Alexandra Morton’s Heartland Institute

We were glad to see that Alexandra Morton took our idle musings seriously and is now sampling wild salmon in earnest.

In fact, she’s so serious about it she wants to start her own lab because she doesn’t trust the evil government-sponsored labs.

We think this is fantastic.

If people want to give Alexandra Morton the $20 million she wants to set up a lab of her own, hey, it’s their money.

And who knows, some good data may actually come out of this. That is, if the army of brainwashed salmon farm-hating cultists she is enlisting can be trusted to take proper scientific samples, document everything properly, follow a proper chain of custody and ensure samples are not contaminated, and that sample sizes are meaningful (i.e. one fish from some spawning back-channel hardly provides any useful information indicative of any trends).

We hope this will be the case, but of course, we are skeptical. If this initiative actually goes anywhere, this will likely end up more like the Heartland Institute, a pseudoscience organization set up to deny climate change, deny effects of tobacco smoke, and promote other junk science. Sure, there’s scientific data there, but it’s highly selective, exists in a vacuum and can’t be scrutinized by outsiders. Kind of like what Morton is doing with her salmon sampling results, when she claims to have found viruses but won’t publish her data.

Perhaps Alexandra Morton’s “Department of Wild Salmon” could learn a thing or two from the Heartland Institute, and run billboards like this, suggesting that BAD PEOPLE support SALMON FARMING. YOU DON’T WANT TO BE A BAD PERSON, DO YOU?

For an explanation of why this is bad, please see our earlier post “Signs of a crank: recognizing pseudoscience.”

Actually, maybe this will be more like homeopathic institutions, which get a lot of money from well-meaning people to promote complete gibberish. And there is unfortunately no lack of people lining up to place their belief in junk science.

Meanwhile, the real scientists will keep working, and the data will tell the story as time marches on. And we’re confident the data will show, as it does now, that salmon farms pose little environmental risk, and are absolutely what we should be doing to help reduce our consumption of traditional resource-intensive protein (beef) to more sustainable protein (salmon and other farmed seafood).

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27 thoughts on “Alexandra Morton’s Heartland Institute”

  1. Paul T: I am on the East coast as well. I have worked on many river restoration & wild salmon enhancement projects. There is pertinent information available that would help to answer many of your questions.

    Importan note, all of the wild salmon in our rivers are not the same. There are two distinct species with different migration patterns, high sea & Inner Fundy. The species from the island are high sea. These fish migrate to Greenland then return as large multi sea winter salmon. Inner Fundy stocks never leave the Bay of Fundy & return as grilse to spawn in their home rivers.

    Every year on the Island you will note there are multiple fish kills in the rivers due to agricultural runoff which would definitely account for the poor salmon returns. However the Island fish are follow the same migration route that takes them to Greenland along with all the other salmon from the Atlantic coast of N.S. & the Outer Bay of Fundy runs.

    Aquacultures escapes last count I saw outnumber wild salmon at sea by 1000 to 1. They are all mixing on the feeding grounds and the wild fish have not been medicated for all the diseases/parasites amplified in the aquaculture pens. There is also the problem of interbreeding between farmed/wild fish. Studies have proven beyond a doubt such mating produces an offspring far less capable of surviving in the wild.

    Inner Fundy stocks are a totally different kettle of fish and very telling. Their migration pattern takes them directly into the heart of the salmon farming country. There is now less than 200 wild fish left spawning in the 32 NB/NS Inner bay rivers. Three years ago Parks Canada placed 3000 wild Inner Bay Salmon in pens on a salmon farm lease off Grand Manan Island. They were not fed medicated food or immunized. Within 8 months 80% were dead and the remainder dies before the year was up.

    Newfoundland has enjoyed a modes revival of its salmon runs in the past years. This has happened on all of the river systems except one, the Conn. There is a salmon farm in its estuary.

    There are many factors affecting the wild stocks not the least of which is holding/feeding 18 to 20 thousand salmon stationary in an open net pen and pretending it does not affect all of the other species/environment that depend on that eco-system.

    Thanks for your time!

    1. Thanks for providing your perspective Gary, we are not familiar with aquaculture on the east coast of Canada and your comments have been educational for us. We hope to hear more from you!

  2. Cam, I have wondered about stocks of fish. I live on the East Coast of Canada; we’ve seen declines here too. There aren’t any salmon farms on PEI rivers, and the salmon have declined here as they have for much of the Atlantic coast of North America. How can you point to salmon farming that is only found along a small portion of that total coastal area? Farmers in this part of the world used to pitch fork the fish out of the rivers. They didn’t need a license. Does that strike you as prudent management of a resource? How about urban development along rivers like the Sackville River in NS were the run has declined? Or acid rain? In NS acid rain isn’t as bad in the Northern part of the province thanks to the geology that splits NS into the Avalon northern half and the Southern Meguma Terrane dominated by shallow soils and hard bedrock. The Northern part of the province has more buffering capacity in the soil, and in some rivers like the Margaree in Cape Breton the runs there have been growing at about 500%, and have seen 30 year highs.

    There are plainly other factors that matter. As for reading, I`d suggest a paper from the past year which is highly relevant:
    Peterman, R.M., and Dorner, B. 2012. A widespread decrease in productivity of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) populations in western North America. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 69: 1255-1260.

    There are trends there across geography and time scales far greater than that of salmon farms.

    1. Thanks for the reply Paul. I did read that article. I’ll certainly concede that government mismanagement has caused the collapse of countless fish stocks around the world, but I’m sure you can understand then why I’m suspicious of the government on the west coast. I don’t doubt that fish farms follow regulations to the letter, but I have some doubt whether those regulations are stringent enough.

      I understand fish farming was pioneered in Norway to fill a void declining fish stocks. And I read somewhere that in forty years their wild salmon stocks have dwindled from 1.8 million to 200 000. That’s pretty pathetic to start with, and as one farm can hold a lot more than 200 000 fish, I guess there is a case to be made that that’s the way to go there. But I’m very concerned about where their food comes from. I’ve read that EWOS is working hard on the problem, but I still don’t trust them.

      In Norway, you’ve got to pretty much give up on the wild stocks, and I’m not ready to do that in my part of the world. I don’t know how much of Alexandra Morton’s research you’ve read, but she claims that there is no place in the world where you can see fish farms and salmon migration routes co-existing peacefully, so to speak. This site compares her work to conservative think tanks like the Heartland Institute, which by their own claim is a “Database of published research, primarily against environmentalist regulation.”

      While I understand why many people wouldn’t like the work that Morton does, this comparison seems out of touch to me, which makes me suspicious of this site. Morton is about as left wing as you can get. She spends every last dime she has on her research. Losers that put up things like the Heartland Institute are driven by greed and want of power, so they can buy a bigger boat. Exact opposite of Morton.

