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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
Washington State prohibits farm salmon virus that Canada ignores Minister of Fisheries – Regulatory Capture May 17, 2018 the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced they had denied permission to Cooke Aquaculture for transfer of 800,000 juvenile Atlantic salmon from a landbased hatchery into marine grow-out pens, because the fish are infected with an Icelandic strain of piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) Earlier this year Washington State enacted a bill to phase out Atlantic salmon net-pen aquaculture by 2022. Cooke Aquaculture had planned to operate until then, but now has 800,000 smolts they can’t use. Independent biologist Alexandra Morton... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2018 at alexandra morton
Briefing on PRV impact paper On May 7, 2018 a scientific paper was released on the impact of piscine orthoreovirus on Chinook salmon was released. Dicicco et al 2018, provides critical information for everyone trying to pull the southern resident orca back from extinction. In summary, a highly contagious Norwegian virus infecting 80% of BC farm salmon is causing Chinook salmon red blood cells to burst with catastrophic impact on their survival. Introduction to PRV in British Columbia Piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) was discovered in Norway 2010.[1] By then 30 million Atlantic salmon eggs had entered BC without screening for... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2018 at alexandra morton
In April 2011, Creative Salmon which is farming Chinook salmon, in Tofino, Tla-o-qui-aht territory turned to DFO scientist, Dr. Kristi Miller because they had a problem. Their Chinooks were turning yellow, the gills were pale and anemic. They were dying. Their vets could not figure out the cause of this ongoing problem over the past 7 years and so they went to Dr. Kristi Miller head of DFO's fish Genomics Lab at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo. Miller describes the project in a Cohen Commission exhibit Genomic characterization of jaundice mortality events in cultured Chinook salmon Download Exh 1527... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2018 at alexandra morton
Canada’s response to scientific findings of ISAV in British Columbia Briefing to Canada’s Chief Science Advisor April 23, 2018 Alexandra Morton, Independent Biologist “It is clear we are turning the PR tide to our favour, …One battle is won, now we have to nail the surveillance piece, and we will win the war, also.” “Concentrate on the headlines – that’s often all the people read or remember.”[1] 2011 CFIA internal email on ISA virus in British Columbia. Executive Summary In 2011, the genetic signature of a European strain of Infectious Salmon Anemia virus (ISAV) was detected in salmon in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2018 at alexandra morton
Canada’s Response to Piscine Reovirus in BC Briefing to Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer, April 23, 2018 Alexandra Morton, independent Biologist The evidence below is DFO’s own words: internal correspondence acquired through Freedom of Information requests. When I read these documents, they suggest that people in government knew for over a decade that the salmon disease HSMI occurs in BC and thus there was an understanding that piscine reovirus is a disease agent, which should have triggered Section 56, Fishery (General) Regulations. All farm salmon should have been screened for piscine reovirus and infected stocks prohibited from entering... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2018 at alexandra morton
The decision by The Honourable Justice Michael D. Manson Download injunction decision Namgis member K'odi Nelson raises sign to Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc at Trudeau's Nanaimo Town Hall in February Photo courtesy of Alexandra Morton Hereditary leader Ernest Alfred of Alert Bay on Swanson Island salmon farm August 2017 photo by Simon Ager courtesy of Sea Shepherd Society Marine Harvest transfer of Atlantic farm salmon into Port Elizabeth farm October 2017 Photo by Alexandra Morton Download paper Download The Effect of Exposure... Download Whole Genome Analysis of PRV Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2018 at alexandra morton
March 2, 2018 was a day of nail-biting suspense. Washington State House Bill 2957 to phase out Atlantic salmon farming was on the order papers for an early vote, but then simply disappeared from the roster. It reappeared late in the day with 25 new amendments attached to it like sea lice! The senators in favour of this bill made sure to raise it just before the cut-off at 5pm and so were granted the opportunity to debate and vote on each amendment for as long as was required. It was painful to watch the opposing senators stand up and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2018 at alexandra morton
