Remember a couple weeks ago when I told you about a foreign funded expedition by American biologist Alexandra Morton supported by American activists at the Sea Shepherd Society to "research" the BC Salmon farming industry? Well, turns out Morton and her group are engaging in activism rather than research.
I just got back from a trip up the Island to Campbell River, BC, where I went to a salmon farm operated by Marine Harvest Canada.
I found nothing close to the disinformation being spread Alexandra Morton, David Suzuki and celebrity Pamela Anderson.
The farm was clean and the only smell was that of the salty sea water around us. My guides were Ian Roberts of Marine Harvest Canada and Harold Sewid, a Hereditary Clan Chief of the Weumusgem Clan of the Qwe'Qwa'Sot'Enox First Nation.
Harold and his clan have spent their lives on the water, and he told us about the tides and the weather patterns of the day.
That’s why it is so offensive that Alexandra Morton and the Sea Shepherd Society would claim they have vast First Nations support, especially since many First Nation bands and people embrace salmon farming industry as a great employment opportunity.
Morton and her team had visited the same salmon farm we visited just two days prior. According to people there I spoke to, she and her team are simply not doing actual research but instead are engaging in activism: Lots of signs and banners, even flying a drone over the heads of people who were just trying to do their jobs.
Many of the pictures Morton published on her blog implied that the employees must have something to hide. This did not sit well with site manager John Ilett, as you’ll see in my report.
I actually sent a few of the pictures of the techniques and methods used by Morton for her “research” to a third party testing company, and spoke with biologist Lance Stewardson from Mainstream Biological Consulting about the methods and techniques that would normally be used during typical research trips.
The response I got was revealing. There is evidence that Sea Shepherd and Morton are taking short cuts or finding samples that prove their preconceived bias.
I also met with Chief John Smith of the Tlowitsis First Nations. Morton accuses them of being afraid and having something to hide, but the Chief tell us that she has never even called him.
The facts are clear: salmon farming is a great way to supplement wild stocks. But more so, they provide high paying long-term employment in a region where not much else is happening.
For First Nations members like Harold, they care deeply about the environment and if they thought that salmon farming was having a negative impact on their communities, they simply would not be on board.