      When the treehuggers were fighting tooth and nail to save places like Clayoquot Sound, one of the head loggers stood up and said, “We’re not doing anything illegal. If you have a problem, make changes at the governmental level.” And some of those leaders did. That guy wound up donating money and time to the Suzuki Foundation if I’m not mistaken. He was showing his cards to them because he heard their message and wanted to help.

      Groups like Forest Ethics emerged from those protests and went on to fundamentally change the way many multi-billion corporations do business, because their eyes were opened to the fact that what they were doing was not sustainable. Unfortunately a site like this might label a group like that a bunch of loser hippy treehuggers, but when you look at what they’ve accomplished, with not a lot more than words, I’d call them some of the most influential people in the world.

      Because companies like EWOS and Mainstream are public, I have absolutely zero trust about their care for the environment, but I place absolutely zero blame on the executives and every worker. If the executives don’t find a way to increase the bottom line today, they will be replaced with someone else who does. They are not allowed to care about twenty, fifty or one hundred years in the future, or they will be fired. That’s the problem, and I have no idea how to fix it, other than the odd blog post on a pro salmon farming site, and creating alternatives to these lines of work, which I have dedicated all my time and money to for the last five years or so.

      1. You are welcome to be suspicious of this site, we welcome your skepticism. We’re not trying to change your mind, we are here to talk about the science behind salmon farming and point out how it is manipulated, misrepresented and even fabricated by people whose purpose is not to improve, but to shut down salmon farming.

        And the comparison was between Morton’s tactics and those of the Heartland Institute, which are shamefully similar: demonize anyone who disagrees with you, and guilt people into adopting your point of view.

        Finally, groups like ForestEthics ARE multi-billion dollar operations. There are almost as many paid protesters of salmon farming in B.C. as there are farm workers on the sites! If you want to make the “just protecting their jobs” argument you had better apply it to groups like Greenpeace, Living Oceans, David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics, TidesCanada, EcoTrust, West Coast Environmental Law, Georgia Strait Alliance, WaterShed Watch and all the rest. It’s their JOB to criticize and protest salmon farming. And they are more than happy to use someone like Morton, who seems authentic because she lives on the coast and spends all her money on her personal crusade against salmon farming, as a pawn.

      2. Cam I will address a few of your points, Firstly it was salmon farming that started in Norway and not fish farming that has been going on in China since circa 2500 BC
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquaculture

        Secondly , you can be assured that the people at this blog have read most if not all of Morton’s research papers and collaborations. I know I’ve read them all yet have nothing to do with this blog

        Thirdly , there is no evidence that salmon aquaculture in Norway is contributing to further demise of Atlantic Salmon stocks in Norway.

        Fourth, It could be correctly stated that Morton and her colleagues have created a
        ” database of published research primarily against salmon farming”
        As evidenced in the library in this blog. How many research papers have you read?

        Fifth, the generalist statement by Morton that there are no examples of wild and farmed salmon peacefully co-existing is impossible to confirm or deny and typical of her style. Wouldn’t the record 30 million sockeye return in 2009 to the Fraser be indicative of some level of peaceful co-existence?

        sixth; “groups like forest ethics” have been successful because of the desire to work with industry the public, and stakeholders in finding the middle ground and compromise necessary to find creative solutions to complex problems. Morton refuses to participate in the debate and continues to insist on removing all farms from the coast. no compromises no middle ground.

        seven: you mention several times in this post that you are doubtful, suspicious. and don’t trust. etc. I recommend turning those sentiments into curiosity and read more on both sides of this debate. The library on this blog is a good place to start.

        respectfully

        Bob Milne

      3. Cam, I am familiar with Morton’s work. On her say-so that farms and wild salmon can’t peacefully co-exist (that’s more of a value based statement than an objective scientific one) I simply don’t find her reasoning to be be solid. When you see parallel trends in other runs that do not migrate past salmon farms, that’s a clear indication that the presence or lack there of is not the significant factor. There are a host of other issues.

        As for EWOS and other feed manufacturers like Skretting, they are all pretty much on the same path. Reducing fish oil and fish meal in their feeds. Though I wonder if you’ve looked at this question in detail. If you buy a fillet from the grocery store, how much fish was required to produce that fillet? On those metrics, the farmed salmon is clearly a more efficient use of a resource that is used heavily. I posted a link in another thread on this site a while back, the ratio is about 10:1 for a wild salmon compared to 4.5:1 for a farmed salmon.

        I can’t help but feel that much of the rhetoric out there is disingenuous concern trolling. I too am on the left spectrum politically, but I don’t see how outright lies, omission of contradictory data, and demagoguery help in any way if the end goal is more environmental sustainability and healthy fish populations. You can look at other food industries and see the benefits where activists work together with industry. A good example is the United Egg Producers in the US working together with the Humane Society to petition Congress for a change in national standards. The welfare of the chickens will be improved in the enriched colony style caging compared to the cramped conditions of the current conventional cages. This also improves food safety as the birds will be healthier. Other benefits include less antibiotic use, which means less selective pressure for antibiotic resistance. These are wide ranging benefits that wouldn’t be as likely if the two sides weren’t working together.

  3. On the topic of misplaced energy, how do you respond to the richest man in Norway, and largest shareholder of Marine Harvest, John Fredricksen, agreeing with the idea that salmon farms should be removed from salmon migration corridors? Morton hails from the Broughton Archipelago, a salmon migration corridor.

    Doesn’t the fact that farms remain there, and that Morton is heeding the advice of the largest shareholder of Marine Harvest in trying to remove them, mean that her efforts are placed exactly where they should be? On the surface it looks like these two comments are meant to deflect attention away to pipelines so you don’t have to deal with her anymore.

    “I am worried for the wild salmon’s future. Fish farming should not be allowed in fjords with salmon rivers,” said Fredricksen in 2007 to Norway’s Altaposten. His words, not mine. He didn’t get rich by being a fool, and the last comment, in regards to threats, says salmon farms are “a perceived non existent one.” You know more than the biggest shareholder of Marine Harvest about salmon farming? Look into the wild salmon stocks of Norway and you might have a better understanding of why Fredricksen thinks the way he does.

    I commend you if you post this, and even more if you respond. It appears to me to be on topic and not a personal attack, but I don’t know how you can answer it without having some doubt in what you’re saying about Morton’s misplaced energy.

    Sincerely,

    Cam Baker

    1. Being a shareholder of a salmon farming company implies that a man who made his fortune shipping oil must be a scientific expert in interactions between farmed and wild fish? That’s a stretch.

