees genetically engineered fish grow twice as fast as wild salmon. If the Food and Drug Administration gives it the go-ahead, the salmon will be the first genetically modified animal species OK’d for sale to Americans — a move that could open the floodgates to other engineered animals. …Some critics have dubbed it ‘Frankenfish’. They question the safety of eating genetically engineering salmon. One of the main consumption fears is that dangerous allergens could be present in the fish. Others wonder what will happen if the fish escape and breed with wild salmon.”

We will be trying to contact Shatner while he is in Ottawa to enlist his help. He has 475,000 Twitter-followers and a brief Tweet from him would significantly raise the profile of the issue.

To oppose genetically-modified salmon, please go to the Food and Water Watch petition at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=4905.