Piscine reovirus may be the biggest industrial spill in the history of British Columbia. The virus that the salmon farming can't get rid of, the law says they can't operate with and wild salmon may not survive. Racing a Virus - Short Film from Alexandra Morton on Vimeo. There is... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2018 at Racing A Virus
February 25, 2018 Dear Dr. Kyle Garver: Piscine reovirus (PRV) is an emerging pathogen of interest on the west coast of North America, however assessment of its risk to wild salmon is impossible because opposite conclusions have now been published in the scientific literature; 1.) PRV is endemic to this coast and harmless and 2.) PRV is Norwegian, causes the disease HSMI in Atlantic farm salmon and the weight of evidence suggests it causes significant harm to Pacific salmon. 95% of BC farm salmon are infected with PRV at harvest, it is spreading to wild salmon[LINK], and many declining runs... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2018 at alexandra morton
Your assistance is required - this blog is a reference for all who want to help stop infected farm salmon blood from pouring over the young wild salmon that begin migrating to sea in a few weeks. Ministers George Heyman and Lana Popham need encouragement and support from you. These Ministers appear to be making an effort to deal with the situation, but incredibly previous governments have put no tools in place to turn off the blood. You will see below, that there is a sterilization option, but the plants may not be allowed to use it. In addition, we... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2018 at alexandra morton
Today, February 6, 2018 Federal Fisheries Minister Dominc LeBlanc announced that a Bill to Amend the Fisheries Act has been tabled in Ottawa. IF this bill is passed there are some provisions that could help in the long term to protect wild salmon from the pathogen spill ongoing from salmon farms on the BC coast. Here are some of the proposed amendments: 1 - ALL fish habitat will be "protected" not the more limited description enacted by the Harper government 2 - There would be a requirement to consider adverse effects of decisions on indigenous people 3 - New... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2018 at alexandra morton
January 17, 2018 Dear Premier John Horgan: As you ponder whether to renew 1/4 of BC salmon farm tenures that are expiring in Musgamagw and Namgis territories, there is something you should know. As the landlord to these three Norwegian companies, you will decide which runs of wild salmon are exposed to the pathogen effluent from this industry. Piscine reovirus and your lab’s failure to diagnosis its disease have been in the media lately, but today I am writing about ISA virus, a farm salmon influenza virus, that is internationally reportable because countries are keen to protect themselves from it.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2018 at alexandra morton
The first scientific evidence that large numbers of wild salmon are becoming infected with piscine reovirus (PRV) through exposure to salmon farms was published this week in the scientific journal Public Library of Science One. The effect of exposure to farmed salmon on piscine orthoreovirus [reovirus] infection and fitness in wild Pacific salmon in British Columbia, Canada” reports that the percentage of wild salmon infected with piscine reovirus was much higher in wild salmon exposed to salmon farms, than in wild salmon not exposed to salmon farms. Link to paper This is the first study to address this question in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2017 at alexandra morton
Dear Premier John Horgan, and Ministers George Heyman and Lana Popham: I am writing in regards to two matters: you have accepted applications to renew all fish farm tenures in Musgamagw and Namgis territories you have not followed up on public statements that you are reviewing bloodwater samples As you are aware, Musgamagw and Namgis members have occupied salmon farms and the surrounding areas for over 100 days with the clear message that salmon farms must be removed from their territories. They have been saying this for 30 years and have not signed any agreements with the industry. They have... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2017 at alexandra morton
On Tuesday the 14, of November Marine Harvest went to the BC Supreme Court to get an injunction against First Nation's people and many others who have been standing on their Midsummer Island farm to stop Marine Harvest from violating their rights and wishes by restocking this farm. Marine Harvest did not win an injunction, the court did not force people off the farm, as is appearing in industry-frenzied reporting. What you won Marine Harvest is the opportunity to show us who you are. The Musgamagw agreed to remove themselves and their shelters from this site for 30 days, so... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2017 at alexandra morton