      1. You win. You always will with arguments like that. I’ll concede that Fredrickson really doesn’t have anything at stake, even though he’s the biggest shareholder of Marine Harvest, because he’s already rich. You, on the other hand might work on a farm, and have more at stake than he does, perhaps living cheque to cheque even. You’re in a much tighter spot and would like to know that there are a few more cheques coming your way. But at some point in your life, ask yourself how the wild salmon stocks of Norway are doing, and why they collapsed, then look for a new line of work. Or if you’re just one of those engaged citizens that likes to help out your fellow salmon farmers because they’re victims of misinformation, good on you for trying to help your fellow man, but maybe you should focus your efforts elsewhere, or at least read a book or two.

    2. So, the richest man in Norway who made his money oil and other commodities (i.e. NOT a biologist) is apparently an expert on salmon and because Morton (who is definitely no expert on salmon) is agreeing with him that means that her efforts are placed exactly where they should be? I guess if I am ever looking for scientific advice regarding salmon and their habitats I should flip through the Wall Street Journal or Forbes Magazine and find some rich investors/shareholders. I commend you for having the courage to post this with your real name. Thanks for entertainment before the long weekend, Cam.

      1. Anytime, Stevo. Simon Fraser University gave her an honorary Phd because she donated millions of dollars for a new wing at their campus. Oh wait, that’s wrong. She’s banging the Dean. Nope, nope, that’s wrong too. What was it?…. Oh yeah, she knows something about fish.

    3. I invite you try and change my mind. I welcome it wholeheartedly if you have the time for me. I want to see the science that shows salmon farms can co-exist in salmon migration routes without problems, as I’ve asked below your post about zealots. I’m not sure how Forest Ethics is a multi-billion dollar operation. I know they receive money from Tides and others, but my point was their capital is knowledge, and that knowledge gave them a lot of power to fundamentally change the way many companies do business.

      But then those companies had some major protests and opposition to look to, whereas there hasn’t been anything on that level to do with fish farming. When the Norwegian fish farmers came for a tour some of them dismissed the protests as not big enough to matter.

      Per Sandberg quoted to the Norwegian press, “Of course there is resistance, but I’m not sure that it is very big. We met lots of people who speak of their communities, which were in danger of being abandoned, now flourish after getting new jobs. So the vast majority were satisfied with Norwegian companies which had established itself here.”

      He’s entitled to his conceptions and perceptions, I’m entitled to mine.

      Why should those fish farm executives be worried about long term sustainability? Apparently all the work done by “Greenpeace, Living Oceans, David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics, TidesCanada, EcoTrust, West Coast Environmental Law, Georgia Strait Alliance, WaterShed Watch and all the rest” hasn’t registered with these folks.

      What’s the science they have seen that I haven’t, that shows farms can exist in hourglass salmon migration routes without harm to those wild stocks? It seems odd that they would have that science in Norway, especially when the largest shareholder of Marine Harvest publicly states that that’s a bad idea. Isn’t that a little fishy? Pun intended. I’m begging you for the science. I promise I’ll read every word.

      thanks,
      cam

      1. Cam, thank you for keeping the conversation cordial, we will make time to continue it with you!

        This is going to be long though, be warned.

        First, the only person that can change your mind is you. Please keep in mind as we discuss these things that we’re not trying to change your mind or anyone else’s, we’re just trying to present the pro-salmon farming position, based on science, which is often ignored. It is our hope that people will see there is a whole lot more to the salmon farming story than what they have seen in the popular media.

        Our point about those environmental groups is that they are big, and move around billions of dollars. Maybe not ForestEthics on its own, but collectively, just here in BC, there are hundreds of people employed protesting salmon farming and there is a lot of grant money involved in keeping them busy. And if we are going to have a fair conversation, we need to agree that their work can be called into question just like everything else. There are no “holy scriptures” here that cannot be questioned, and that must apply to the work of ENGOs who have received quite a lot of money to protest against salmon farming. Just because an environmental group said it doesn’t make it any more or less trustworthy than what a publicly-traded salmon farming company says.

        To your next point.

        Why should fish farm executives care about long term sustainability? Because salmon farming is a long-term game. It takes three years to grow a salmon from egg to harvest. That’s three years before you make any money on that fish. And a conventional farm site costs about $5 million to build. The feed costs about three-quarters of a million per barge. There are a lot of ongoing costs that need to be managed. Farmers can’t just charge it on a Visa card for three years and pray for a good harvest to pay it all back, with a profit on top.

        But back in the early days, that’s how people saw salmon farming: as a gold rush. They figured they could knock a few log cages together, hang old fishing nets, throw some rejected hatchery fish in the water, spend as little money as possible on upkeep and live on debt for three years, and then rake in the profits. Those guys are out of business now because that is not a sustainable business model. Those guys were only around for a few harvests until they failed with massive dept loads, and their licences were bought out by people who had more long-term vision. People who realized they needed to stagger production to create cash flow, having fish in different sites at different stages of growth. People who realized that to maximize their profits, they needed to manage their production to keep the price of salmon stable, i.e. not dumping a lot of fish on the market all at once. That’s how the big salmon farming companies of today evolved. They amalgamated smaller companies, taking on more sites, developing their own broodstock programs and developing their own processing facilities so they could ensure the long-term viability of their business. They survived the ups and downs and are where they are today because of their long-term vision.

        Short version: salmon farming is more like a blue chip stock, stable, resilient and a long-term investment, not like a penny stock, which investors play with for a short time.

        Next.

        Re: the quote by John Fredericksen. We have not seen a primary source for this, if you know where we can read it in context, we would love to take a look at it. Otherwise, it currently seems to be another part of the anti-salmon farming mythos to us. And even if it is accurate, he was speaking about Europe, where Atlantic salmon have been fished almost to extinction. The situation in the Pacific is very different, with a healthy native Pacific species numbering in the tens of billions and a relatively small population of farmed fish in the ocean.

        Which brings us to the last point. Rather than unpack a lot of science in one post here, let’s speak generally for now, and hopefully we can agree that the discussion is about whether or not salmon farms negatively affect the productivity of wild salmon runs. By productivity we mean the trends in salmon runs, how many go out to sea and how many come back. We can provide some links to science today and more in the future. There is also already a lot in our Library section.

        We use that term above in bold because it is almost impossible to show whether or not salmon farms do harm to salmon on a case-by-case basis. If fish swim past a farm and die you cannot prove any connection unless you catch that dead fish before it sinks to the bottom and test it. And that is pretty much impossible. Especially because wild salmon die a lot, from a lot of things. Around 90 per cent of salmon which hatch in a stream and go out to sea die. They die in the stream, in the river, in the estuary, in the ocean on the way out, in the ocean where they live for a year or two, in the ocean on the way back, in the estuary, in the river before they spawn and definitely in the river after they spawn. They die a lot. That’s why they have evolved to pump out billions of eggs and little fry every year, and they have evolved different survival strategies even further among the different species of salmon, the different runs of the same species, and even by the stream where they are born to fill every possible ecological niche — because their death rate is extremely high.

