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alexandra morton Blog
Echo Bay
I was a registered professional biologist who was living in a remote archipelago studying whales when the fish farmers came to my town
Recent Activity
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After nearly two decades of steep decline, the Fraser sockeye are returning in good numbers again this year. This is very good news and if we value these fish we need to know what changed, what reversed their decline? What has stopped killing them? Clearly, something good for salmon occurred... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at Fraser sockeye vs farmed salmon
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With water and sediment samples carefully packed in the back of the car I left Quesnel Lake and began heading south. I stopped at the sacred fire lit along the road to Likely, at the turnoff to Imperial Metal's Mt. Polley Mine. A small group, of mostly women and children, are holding a vigil there. The mine workers wave in support as they pass them. The miners have been hurt by this as well. Many have lost their jobs and they fear the mine will close. The failure by government to force Imperial Metals to build a proper tailing pond... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2014 at alexandra morton
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Today I set out to get samples from Polley Lake, a little lake that received so much tailing pond waste from Imperial Mines that its level was raised 1.6 meters. That works out to about 5.5 billion litres of mining waste. Polley Lake was apparently an incredible place to fish, full of trout. As we approached the lake we were met by a road block and my ride, Lionel. Lionel has been going in to Polley Lake every few days to check on the lake. Despite the seriousness of the mission. It was fun to be zooming through this beautiful... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2014 at alexandra morton
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Several people living along Quesnel Lake have asked me what I think the blue, oily - looking film on the lake is. So today I went looking for it. I found it everywhere and took samples. It is breaking up and floating among the debris. Juvenile fish are swimming among the blue film. And it is collecting along the rocks. No one knows what the future holds for Quesnel Lake and the millions of sockeye rearing in it today. Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2014 at alexandra morton
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Today I went to see the Mt Polley mining disaster for myself. First Nations that I have worked with sampling for European farm salmon viruses called me. I don't know anything about the mine tailings that exploded out of the Mt Polley tailings pond on August 4th, but I know evasive government behaviour when I see it. Frankly, I don't believe that this massive injection of mine tailings into pristine Quesnel Lake is not d angerous to life. My objective with this trip was to take samples of the water and sediment and I wanted to meet the people caught... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2014 at alexandra morton
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August 6, 2014 Dear Mr. Per Grieg Jr. owner Grieg Seafood per.grieg@grieg.no: Several weeks ago I received reports that salmon in your Skuna Bay farms were dying in large numbers. I visited these farms in Nootka Sound and confirmed the reports were accurate. I wrote a letter to your CEO, Morten Vike asking what the fish are dying of, who made the diagnosis and the actual test results so that I could repeat the tests and verify. Mr Vike did not answer my questions, instead he went to INTRAFISH and called my “allegations” “utter nonsense.” Mr Vike went on to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2014 at alexandra morton
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Dear Morten Vike: I visited your salmon farms in Nootka Sound, Gold River again this week and I am writing to inform you that your statement below is inaccurate. "We've had an algae bloom, otherwise the fish are doing fine" (July 28, 2014) The fish in your pens are not "fine"here is how I know. We launched a boat and traveled out your Concepcion Point salmon farm through the beauty of Nootka Sound. I was there to confirm that the fish in your pens are no longer dying, but when we arrived we saw quite a few salmon floating dead... Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2014 at alexandra morton
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In my blog below, I wrote a letter to the Norwegian CEO of Grieg Seafood whose thousands of Atlantic salmon are dying/died off Gold River. I expected a straightforward Norwegian answer - why the fish are dying, who made the diagnosis and the opportunity to view the test results. But Mr Vike has not answered, instead he went to the media, calling my allegations "utter nonsense". Which allegations exactly are "utter nonsense"? That there were dying fish floating on the surface? that the Atlantic salmon in their pens have red spots on their bellies? That the water was clear with... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2014 at alexandra morton
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July 24, 2014 Morton Vike CEO Grieg Seafood Bergen, Norway Dear Morten Vike: Over the past few weeks I have received reports of large numbers of dying salmon in your farms in the beautiful Nootka Sound, Gold River region of British Columbia, Canada. So I visited the area. and indeed your farms, Williamson and Concepcion have dying fish floating on the surface. The stench around your farms is overwhelming and may have prompted the many reports to me. This is an area of pristine wilderness where many enjoy their summers. Your mort bins are heaped full and sinking the float... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2014 at alexandra morton
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On Thursday, June 26, 2014, the Province of BC is holding an open-house at the Airport Inn in Port Hardy for public comment on the first two new salmon farms in what the industry hopes will be a large expansion. This is one of the final steps the Province of BC needs to perform to issue two new salmon farms Licences of Occupation, basically a rental agreement to occupy the space over the seafloor at these two sites. The federal government licences the farms, the Province is the landlord. The "client" listed on the provincial website is the Tlatlasikwala First... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2014 at alexandra morton
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There are 2 ways to donate: Pacific Coast Wild Salmon Society - Box 399, Sointula, BC V0N 3E0 - no tax receipt - funds go to outreach or go online to: GOFUNDME or Raincoast Research Society - Box 399, Sointula, BC V0N 3E0 - tax receipt provided - funds go... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2014 at DONATE
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Following the recent hearing in Federal Court of my lawsuit over the transfer of fish carrying disease agents into to the Ocean, Marine Harvest was quoted in two European news articles, Undercurrent News and FIS. Their statements suggest that the science is settled with respect to PRV and the risk it poses to wild fish in the Pacific Ocean. These statements are misleading and warrant a response. June 9 2014, I took Canada and Marine Harvest to federal asking the court to decide if it is legal for Canada to give salmon farming companies the power to transfer diseased salmon... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2014 at alexandra morton
