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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
In the ongoing saga of what I view as a coverup of the effect of farm salmon disease on wild salmon, I have written to Canada's newest Minister of Fisheries. Recent internal CFIA emails reveal that the agency only wants only one lab in all of Canada to test for ISA virus in BC farmed salmon and that lab is shrouded in controversy due to its chronic inability to find diseases and pathogens that other labs are reporting. This is not acceptable and threatens not only wild salmon, but Canada's reputation, again. I think there is reason to believe that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2016 at alexandra morton
I spent this past weekend examining young wild salmon migrating through the Discovery Islands off Campbell River. These young salmon are leaving the mighty Fraser River to start their lives out in the open ocean as they have done for thousands of years, but today they have to swim through fish farm pollutants. I am studying how this pollution of viruses, bacteria and lice affects wild salmon. I have been looking at the salmon in this area since 2005. In this area I work with a team of highly-skilled locals who found themselves surrounded by fish farms. As you can... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2016 at alexandra morton
Briefing: Significance to First Nations - DFO announces new farmed salmon disease May 23, 2016 Lawsuit that triggered the announcement June 2015 - Federal Court struck down conditions of licence permitting Marine Harvest to transfer farmed salmon infected with disease into open net pens. The court ruled this activity was harmful to the protection of fish and unlawful according to the Fisheries Act. Both DFO and Marine Harvest immediately appealed this decision. The hearing date was set for May 26, 2016 in Calgary. One week before the hearing DFO suddenly asked for a five-month adjournment to consider “new information.” Three... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2016 at alexandra morton
In a technical briefing was held by phone-in only Dr. Kristi Miller of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. They confirmed for the first time that the disease Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI) was diagnosed in farmed Atlantic salmon in a farm in the Johnston Strait area of British Columbia. This is a very important finding because the virus associated with this disease, piscine reovirus (PRV), is widespread in the salmon farming industry with 70-95% of farmed Atlantic salmon testing positive. Dr. Gary Marty published a paper in 2014 that reporting that HSMI does not occur in BC. "no fish had... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2016 at alexandra morton
On Friday the 13th, the lawyer for Fisheries and Ocean wrote to my lawyers at Ecojustice asking if the appeal against me could be adjourned until some time in October. This took everyone by surprise, because only a few weeks ago the same lawyer was in such a hurry that we could not wait for a court date in Vancouver and the hearing date was set for May 26th in Calgary! In his letter of the 13th, clues were provided as to why the sudden and urgent change of heart: “We write to seek an order by consent that the... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2016 at alexandra morton
Last year I won a legal decision (thank you Ecojustice) prohibiting further transfer of farmed salmon carrying diseases into marine net-pens on the BC coast. While common sense suggests putting diseased Atlantic farm salmon in the Pacific ocean is a bad idea, the Harper government and Marine Harvest appealed the decision. We came to expect this kind action from Harper, but here's the shocker. The Trudeau government is actually going through with this appeal! Is it in the interests of Canada to spend our tax dollars to assist the salmon farmers to put diseased fish in the ocean? Furthermore, they... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2016 at alexandra morton
On March 29, 2016 a landmark Petition to the Government of Canada was sponsored by Canadian Liberal MP Bernadette Jordan. While our new Minister of Fisheries is beginning to repeat the meaningless statements of the previous Ministers who brought this industry to this country, Member of Parliament Bernadette Jordan has given us the opportunity to set the record straight on how we feel about other countries using our coasts to flush their farms. "We, the undersigned, citizens (or residents) of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to Legislate the removal of caged salmon from our oceans." Please sign and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2016 at alexandra morton
April 5, 2016 To the Honourable Minister Hunter Tootoo Thank you for your response of April 5, 2016. I am sorry that you won’t meet with me. I would like to better state my case. Indeed, you have been given an excellent mandate, but I have reason for concern that the bureaucratic structure you inherited may be having difficulty making the transition. As a result, I feel it would benefit Canadians for you to hear directly from people like myself who are on the frontlines of fisheries research in Canada. Here is my evidence: First as you note, a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2016 at alexandra morton