        Pacific salmon are survivors.

        They have survived decades of rapacious canneries from the 1890s to the 1960s. They have survived human-caused ecological disasters and habitat destruction, from hydro dams to logging to landslides to wetlands being turned into farmland as the Fraser Valley has been developed over the past century. They have survived fishing fleets which put out bigger and bigger boats decade after decade, fishing on the open seas with no accountability like the Japanese motherships which would have wiped out all salmon by the 1980s if the USA and Canada didn’t finally put a stop to it. Compared to those things, how could a handful of farms in the 1980s, and now about 70 farms, have a significant impact? There are at least three times as many active log dumps in salmon habitat today. There are still power dams. Fish habitat inland continues to be developed. And now, fluctuating ocean conditions seems to be affecting the salmon, whether by killing off their food supply through acidification, choking them through depleted oxygen, increasing bacteria and viruses through warming temperatures, or simply killing them with temperatures they haven’t had time to adapt to yet, no one can say.

        Meanwhile, despite 10 years of study, no one has been able to show that sea lice on salmon farms is connected to the productivity of wild stocks. The real-world numbers don’t line up. Yes, there are studies that show a perceived risk, under certain conditions assumed by the models. But farm sea lice data compared with salmon return numbers shows no meaningful connection. This was borne out in a study published in 2010.

        And meanwhile, while many people suggest that diseases from farmed salmon can kill wild salmon, again, the real-world data shows no meaningful connection. This was borne out in one of the Cohen Commission technical reports on aquaculture, which concluded there was no meaningful connection between diseases on salmon farms, as shown by real-world disease data from the farms, and wild salmon productivity; nor was there any meaningful connection between sea lice and wild salmon productivity; nor was there any meaningful correlation between the amount of farmed salmon produced and wild salmon productivity.

        Do salmon farms kill wild salmon? Probably. If a sick wild fish can infect a farmed salmon, then it makes sense that a sick farmed salmon can infect a wild salmon. But how likely is it that this causes any significant problems? Not very likely, when you consider that once a serious disease is detected by salmon farmers (and they use qPCR testing to detect it before the fish even start showing serious signs of illness) they treat, harvest or remove all the fish. They need to keep their stock healthy. And that in turn means that wild fish passing are at low risk. And if a wild fish does get sick, it will likely lag behind the school and drop out, eaten by a predator, or die and sink.

        The short version of what we are saying here is that there simply isn’t science to show that salmon farms actually harm wild stocks in BC. There is science that suggests it is possible, and presents a varying degree of risk scenarios. But the science looking at the long-term data shows no meaningful connections between farm diseases, sea lice, production levels and wild salmon productivity.

        Sorry about the length, but you did promise you would read every word!

        We look forward to continuing the conversation, and happy thanksgiving.

      2. Thanks for the thoughtful post. I appreciate your time. I’ll try and comment paragraph by paragraph on your post. I’m not an expert on salmon farming, but I’d like to be someday, which is why I’m asking you for science. I can really only comment in layman’s terms, and from a big picture perspective. But I do have some science for you that doesn’t seem to be too hard to understand, and look forward to your comments.

        First, when comparing information from an ENGO and a publicly traded fish farming company, I’m going to tend to side with the ENGO, which is why you have your work cut out for you. But that’s just me. I agree that there are no holy scriptures, but would it be fair to assume that the people at ENGO’s on average, have a higher level of education than fish farm workers? Maybe not the executives, but I’d go with a definite on the workers. And I will assert that education is king.

        I think your point is that ENGO’s receive money to protest against fish farms, so they have to be questioned. I’ll throw it out there that there are a plethora of other problems those groups would like to be studying, and protesting against if they thought it was necessary.

        Why should fish farm executives care about long term sustainability?

        I agree 100% with your answer. But I didn’t go far enough in defining my question. What I meant to have asked, is why should fish farm executives be worried about wild salmon stocks?

        Other than having to deal with salmon farm protesters, it doesn’t seem to matter to me for fish farmers if wild stocks collapse. In fact, I believe it totally enhances their case for expansion, which is corroborated by the fact that it is a common phrase used by the industry. “There is not enough wild salmon to supply global demand, so salmon farming helps with that.” You know the one.

        On top of that, if there are no wild fish, there is less chance they can spread disease to the penned fish, right?

        If you look at Norway, some of the studies done on the negative effects of salmon farming couldn’t include that country because they claimed there are not enough wild stocks left to serve as a control. That sucks the big one.

        In your paragraph about fish farming of old you make some strong points, but please remember them when you wonder why people are suspicious of your industry. I know that’s why you set up this site, so you’re doing what you can, but I can promise you the general public is not aware that 100% of the fish farm crooks have gone out of business. I believe their actions provide complete justification for all the ENGO’s to watch what’s going on and report on it.

        Then there’s the fact that Marine Harvest is a public company, and on top of that, foreign owned. If you add my perception that extinct wild salmon stocks benefit the case for farms to expand, that’s four strikes.

        As far as the Fredricksen quote, he apparently said it to Alposten in 2007. I googled them but it’s all Norwegian and I can’t understand it. They do exist though, and it’s not hard for me to believe that he said it because it just seems logical.

        Like I mentioned before, even though Fredricksen is the largest shareholder of Marine Harvest, I don’t think he has that much at stake because he’s already rich. It was dumb of me to ask Dave or LMB if they knew more than him about fish, and I paid for it with some witty replies. I wrote that sentence too fast.

        But how much do they really know about fish, compared to Fredricksen? I never did get that answer and I wonder. Are they biologists? Kudos to them if they are but you would think I would have heard about it by now. Do they have a team of biologists advising them? Or a team of fish farm experts? I bet Fredricksen does. Steve seems to assert that biologists are the only ones qualified to comment on salmon and their habitat.

        And as to their witty replies, I’m actually disappointed that I was able to reply back the way I did. Not personally. It was fun to do that, but in regards to the integrity of their arguments, I want a better fight. Give me something bigger to scrap with, not some locker room talk I can dismiss so easily with logic.

        So much of your case seems to be on the unreliability of Alexandra Morton’s “junk science.” I’m interested to know why it’s junk science. Please lay that out for me if you have time.

        Steve describes Morton as someone “(who is definitely no expert on salmon)”. Really Steve? Really, everyone on this site? No she doesn’t have a PhD in sockeye salmon, but a thirty second glance at her life experience on Wikipedia puts her, to me, in the top 1% of likely candidates to know a hell of a lot about what’s going on with marine life in the Broughton Archipelago. How many of you know her story, all the way back? Look at the awards she has won. Does anyone know if Per Sandberg has won any awards? I’m honestly curious about that.

