Canada’s $2 billion Aquaculture industry is embroiled in controversy. While there may be some debate as to whether wild salmon spread more infections to British Columbia’s penned stock or vice versa, there have been incidents like the Queen Charlotte Strait’s 2015 sea lice epidemic. On May 20, 2016, Dr Kristi Miller, from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, announced that there is “a potential Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI) in farmed Atlantic salmon samples” collected from a aquaculture facility off the coast of Vancouver Island. In Norway, where HSMI is more common, this disease is “associated with generally low mortality on farms, generally between 0 to 20%.” The stress (and thus mortality rate) is undoubtedly greater on wild salmon, which need to capture prey, escape predators and swim upstream to spawn. So, acting on behalf of marine biologist Alexandra Morton, ECOjustice is suing Canada’s Ministry of Fisheries for putting wild salmon at risk. Some argue the best answer is to bring salmon farms on land.
Wildlife biologist Alexandra Morton has been wanting to get a close look at the salmon inside a fish farm for years. She got her opportunity on August 23, when the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw nation boarded the Marine Harvest Midsummer farm in Kingcome Inlet, BC. The video below shows what Morton found after lowered a Go Pro camera into the pens for ten minutes. She calls this hard evidence from the inside.
Alexandra Morton’s struggle against fish farms has made her a folk heroine in British Columbia. Two years ago, she approached the legal firm ecojustice with a report that aquaculture company Marine Harvest Inc. had transferred Atlantic salmon infected with piscine reovirus (PRV) into net pens located along the Fraser River salmon migration route. On May 6, 2015, they won what Morton calls a victory for wild salmon.