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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
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
On March 24 at ~2pm Pacific time I will be testifying for a second time in front of the Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. It will be broadcast live at: This Senate Committee is studying the regulation of aquaculture, current challenges and future prospects for the industry in Canada This senate committee is reviewing aquaculture regulation in Canada. On the list of considerations is whether to remove section 36 of the Fisheries Act , which prohibits release of substances that kill fish. The salmon farming industry is struggling with drug resistant sea lice. In Norway sea lice... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2015 at alexandra morton
Petition to Divest Dirty Salmon - Click Here Petition to Divest Dirty Salmon - Click Here On February 20, 2015 I launched a DIVEST DIRTY SALMON petition directed at Norway, a country of high moral standards that is the birthplace and engine behind a very dirty industry - salmon farming. Imagine, an industry waltzes into other countries and runs an open sewer from its feedlots into the most valuable wild salmon habitats in the world. It's bad enough that Canada is so eager to please Norway that we trade food sovereignty and the much larger wild salmon economy for a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2015 at alexandra morton
Dear citizens of Norway please divest from DIRTY SALMON. Sign the letter: Norway recently divested its enormous sovereign wealth fund from dirty coal and oil. What about dirty salmon? Most of the BC salmon farming industry has its head offices in Norway. We are asking Norwegians to divest from these companies to inspire this industry to mature and clean itself up. Norway is a country of high moral standards, they choose the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. Norwegians are trying to protect their wild fish from this industry too. People from France, Denmark, Canada, Sweden and Norway are signing and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2015 at alexandra morton
Click here to Stand Up For Wild Salmon. Comment on two new salmon farms on BC coast. Cutoff date for comment is Feb 24. Local people speak to Grieg Seafood at open house on February 10 in Port McNeill. 120 people pack the house. The trouble with these two salmon farm applications: They set precendent in allowing farms closer than 3 km, which was set by the Province of BC. They set precedent in allowing shellfish leases to be flipped to become fin fish farms. If this goes through many shellfish leases will be turned into salmon farms These farms... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2015 at alexandra morton
Despite the uproar in Norway, Norwegian companies trying to expand in British Columbia. Escaped, diseased steelhead in Norway, many have no eyes The strong reaction by Norwegian fishermen to the massive escape of diseased North American steelhead into Norway's fjords has not let up. In fact, they have inspired the Norwegian government to enact a new law that would see fines laid for letting farmed salmon escape. However, the damage has been done. On Sunday, Feb 8, Dr. Are Nylund, leading virologist at the University of Bergen, who is testing these steelhead for free because he is so concerned, reports... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2015 at alexandra morton
On January 10th a hurricane hit the southern end of Norway, near Bergen. It was forecast in the days leading up to the storm and the salmon farming industry claimed they were ready, that the chains anchoring their pens full of fish could withstand the winds, that there would be no escapes. This was important, because Norway had just informed the industry there would be zero tolerance for escapes. The science on escaped Atlantic salmon in Norway, reports that farmed salmon will breed with wild salmon and create offspring, but that these hybrids will fail to return home. Therefore, wild... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2015 at alexandra morton
The salmon farming industry has awoken from a year of slumber and is on the move. It is expanding getting more drugs and being certified as sustainable... Here is what you can do. New sites: Two new applications have been made by the Norwegian family-owned Grieg Seafood to the Province of BC. Premier Clark is the landlord of this industry, deciding where the farms are put. The Grieg family has a lot going on, salmon farming is just a small part of their wealth. These new sites are in addition, to the two new sites applied for by salmon farming... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2015 at alexandra morton
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Lawsuit takes aim at College of Veterinarians’ refusal to investigate complaint Jan 06, 2015 10:29 AM Jan 06, 2015 VANCOUVER — On behalf of their client, biologist Alexandra Morton, lawyers with Ecojustice Canada are suing the College of Veterinarians of British Columbia for refusing to investigate a complaint Ms. Morton made against a government aquaculture veterinarian. The lawsuit seeks to force the College to investigate the complaint. In 2007, a government veterinarian gave misleading advice to the B.C. government regarding threats posed by a dangerous salmon virus called Infectious Salmon Anemia virus (“ISAV”). ISAV is an internationally... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2015 at alexandra morton
2014 was a very tough year. It began with the Harper government throwing open the doors to more salmon farms in British Columbia, putting at risk everything that makes BC so beautiful and alive. However, no new farm sites were approved, that we know of. We held ground. Here is a brief overview of the year, the laws that are being rewritten to fit the industry and where I think we need to take this fight. There do not need to be any losers, but these are huge companies. Mitsubishi now owns many salmon farms throughout British Columbia. They will... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2015 at alexandra morton
I agree with you that the issue of toxins in farmed salmon needs to reach North Americans. It certainly caused a political stir in Norway, and impacted the markets in France and Russia.
Thank you Jean for your feedback I will certainly give it thought. I think it is fair to say that the industry may consider legal means to prevent discussion of farmed salmon, so that is something I also weigh carefully.
Hello It is time to talk to the people behind salmon farming - the consumer. As you know I have worked very hard for 25 years to inspire the salmon farming industry to grow up and clean up, but the science, the law and our activism together has not been enough. The Cohen Commission, Canada's $26 million federal inquiry, made fair and far-reaching recommendations to protect wild salmon from salmon farming, but they are being ignored by the very people who called the inquiry. In January as Marine Harvest rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2014 at alexandra morton
Dear Dr. Ian Alexander (CFIA): I am writing in regards to your recent announcement CFIA finds no evidence of infectious salmon anaemia on the west coast. I have 2 questions: 1 - What test did you instruct the labs to use to test for ISAv? None of your communications include this information. Because so many labs have detected ISA virus in BC, including two of the labs you used in this project, it is important that the CFIA provide detailed methods so that we can understand why these labs are no longer detecting ISA virus and previous ISAv positives have... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2014 at alexandra morton
See below for invitation to new film on salmon farms showing at Vancouver International Film Festival this weekend Does an industry that needs to release poisons into the ocean really belong here? The laws of Canada are in the process of being changed to benefit the Norwegian salmon farmers using BC to make money. Your voice is needed. Please consider writing Mr. Ed Porter by October 22, 2014, to register your opinion on whether salmon farms should be allowed to release chemicals that kill fish into the wild salmon migration routes where they are sited. Click on highlighted blue email... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2014 at alexandra morton
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
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
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
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
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
August 6, 2014 Dear Mr. Per Grieg Jr. owner Grieg Seafood 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
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
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
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