        Character is what makes a human being. Do the choices one makes in life define their character? I’d say that’s the definition of character. I study writing, and that’s one of things I learned about building characters in story. It doesn’t matter much what they look like, wear, or how they talk, it is the decisions they make that define their character. And as you go along, building your story, you get to have an idea of how that character will react to new situations, based on previous choices they’ve made. Stray too far from that line and you’ve lost the credibility of your character. Then you the experts predict you will lose the audience, and that story never gets told.

        So at this point, you might say that Alexandra Morton has lost the credibility of her character, because of things she’s done. And I have asked you to lay those facts out to me. But I suspect that there will be explanations for her decisions, by looking at the choices she’s made in her life up until now. Morton isn’t giving up, and her story is starting to getting told, so that says something.

        I’d like to compare some of her history to Per Sanberg’s as per Wikipedia. Here’s some background on Per from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Per_Sandberg.

        “In 2007 Sandberg claimed Al Gore of being “a big fraud”, a “Christian-fundamentalist” and “super-capitalist who have earned over 600 million NOK on the climate cause”.[8]

        He made headlines when in January 1997 he headbutted and punched an asylum seeker from Yugoslavia in the face after the latter had called him “pale-white, fat and rich” and “racist”.[9] Sandberg was fined 3,000 NOK.[5]

        In mid-autumn 2006, Sandberg, who is his party’s spokesman for transport, was caught driving at a speed of 100 km/h in a 60 km/h zone i Målselv in Troms fylke, for which he got a suspended sentence of 21 days, lost his driver’s license for eight months and was fined NOK 9,000.[10]

        On 12 December 2006 he addressed the Norwegian parliament (Stortinget) having consumed three shots of Akvavit and a beer.[11] The president of the parliament, Thorbjørn Jagland, said that “to address parliament under the influence of alcohol is something one just does not do. It has got to do with respect for parliament and for one self”. The Progress Party leader Siv Jensen expressed her satisfaction with her deputy’s speech, but anonymous members of the parliament were critical of Sandberg.”

        It only takes a few minutes to read up on Alexandra Morton’s background on Wikipedia here:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandra_Morton

        Unlike Steve would have the world believe, I believe there’s a fair amount of things there that make her very qualified to comment on wild salmon stocks. She didn’t just show up a couple years ago on the coast. She’s been there for a long time, studying orcas and trying to help them, trying to rebuild salmon streams.

        I understand that all her work to do with salmon farms comes under the heading “Later Work”, but she’s been doing that later work for a long time now. And she does have a degree in science. And an honorary doctorate from SFU, as I pointed out earlier. They don’t give those out to chumps. Or do they? Can you show me an honorary doctorate from SFU that has been retracted because they screwed up?

        Here’s the entire paragraph under “Later Work”:

        “Net-pen salmon farms arrived in British Columbia in the 1970s but began to proliferate by the late 1980s. Since then, the salmon farming industry has grown, notably in the Broughton Archipelago. Starting in 1993, Morton began an active campaign against Acoustic Harassment Devices (AHD), which salmon farmers used to deter seals that approached the farms. Sound being killer whales’ main tool for foraging and travelling, most of them left the Broughton Archipelago. Morton’s campaign, which included sending 10,000 letters to government officials, paid off in 2001 when salmon farmers withdrew the use of AHDs.[9] However, the killer whales have not come back to the Archipelago. Morton has been studying the effects of sea lice on wild salmon populations. By collaborating with international scientists, Morton has documented the loss of the whales, thousands of escaped farm salmon, including Atlantic salmon, lethal outbreaks of sea lice, and antibiotic resistance near salmon farms. She has called for further efforts to limit the spread of sea lice and move salmon farms further offshore so they have less impact on wild salmon.[10]”

        Is she such a monster? Even here she’s not saying every single farm must be removed, though I don’t doubt she’d like to see every open net pen removed from the sea. It just seems logical to me that for now, getting them out of migration routes will save wild salmon stocks.

        Now let’s say you just showed up from Mars. And you hear about this salmon farm situation, and you hear the comment from Per Sandberg that some people don’t like the farms, but generally, most people do because they’re helping communities that were in danger of being abandoned flourish once again. And you read up on his background. It appears that judging by what he thinks about Al Gore that he could be a fan of the Heartland Institute. And he’s a voice for salmon farming. If he’s not a voice, he’s at least a decision maker. Ouch.

        Then you read up on Alexandra Morton’s background and hear that she says there are major issues with salmon farms harming the wild stocks. And you understand that she’s pouring every cent she has, and every waking moment into studies to produce more research.

        As a Martian, who would you be more inclined to believe? Per, because he’s helping communities flourish, or Alexandra because she gives a shit about nature?

        Is it so hard to believe that someone would dedicate their life to fish, just for the sake of saving fish? Not wanting fame or fortune from it, but a legacy of healthy salmon populations? I could be wrong, but I’ll be she lives in poverty to do what she does. I’ll bet Per doesn’t live in poverty.

        For the record, what communities are flourishing now because of salmon farming? Not just getting along, but actually flourishing? From my rough estimate, and feel free to correct me on this because I really want some solid numbers on this one, fish farming may have brought the on reserve unemployment rate of the Ahousaht from 80% to 60%. They have roughly 2000 members on and off reserve and as of Feb 2012 they have 85 full time fish farm workers.

        Chief Councillor John Frank says that those jobs are a blessing to them, but he also says that they have a 60% unemployment rate still. That’s hardly flourishing, but I can hardly blame them for desperately wanting any job that means they can live in their traditional territory. They have lived in desperate poverty for so long, and the Canadian government has not ceased to screw them over royally. It continues to this day.

        I’m keen on finding out about the communities that are flourishing thanks to Per’s work, and learning more about them.

        To be honest, the reason I have asked your for the science on salmon farms in migration routes getting along with wild stocks is because I don’t think you have it. If you, as a site about salmon farming science, can’t point to anywhere in the world where salmon farms get along just fine with wild stocks in migration routes, then I think the case for getting them the %$^# out of those routes has huge merit.

        WHETHER OR NOT SALMON FARMS NEGATIVELY AFFECT THE PRODUCTIVITY OF WILD SALMON RUNS.

        Here’s my science. I have read them both, and other than the math equations, I have a grasp of what they’re saying.

        A Global Assessment of Salmon Aquaculture Impacts on Wild Salmonids

        http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pbio.0060033

        Global Assessment of Aquaculture Impacts on Wild Salmon

        http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lenfestocean.org%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Ffordmyersloprs2.08.pdf&h=KAQExfESF&s=1

        Here’s what they say in RESULTS of the second one.

        “Most of the paired comparisons showed that survival rates and returns to natal spawning grounds of wild salmon exposed to fish farms decreased compared to the unexposed fish, and these decreases were often 50 percent or greater per generation (see graph below). Although the differences between the exposed and unexposed groups were not large enough to be statistically significant in every comparison, when the paired comparisons were averaged across all the regions and populations, large and statistically significant declines in survival and returns were observed.