The Jan 2016 BC Salmon Farmers (BCSFA) report on sea lice[1] attempts to make the case that salmon farms are not the cause of sea louse infection on juvenile wild salmon in BC and that sea lice do not impact juvenile wild salmon. Their report has no name, there is no author, it is not published and there are substantive flaws. To achieve their conclusions, the BCSFA omit a large body of highly relevant science on the impact of sea lice from salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago, Musgamagw Dzawda’enuxw territory. They misquote DFO research and they misrepresent the geography... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2016 at alexandra morton
On January 6, 2016 my co-authors and I published on a new variant of the Infectious Salmon Anaemia virus (ISAV) in BC. Included were the results we released back in 2011, but now we have tested 1,105 salmon and one sea louse. We never found the whole virus, but we found fragments. We are not the only scientists to detect ISAV in British Columbia, but we are the only non-government team to detect the virus and the only ones to publish on it. For more information see: Predictably the BC Salmon Farming Association put out a press release questioning... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2016 at alexandra morton
While the negative impact of salmon farms on wild fisheries and coastal communities has become increasingly well known, recent reporting on the international salmon farming describes an industry that has lost its moral compass. The relentless growth of sea lice, viruses and bacteria, causing illegal and excessive drug use and cheating reveals farming salmon in the ocean is not working. Do we let this industry risk our oceans as it dies? Or do we intervene and force it to clean up, get into tanks and invest in its own future? What are our oceans worth? What is best for our... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2015 at alexandra morton
Marine Harvest sponsors girl’s soccer team and 14 year old player who stands up for wild salmon is muzzled The Norwegian salmon farming industry using the waters of BC to grow Atlantic salmon has been problem from the start, but in the past 4 months, the industry has sunk to new lows. This week there are reports that a 14 year-old girl on an elite soccer team on Vancouver Island has been told not to speak about why she won't wear the Marine Harvest logo on her uniform. She is now at risk of losing her place on the team.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2015 at alexandra morton
A petition asking Norway to Divest Dirty Salmon (farmed salmon) was started in March, 2015 and appeared on Facebook pages for Salmon Are Sacred and Alexandra Morton. Gradually the petition spread worldwide with 10,031 people from 72 different countries signing and 2,340 people left comments telling Norway what they think of their dirty industry, using chemicals that harm the environment and people. Norway is home to the Nobel Peace Prize. In January 2015 Norway divested its $900bn sovereign fund from dirty coal, and yet Norwegian companies are causing irrevocable damage to coastlines worldwide because they refuse to farm salmon in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2015 at alexandra morton
On September 21 we filed out of Lennie John's house into the cool predawn light. We were laughing, sharing the excitement of seeing something unprecedented and momentous. Qaamina Hunter lashed his large carved masks to his boats. Eighteen feathers for his grandchildren, 5 for his children. One mask shed tears in the shape of whales. Sacred cedar boughs were lashed to the rails. As we sped over the dark waters we wondered. Was the huge metal big agri-industrial pen system gone? Had it left under cover of darkness? Had we missed witnessing its retreat? My eyes cruised the water and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2015 at alexandra morton
Cermaq told the Ahousaht that they would remove their fish pens from Yaakswiis at dawn on Monday. They did not. It was a slap in the face of the Ahousaht Warriors who spent 9 days occupying the farm to protect the area from pollution of their food resource. On Friday Lennie John phoned Cermaq and reached James Costello. James Costello said that the Cermaq barge would be at Yaakswiis at daybreak on Monday. The farm was to be removed. This was a moment of celebration. A feast was planned for Monday evening and the people prepared to see the Cermaq... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2015 at alexandra morton
WE WON!!!!!!!!!! Ahousaht Forces Nation forces CERMAQ to remove salmon farm When Cermaq tried to anchor a new farm in Ahousaht territory in a bay called Yaakswiis, Ahousaht people stepped on the farm and told the Cermaq crew to leave (see previous post). Thus began a 9 – day occupation of the farm, meetings between Ahousaht and their leadership and support from hundreds of people throughout British Columbia, Canada and beyond. There was a rally of support in Vancouver on September 18. Called the Yaakswiis Ocean Camp, led by Lennie John, Sacheem Seitcham, and Joe John Crow the fish farm... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2015 at alexandra morton
When the Province of British Columbia recently issued the biggest salmon farm expansion in over a decade, they knew the public were not onboard with the decision. A petition with over 110,000 signatures was recently delivered to the Premier. However, the Norwegian-based companies each courted a First Nation chief and council and once they made their deals, the Province of BC felt it would be clear sailing to grant leases, despite the public demand that this industry get away from our wild fish. Four more salmon farms were given tenures to release tons of waste daily. We can’t know what... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2015 at alexandra morton