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June 12 was Marine Harvest’s lawyers turn to present their arguments to the court. Their first presentation to the judge was about piscine reovirus. Piscine reovirus is important only because the test case that gave rise to this legal action was the transfer of infected juvenile Atlantic salmon from the Dalrymple hatchery in Sayward into a net pen salmon farm on the Fraser sockeye migration route off northern Vancouver Island. Marine Harvest’s lawyer told the judge that piscine reovirus does not come from the salmon farm sites, it comes from the wild salmon and does not kill salmon in BC.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2014 at alexandra morton
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Is Canada's Aquaculture Licence Safe for Wild Salmon? Canada would like us to believe the licence they grant to salmon farmers uses the best science and the most rigourous regulations to manage salmon farms. But it is hard to see it that way when it appears their Federal Aquaculture Licence allows transfer of farm salmon that are carrying disease pathogens into net pens right on the migration routes of BC's wild salmon. Hard to believe, I know. The transfer conditions in the Federal Aquaculture Licences puts decisions about whether infected farm salmon smolts will go into net pens in wild... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2014 at alexandra morton
Salmon farming in Canada is under increasing scrutiny by the biggest media outlets in North America! On May 11, 2014, 60 Minutes examined salmon farming in BC. On May 22, 2014 NAFTA body calls for investigation into whether Canada is protecting wild salmon from salmon farms in British Columbia. Then 80 First Nations come together in the WILD SALMON ALLIANCE and state "we have witnessed the devastating impact fish farms have on wild salmon and this is simply unacceptable." And now Bloomberg the premier financial media in North America just posted three videos raising concern that the product may damage... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2014 at alexandra morton
$26 Million and 2 Years Later: DFO must respond and implement the Cohen Recommendations News Release. May 23, 2014 (Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver – May 23, 2014) “The Harper Government established the Cohen Commission in 2009 at a cost of $26 million which heard from over 170 witnesses, over 3 years of study and resulted in a voluminous report with 75 recommendations. We are simultaneously appalled and deeply troubled by the Harper government’s deliberate destruction and refusal to implement the recommendations of the Cohen commission,” stated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “Justice Cohen got... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2014 at alexandra morton
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The salmon virus, ISAv is a member of the influenza family and is feared around the world wherever salmon are farmed. Similar to other viruses in the influenza family, ISAv has powerful shape-shifting properties. It tiptoes into new regions, a lethal shadow to the salmon farming industry. At first it does nothing. Every country, so far, has used this crucial phase to ignore ISA. It looks like they hope to avoid being branded ISA-positive and suffer the resulting trade restrictions that lower profits. But then, with very little warning ISA virus mutates, goes viral and strikes with deadly effect Norway,... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2014 at alexandra morton
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On May 12, 2014, a website called SalmonFarmScience.com wrote a blog about my appearance on the CBS TV show 60 Minutes calling me a "liar." I posted it on facebook and 5,954 people viewed it with many comments. Several people started trying to figure out who is writing Salmon Farm... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2014 at Who is calling me a liar?
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A key NAFTA body recommended today that a formal investigation take place into Canada’s failure to protect wild salmon from disease and parasites from industrial fish farms in British Columbia. This signifcant decision by the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, an environmental dispute body established under NAFTA, responds to a 2012 petition by Pacific Coast Wild Salmon Society (me), the Kwikwasu’tinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation (chief Robert Chamberlin) in Canada, the U.S.-based Center for Biological Diversity and Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. The territory of the Kwikwasu’tinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation lies between Kingcome and Knight Inlet, sometimes called... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2014 at alexandra morton
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CLICK HERE TO WATCH 60 MINUTES SEGMENT 60 Minutes has certified the issue of impact of salmon farms on wild salmon. They took BC salmon farming practices into the homes of North Americans who are eating farmed salmon and thus paying this industry to continue. They made some interesting points - the most disturbing is in the final interview, which is with Brian Wallace - senior lawyer for the Cohen Commission. Normally a very self-assured, well spoken man, Wallace stutters through the question from Sanjay Gupta refering to my work: " "She makes a claim that ISA virus has been... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2014 at alexandra morton
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On May 11, 2014, the biggest public affairs show in North Ameria will turn its penetrating spotlight on the practice of farming salmon in British Columbia. WATCH TRAILER I am glad that this industry is in the spot light. British Columbians have known for a longtime that there are serious issues with putting large schools of Atlantic salmon on wild Pacific salmon migration routes. The reason the industry is using the BC coast to grow Norwegian salmon, is the inexpensive access to the U.S. market. So it is a good thing that Americans will see where that piece of farmed... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2014 at alexandra morton
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On May 11, 2014, 60 Minutes will air a segment on BC salmon farms. In response, the BC Salmon Farmers Association put together "CBS 60 Minutes Backgrounder: Salmon Farming in British Columbia" In this blog I go through their backgrounder point by point: Seafood is indeed a healthy food choice,... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2014 at 60 Minutes backgrounder - the facts
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Dear Mr Sutherland: When applications 1414225 and 1414224 were posted on the provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations the wrong email address was provided for public comment. This was fixed, a working email address was provided after the Vancouver Sun ran an article on this with only... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2014 at Letters for Wild Salmon
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In the letter below a provincial Assistant Deputy Minister, Craig Sutherland, responds to a letter I wrote about problems in the salmon farm expansion process. A faulty email address was posted and so people's comments went nowhere. Sutherland claims that the website I am referring to is federal. However here... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2014 at Letters for Wild Salmon