        The authors also concluded that alternative explanations for the differences between the exposed and unexposed wild populations were less likely than the impacts of aquaculture. First, the authors observed that while wild salmon populations in many of their study regions (both exposed and control) had declined before the start of farming, since the start of salmon farming, declines in exposed regions were faster than those in unexposed sites. Second, exposed areas did not appear to differ significantly in human development from the control, or unexposed, study sites. Third, there were no large differences among study sites due to climate, because differences in latitude among study sites were small and many of the wild populations used in the study appear to respond similarly to changes in climate.

        The study’s observed negative impacts of aquaculture did not correlate linearly with the amount of salmon produced at each farm, perhaps because improvements in aquaculture management may decrease the impacts of farming on a per ton basis. Nevertheless, the authors conclude that their estimates of large negative effects of fish farms on wild salmon indicate that as the industry continues to grow, aquaculture management practices must be improved to reduce impacts on wild salmon.”

        So what’s wrong with the science that produced these claims? How are they not in the real world and meaningful? You must like the fact that negative impacts of aquaculture don’t correlate linearly with tonnage. But can you honestly disagree that there are negative impacts on wild stocks? Really?

        You mention that salmon are survivors. Agreed. They must have had a heck of a time during that last ice age, but they came back strong. And you ask this, “Compared to those things, how could a handful of farms in the 1980s, and now about 70 farms, have a significant impact”

        Because the ones I’m most concerned about are parked right in the hourglass pinch points of salmon migration routes, and the facts show me that those runs are decreasing in numbers.

        If you are implying that salmon farms are not the only ones messing with wild salmon, and that salmon farming is entitled to mess with them a bit because others do, then that’s the weakest point you’ve made. That’s like a kid coming home and getting beat up by his big brother. So the kid complains to mommy and big brother says that lots of kids beat up on him at school, so why can’t he? But that’s probably not the point you were getting at. I hope not. Because a case could be made that the kids at school are retarded, and don’t know any better.

        Look at the logging industry and what it did to salmon stocks. A lot of people made lots of money for awhile, but they had no idea what they were doing at first. Then lots of them knew, but they didn’t care. Then they took it too far, and the protesters stood up. Then some of those protesters push back hard, and changed the way things are done.

        Is removing salmon farms from salmon migration corridors too much to ask for now?
        You say that the science shows that there is little risk to the environment. How are you not being selective of the science you choose to believe? I’ve already asked what’s wrong with the science that says salmon farming is negatively affecting the productivity of wild salmon runs, and I look forward to your detailed explanation, in addition to the many other answers to questions I have asked.

        Have a great Thanksgiving.

        thanks a bunch,

        Cam

      3. Hi Cam,

        For now we will respond to your points about the Ransom and Myers study and will post more later. We have looked through this study before, and there are several problems.

        First of all, we are mostly here to talk about B.C., the only place in the world where salmon farming goes on alongside Pacific salmon runs. (EDIT: We neglected to mention that there are salmon farms in Washington State, and in Alaska, the practice of raising pink salmon in net pens in the ocean near river mouths and then releasing them for ‘ranching’ is definitely a form of farming.)

        Here is what the study says:

        In British Columbia (Pacific Canada), only pink salmon showed significant declines correlated with salmon aquaculture.

        There is some serious extrapolation and estimation going on here to get this conclusion, as you can see in Figure 2.

        It appears they based this estimate of decline on predictions of pink salmon doom made in the 2007 Krkosek and Morton study, predictions which were proven wrong and flawed and which Krkosek and Morton later followed up in another study which found no statistical difference in survival between wild salmon in a region with salmon farms and wild salmon in a region without salmon farms.

        They also excluded rivers with any salmon enhancement projects or hatcheries:

        All rivers known to be regularly stocked with hatchery salmon or to contain constructed spawning channels were also removed from exposed and control areas.

        Surely this must have had some effect on skewing the results by excluding significant river systems which almost all have enhancement projects, and basing predictions of decline on some small river systems with small sample sizes in which fluctuations translate into huge percentage points.

        The real world shows that pink salmon in B.C. are doing very well. In fact, since the Ransom and Myers study was published, there were great returns of pink salmon in 2009 and 2011.

      4. cam, we will try and address a few more of your points here.

        First: why should fish farm executives be worried about wild stocks? Because if they have any hand in harming them, the public will no longer want them to operate in the ocean and politicians will pull the plug on salmon farms. Simple. So it is in the best interests of fish farm executives to make sure their farms don’t do harm. It’s a different business world now than it was in the 1980s. All businesses in North America have to carefully mitigate their environmental impacts. Those that don’t, go out of business as shareholders drop them like hot potatoes when something goes wrong.

        Second: re: Morton. We don’t really care about her personal life story. It’s powerful and moving and rings of authenticity and gets lots of people to listen to her. But how you feel when you listen to her doesn’t make her science right or wrong. Lots of smart people passionately believe things that are totally wrong, and devote their lives to causes that are false. Lots of these people have managed to persuade countless others to share their wrong beliefs.

        We don’t care what she or others believe. What matters to us, in the context of what we talk about on this website and when we talk about salmon farms and wild salmon together in the same ocean, is science, and where the facts lead us. Personality doesn’t matter. Some of the greatest scientific discoveries and advances have come from people who were unlikeable, or who had boring stories to tell.

        Morton has made some great contributions to salmon science in that she has drawn attention to the relationships between farmed and wild salmon, and prompted many other scientists to do research.

        But much of the science she has published about sea lice has been shown to be flawed, based on inaccurate assumptions, or simply lacking context to put the data in a proper perspective, skewing it in favour of her conclusions. She has made predictions that pink salmon in the Broughton would be extinct by now. They are clearly not. Salmon farms didn’t change their practices so much after she made these predictions that the pinks could make a miraculous discovery. No, the most logical explanation is that her predictions were wrong.

        She has done this many times, and continues to do so. She starts with a conclusion — salmon farms are bad, and are killing wild salmon — and always works backwards from this. She did it with furunculosis, did it with sea lice, and is now doing it with fish diseases. She has been wrong about them all in the past, and will be wrong about fish diseases too.

        That — working backwards from a conclusion, with confirmation bias — is junk science.

        Third: disease. You misread Noakes’s comments. He is being a careful scientist here, pointing out that while there is no connection between farm disease data and wild salmon returns in the years examined, there is a gap in knowledge. We simply don’t have information about diseases in wild salmon. Noakes deals in facts, and he is pointing out that there is information missing which would be helpful in answering questions about whether or not salmon farms have any disease effects on wild salmon.