On Friday, the day before the BC Day long weekend and just before the anticipated election call, Minister Letnick announced that BC waters will get FOUR more salmon farms. The BC Liberal government just can't hear us. 110,000 people asked them not to do this. Fraser River Nations asked that the be consulted before salmon they have rights and title to were made to pass through more Atlantic salmon farm effluent and pathogens, but the BC government just plugged their ears and obeyed the four foreign companies that use the BC coast to grow salmon in pens. Yes, all these... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2015 at alexandra morton
On June 5, 2015 the federal government of Canada and Marine Harvest appealed our precedent-setting Federal Court decision that struck down aquaculture licence conditions allowing private companies to transfer fish infected with viruses into net pens in our ocean. This is so disappointing and speaks to the depravity of the situation. I am prepared to go back to Court to defend wild salmon and fight this appeal. With DFO and Marine Harvest trying to resurrect unlawful licence conditions to allow transfer of infected fish into the major wild salmon migration routes of this coast, it certainly begs the question: Is... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2015 at alexandra morton
The Premier of British Columbia believes she is good for business, but BC businesses are signing a letter asking that the sa lmon farming industry not be allowed to expand in British Columbia, Canada. Incredibly the Tofino-Long Beach Chamber of Commerce has signed. They have 21 salmon farms and 2 processing plant. If ever there was a town who should love salmon farms it is Tofino - but apparently they too don't want to see expansion. When the Premier flag-waves for the salmon farming industry - she is standing all by herself, with the people who are paid by the... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2015 at alexandra morton
Today we are delivering 108,842 signatures to the Premier of British Columbia Dear Premier Christy Clark: Please do not issue Licences of Occupation to the salmon farms trying to expand in British Columbia. Wild salmon are much too important to the world to risk for a dirty industry that refuses to contain its waste and pollutes our oceans. Living Oceans, David Suzuki Foundation, Watershed Watch and Clayoquot Action have joined me in putting out a press release on this petition. Another letter is being sent from businesses, a municipality and environmental organizations throughout British Columbia, signatories continue to flow in... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2015 at alexandra morton
Just when we thought it was safe for our young wild salmon to enter the ocean, farm salmon sea lice are back! They are eating young wild salmon to death. We were wrong to think this was the one thing the salmon farmers could fix. After I discovered the sea louse outbreak on wild juvenile salmon near salmon farms in 2001, enormous effort by First Nations, other scientists, environmentalists and the public forced the salmon farmers to delouse the farm salmon 2-3 months before our young wild salmon entered the ocean. This was expensive for the industry, but we won... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2015 at alexandra morton
Thank you!!!!! to the Ecojustice team Savannah Carr-Wilson, Lara Tessaro, Margot Venton, Morgan Blakley, Dyna Tuytle READ DECISION - Download T-789-13 - Judgment and Reasons copy.pdf (1038.2K) On May 6, 2015 The Honourable Mr. Justice Rennie handed down the decision that DFO has been unlawfully allowing the salmon farming industry to transfer farmed salmon into marine net pens that are carrying diseases with the potential to 'severely impact' the wild fishery at an international level [72]. He ruled that DFO is abdicating its legal responsibility to protect and conserve wild fish by handing off decisions about transferring fish with diseases... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2015 at alexandra morton
THE SEA LICE ARE BACK. WILD SALMON NEED YOUR HELP! Norway - recall this industry from Canada Help me educate consumers because government is missing in action As spring comes to the BC coast, young wild salmon are leaving the rivers where they were born and entering the ocean. Our pink and chum salmon take an exceptional gamble - they don't spend a year in fresh water, they leave their rivers right away, tiny slips of silver weighing less that 1/2 a gram. These two species salmon are a gift to our rivers. Adult pink and chum salmon deposit tons... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2015 at alexandra morton
The following is my speech at the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans on March 24, 2015. Check Against Delivery Thank you inviting me to testify a 2nd time. You have come face to face with the challenge of weighing what the salmon farming industry needs against what Canadians might lose by granting this industry unprecedented rights in Canada. Salmon farms grow as many animals as possible, in as small a space as possible, on an artificial diet - they are feedlots. Feedlots have profound and dangerous affect on diseases that have become a serious threat to health and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2015 at alexandra morton