Mad salmon scare, anyone?

Hey Canadian politicians, are you going to let the Alaskan fishermen and their political reps talk about Canada like this?

This is a “Blame Canada” campaign that needs a decisive political response, grounded in science.

So, Canadian politicians, get to it. NOW. Before this turns into another mad cow scare.

Anyone remember that? The BSE (mad cow disease) crisis nearly 10 years ago?

The Canadian beef industry was crippled. They lost millions. Because of one cow found with BSE, Canadian beef exports were shut down for four months, affecting 5,000 jobs and costing the industry $11 million per day.

Canada still has to wait until 2015 before it can apply for “negligible risk” status. Some countries won’t import more Canadian beef until Canada has that status again.

Meanwhile the beef industry has suffered long-term damage and still continues to suffer.

Because of one cow.

One cow.

In this case, we don’t even have a single confirmed case of ISA. We have lots of speculation, emotion and rhetoric from people such as Mr. Dale Kelley, mouthpiece for Alaskan fishermen, who would like nothing better than to see their biggest competitor – salmon farms in B.C. – go out of business.

Make no mistake. Their comments are purely economically motivated. Any environmental language is a smokescreen. Alaska may have “banned” salmon farms, but instead they started “salmon ranching” which releases billions of hatchery-raised fish, which spend a third of their life in net pens eating pellets, into the ocean to compete with truly wild fish.

And there are some ominous scientific implications to that they sure don’t want to admit, like the possibility that ranched fish could be out-competing truly wild fish and pushing the carrying capacity of the North Pacific Ocean to its limit.

Perhaps B.C. salmon are starving to death out in the ocean because the artifically-enhanced Alaskan fish got there first and ate all the food.  This is certainly a huge concern, given that according to some research “areas of suitable ocean habitat in this region [the North Pacific Ocean] are forecasted to decrease drastically due to future climatic conditions.”

Our politicians need to speak up and look at the science here, and make decisions that consider Canada’s best interests, not the financially-motivated political rhetoric from a foreign country.

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