        Morton, on the other hand, feels free to speculate with information presented by Kyle Garver, virologist at the Pacific Biological Station. Garver talked about a modelling study they did to find out how infectious salmon could be when infected with the IHN virus. Morton conveniently excludes all the contextual information about this study Garver offered to explain the “billions of virus particles” comment. Garver explained the scenario assumed a very high level of mortality, i.e. hundreds of dead fish floating on the surface of the pens. He also explained that the ability of the virus to survive outside a host drops rapidly the farther you get away from the farm. The virus dies within minutes in sunlight. It is destroyed by bacteria in ocean water. So even though there could be billions of virus particles, that does not mean there is a danger. We talked about this and the risk of virus amplification several months ago. As well, some of Garver’s earlier research is in our library. It’s from 2002, but presents some interesting information about IHN, the long-term monitoring scientists are doing and where they think it might come from.

        In short, scientists don’t know for sure how to explain the cycles of IHN infection. They know that wild salmon carry the virus. They know that farmed salmon go into the ocean free of the virus. They know that every year fish spawn carrying the virus, but in different degrees of infection from year to year. They know that if infected farms are quickly cleaned out, they pose little risk to wild salmon, and they have told us so. But they all agree there’s a lot more work to be done.

        Finally, you keep asking us for science to show that farmed and wild salmon can co-exist. We say in return, look at the last 30 years in B.C. There’s the best long-term data set you will ever find. They have been co-existing for that long. Many studies have been done to show that farmed salmon are killing wild salmon. None of them have been definitive. They have raised concerns, however, and in return, salmon farms have improved their practices over time. They are not perfect and have a long way to go. And we must say that yes, salmon farms probably do kill some wild salmon. But not so much that it makes any difference on their survival.

      5. I just finished reading the Noakes report. That’s an impressive document, the kind of thing I’ve been looking for. Doctors out the ying yang. I love the fact they showed the reviewers’ comments and the author’s responses to them. I sure hope they know what they’re talking about, because they seem to give salmon farming a pretty clean bill of health. I’m still suspect for many reasons, but more optimistic and interested in learning more.

        This paragraph interests me:

        “A significant problem in assessing the impact of disease on the survival of sockeye salmon is that there is no ongoing monitoring of the diseases identified by Kent (2011) for any species of wild or hatchery Pacific salmon in BC. With very few exceptions (such as studying in-river mortality of sockeye), monitoring of disease in hatchery and wild Pacific salmon is only done in responses to emergencies or crises and the fish health records do not accurately reflect the level of disease in wild or hatchery salmon. All of these diseases are endemic to the west coast and at any point in time most if not all will be present to some degree at sub-clinical (no obvious signs of disease) or clinical (obvious symptoms) levels in wild and hatchery Pacific salmon (Kent et al. 1998). Also, even if a particular disease is an issue on salmon farms, there is no way of knowing whether the same disease is causing problems for Fraser River sockeye salmon and if so whether the source of the infection is from other wild or hatchery fish or from salmon farms. The disease data from salmon farms provides some insight on the impact (from a disease perspective) from salmon farms but unfortunately no information about why Fraser River sockeye salmon died. The lack of disease data for wild and hatchery Pacific salmon is an issue that must be addressed.”

        The Noakes report seems to claim that salmon farming has very little, if any, effect on wild sockeye salmon populations in the Fraser River. But the above paragraph seems to say that if it is disease that is that harming the Fraser River sockeye runs, we wouldn’t be able to tell because there isn’t enough data. But the report then goes on to say that if it’s IHN that’s killing sockeye, the data shows that it’s not caused by fish farms. And those tables only go back to 2002, or am I missing something? Maybe it’s in the papers he quoted that I haven’t read. For the 2009 run you’d be looking for disease in farms in 2005 right? I’m not just concerned about 2009. There seems to be a pretty consistent downward trend, even though 2010 was big, right?

        Noakes seems to be able to beat off the critics pretty handily a lot of the time, no pun intended, but if he’s going to say “there is no way of knowing whether the same disease is causing problems for Fraser River sockeye salmon and if so whether the source of the infection is from other wild or hatchery fish or from salmon farms,” should he be concluding so strongly that fish farms don’t have a negative impact on the sockeye? Just because there’s no apparent smoking gun that doesn’t mean a ninja didn’t do it.

        The global assessment of aquaculture documents that I’ve read weren’t really addressed in the Noakes report, but that’s understandable as it’s specific to sockeye on the Fraser. The only thing that seems to be related to them in the Noakes report, from what I gathered, is the mention of some strong pink runs lately, which must have happened after those global assessments were published? Is that right? These documents still paint a pretty gloomy picture of salmon farming around the world, and I’m curious if anyone has refuted the claims they make in any articles lately.

        But as Alexandra Morton notes in regards to IHN,

        “Scientists report the virus is of high risk to the Fraser sockeye, can live up to three weeks in saltwater and a single infected farm produces hundreds of billions of IHN viral particles an hour. The farm in question is near the mouth of the Fraser River, meaning adult salmon passed through a IHN viral cloud just before entering the nursery areas of Adams Lake, Scotch Creek, Takla Landing, Chilko, Shuswap, Horsefly, Gates Creek, Birkenhead, Nicola, Weaver…. There is nothing natural about a school of 300,000 Atlantic salmon shedding IHN virus into the Fraser sockeye migration exposing the young salmon fry rearing in the river.”

        So IHN is back again it appears. How does that happen? A bad batch of vaccine?

        Also, she claims that the sockeye populations that are not migrating through salmon farm areas seem to be coming back stronger than those that do.

        What do you make of these points?

        thanks,
        cam

      6. Quote from Cam Baker: “Steve describes Morton as someone “(who is definitely no expert on salmon)”. Really Steve? Really, everyone on this site? No she doesn’t have a PhD in sockeye salmon, but a thirty second glance at her life experience on Wikipedia puts her, to me, in the top 1% of likely candidates to know a hell of a lot about what’s going on with marine life in the Broughton Archipelago. How many of you know her story, all the way back? Look at the awards she has won. Does anyone know if Per Sandberg has won any awards? I’m honestly curious about that.”

        Look at her own bio, educational background and degrees. Alexandra Morton started out researching Killer Whales. This is what brought her to the Broughton Archipelago with her husbad. Top 1% of likely candidates?? Put down your pom-poms and look at her credentials. She is not a Fisheries Biologist, Fish Pathologist or Virologist. If you ever critically looked at what she writes about salmon she is clearly incorrect. If she is in the top 1% she would not be getting corrected as many times as she does already. Here is some things to consider:

        http://www.salmonfarmers.org/sites/default/files/ihn_corrections.pdf
        http://www.salmonfarmers.org/sites/default/files/morton-chinook.pdf
        http://www.salmonfarmers.org/sites/default/files/morton-petition.pdf
        http://www2.canada.com/nanaimodailynews/opinion/story.html?id=48b60ebb-b141-48a1-9821-7f38bcb428a5

        Want more? This is barely skimming the surface, Cam.

