Salmon farms; letter to editor

From:Phyllis Reeve [tpreeve@shaw.ca]
Sent: July 14, 2009 5:58 PM
To: letters@tc.canwest.com
Subject: Marine Harvest

The Editor
Victoria Times-Colonist

Claire Backman, director of environmental relations for Marine Harvest Canada assures us (July 14) that Marine Harvest in B.C is "operated by 530 Canadians who care very much about the environment that we are leaving to our grandchildren." This is good news. However, a visit to the Marine Harvest corporate website www.marineharvest.com tells us that this company, with head office in Oslo, Norway, is "the world’s leading seafood company and largest producer of farmed salmon." Is it "nonsensical", as Ms Backman suggests, to question the corporate concern for the well-being of Canada’s west coast?

I assume she is referring to activist and scientist Alexandra Morton, as the "source of information who is on a campaign to annihilate the current salmon farming industry." Consulting Morton’s actual words and arguments, available on the website, www.adopt-a-fry-org would disabuse Ms Backman of this view.

Morton proposes "A simple solution that would benefit the BC economy and ecology:
•Apply the Canadian Fisheries Act to fish farms as it is applied to all other marine users.
•The Provincial government could support the Canadian fish farmers who would like to reinvent the industry in tanks on land in towns starved for employment.
•Restore wild salmon using local management and the fish’s own biology."

Yes, Morton is suspicious of the absentee corporation, but she is not alone, or even the first. In an important new book "Spirit of the Nikkei Fleet; BC’s Japanese Canadian Fishermen", Masako Fukawa, discusses a fact-finding tour of Norway sponsored in 1988 by the UFAWU and the T.Buck Suzuki Foundation. The group returned convinced that "without tough regulations to control salmon farming, our wild salmon stocks may one day be annihilated."

So yes, 21 years later, the same concerns and warnings are being expressed. That does not mean we should not listen.

Phyllis Reeve
1195 Coats Drive
Gabriola BC V0R 1X4


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