        The last item was a letter from an actual fish pathologist. One with training and an actual PhD that involved defending a thesis – not an honourary degree.

    4. Thanks Bob, as you might notice on some of my other posts I have started reading some of the stuff from the Cohen commission. I’m surprised, impressed, and interested in learning more.

      1. Cam, you may be interested in knowing that although there is an effective vaccine against the IHN virus available It is currently seldom employed in BC due to the relative rarity of out breaks on farms and inhibitive cost of the treatment. Also the IHN virus is cyclical and the prevalence varies from year to year for reasons currently unknown. So I’m pretty sure you can rule out the ” bad batch of vaccine” hypothesis..

        Which global assessments of aquaculture are you referring to?

      2. Thanks for the reply on the Ransom Myers study. I’ll look into that more. For now, here is some info about Fredricksen and his comments about removing farms from fjords with wild salmon populations.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/3304752/No-salmon-farms-near-wild-salmon.html

        Here’s a whole bunch of folks encouraging Marine Harvest to follow Fredricksen’s advice.

        http://puresalmon.org/documents/marine_harvest_ltr_070919.pdf

        And here’s where you can read the original article from July 19, 2007, in the Alposten, if you can understand Norwegian.

        http://www.altaposten.no/lokalt/nyheter/article97997.ece

        Still fishy to me.

      3. Good answer Salmon Farm Science. Please excuse me, I’ve been debating my Republican cousin for too long. I’m not used to the other side being interested in facts, let alone having some. This is refreshing. But I must blame myself mostly for breaking my own promise of reading every word you sent. I glossed over your links in your first long letter without reading them before I responded, perhaps because the links weren’t what I wanted to hear, perhaps because I couldn’t believe what they were saying, or maybe just because they just weren’t broken out of the paragraph and I missed them in my excitement to respond. I think it was partly the last one because I remember being appreciative of the long letter, but still wanting to read some reports. So I looked again.

        If Alexandra Morton has been knowingly misleading people, that’s a bummer, and I hope that stops. I know she’s worked incredibly hard to bring some changes to the industry that make it better, and for that I will always admire her. Maybe she has even prevented a catastrophe or two.

        I guess her case now would be a corrupt government got the science they wanted out of people like Noakes. If you know much about how the Canadian government treats aboriginal people, you might agree that our government is far from perfect. I hate the way they ignore basic human rights like running water, health care, education, and housing, and that makes them corrupt to me. If they can be corrupt with our aboriginal people, I suppose it’s possible to be corrupt with other things. Their decision to cut funding to DFO when so many people seem to be recommending more science doesn’t help.

        That being said, I find this link to be both misleading and ironic:

        http://beforeitsnews.com/health/2012/08/warning-eating-farm-raised-salmon-causes-cancer-2447326.html

        It’s on a site called “Before It’s News”, and the “current study” link goes to Global Assessment of Organic Contaminants in Farmed Salmon, from 2003.

        I understand MIddaugh et al responded to that report, and Foran et al responded back, which is the article that got me most fired up about salmon farming when I saw it a few years ago.

        “Further, given our vast knowledge of the toxicokinetic behavior and toxicologic effects of dioxin and other bioaccumulative compounds in farmed Atlantic salmon, requiring human biomonitoring before issuing consumption advice is akin to continuing a clinical trial of a drug where unacceptable adverse effects have already been demonstrated. Clearly, responsible public health professionals should strenuously object to such an approach.”

        One of Middaugh’s points was that lots of people don’t eat the skin, so if you take that off and trim the fat the readings won’t be so bad. Even if that’s the case, how is that relevant when there is no advise to the consumer that they shouldn’t eat the skin or the fat? Middaugh also said toxic levels go down when you cook it. What about the many restaurants that serve it as sushi?

        I don’t doubt you have some light to shed on these thoughts and look forward it.

        In regards to the links I sent about Fredriksen, what do you make of them?

        thanks,
        cam

      4. Thanks for continuing the conversation, Cam and we’ll try and be more concise! Sometimes with these topics it is challenging and we really appreciate you taking the time to read, reflect and share your views.

        We’ll start by talking about the Fredricksen quote. Thanks for providing those links, we had a read and they certainly seem legitimate, and are presented in context. We don’t doubt now that he said it and meant it, and perhaps in Europe, where wild Atlantic salmon are at risk from genetic pollution from escaped farmed fish, there’s certainly some sense in what he says. Where wild Atlantic salmon are struggling, and where they farm the same species, putting some more distance between them could help.

        We know this will sound like a cop-out, but it’s true. Here on the BC coast most farms grow Atlantics, which cannot interbreed with Pacific salmon. As well, wild Pacific runs are generally healthy, and number in the billions. Billions go out to sea, and hundreds of millions come back. Also, since practically every stream, ditch, lagoon and pond on Vancouver Island and on the southern BC Coast seems to be salmon habitat, it would be very hard to find somewhere off wild salmon migration routes to move farms. So Frederiksen’s thoughts don’t seem terribly applicable in BC.

        Second, we have explored the PCB issue in a couple of previous posts:

        Dioxins and PCBs: Not worth worrying about

        PCBs in Europe: Not a big deal there, either

        Our opinion is that the concerns about PCBs and dioxins in farmed salmon have been ridiculously overblown, especially considering (as we point out in our above posts) that the actual levels are so low, they are well below the daily consumption limits set by the FDA for baby food.

        Unfortunately, PCBs and dioxins are everywhere in our food supply. They are in beef, butter, salmon and many other foods. But the good news is that they are only present in minute quantities.

        There are many more things we encounter every day that are a higher risk of cancer than the risk associated with eating farmed salmon once or twice per week. Just spending time outside in the sunlight is a much greater risk!

        If you’re still concerned, don’t eat the skin or the grey fat layer between the skin and the flesh. And if you love sushi, the skin and fat layer are removed before preparing sushi so you can continue to enjoy it without any concerns of contaminants.

  4. Wow,can’t wait to see her business plan for this latest media misadventure. Pulling together 20 million dollars would take deep, very deep pocketed supporters and all the rich people I know are certainly not fools, so I wonder … who or what group would invest in something like this, knowing Ms. Morton’s background of misrepresentation of facts, misintrepretation of data and outright deceit?
    Last I heard she was still calling for donations for analysis of already collected samples… about 70k short. Hey, maybe super rich American Mum will come thru, lol.
    Just think of all the good for wild salmon this passionate and energetic woman could really do if she wasn’t focused entirely on removing salmon farms from BC. I for one would love to see her take on IPP’s and potential pipeline expansions.

    1. I was thinking the exact same thing! All this misplaced energy would be far more beneficial and relevant if she focused on the ACTUAL threat the pipeline poses. As opposed to a perceived non existent one.

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