Update November 13, 2017 On November 07, Marine Harvest served court documents to the First Nations who have been living on their farms for the past 80 days. It was a notice of application to the court seeking an injunction. Marine Harvest is demanding that First Nations leave the farm sites, remove all structures and never return. The position of the Musgamagw is that they have been asking the industry to leave their territory for the past 30 years and have been ignored. They attribute the collapse of wild salmon and herring in their territory largely to the presence of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2017 at alexandra morton
We know that the planet's oceans and indigenous people are under assault and that this is a threat to life on earth as we know it. Indigenous people are leaders standing on the front lines in the fight for life on earth and many of us are now standing with them. Governments around the world are being tested. Who really runs the show? Elected governments or corporations whose business model depends on violation of the laws of nature, and the laws of the land. Case-in-point, federal Minister of Fisheries Dominic LeBlanc refuses to end the transfer of farm salmon carrying... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2017 at alexandra morton
I went back to Port Elizabeth on October 16 to observe the Viktoria Viking offloading young farm salmon again. The staff on the farm blocked my view of the fish pouring into the pens, so this time I stepped on the farm to take a good look at the condition of the fish. The RCMP presence was heavy, two boats with 7-8 officers each in tactical gear. A police team was clustered protectively around the pipe, it seemed they expected me to do something to the pipe... what, really, with my bare hands? I watched ~200,000 young Atlantic salmon poured... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2017 at alexandra morton
October 24, 2017 Dear Minister of Agriculture, Lana Popham: Thank you for your brave response to the First Nation’s effort to get salmon farms out of the Broughton Archipelago, an effort that has been ongoing for them for 30 years. You are the first politician to stand up for their rights against the Norwegian-run salmon farms. Remarkable. With the collapse of food fisheries, the problem with salmon farms has grown beyond biological chaos to also become a human rights issue. Reconciliation can’t happen between cultures when one is destroying the food resources of the other. You directed very powerful words... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2017 at alexandra morton
The occupation of the salmon farms east of Alert Bay is now at day 51. The Premier of British Columbia, whom this entire effort is aimed at, finally met with the nations of the Broughton Archipelago on October 10. The original four nations had doubled to eight nations standing firm in their resolve to have salmon farms removed from their collective territories. In a historic show of unity the four nations of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, Namgis, Mamlilikula. Ma’amtagila and Tlowitsis dropped overlapping border disputes in regards to the issue of salmon farms and locked arms. There was an air of... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2017 at alexandra morton
Yesterday, September 21, Marine Harvest began its last farm salmon harvest at the Namgis/Mamaliliuklla occupied farm called Swanson Island. This is the Swan Song of salmon farming in the Musgamagw Dzawada'enuxw/Namgis/ Mamalilikulla territory that is sometimes called the Broughton Archipelago. This farm has been occupied by Ernest Alfred and friends since August 24, for 29 days. This is no hardship for Marine Harvest, many of the fish in this farm are already past their prime and forming kypes on their lower jaws in preparation for the spawning rituals they will never take part in. The Amarissa Joye, is the only... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2017 at alexandra morton
Update September 13, 2017 Two salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago are now under occupation by First Nations. Marine Harvest has paused restocking their Midsummer farm after a stand off between their packer and First Nations and now the occupiers are digging in. As the weather deteriorates they are making preparations as winter is coming. Communities are rallying around them. Other nations are noticing. Many are talking about individual “chiefs” who have sold out and given these companies access to BC waters for personal gain, with no consultation with the people. The provincial government of BC can see this... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2017 at alexandra morton
On August 24, 2017, Ernest Alexander Alfred and a small group peacefully occupied the Marine Harvest salmon farm called Swanson Island. They state that they will remain on the farm until their chiefs are satisfied that the Province of BC has cancelled the farm’s Licence of Occupation and the farm leaves the territory. The farm is located 17km east of Alert Bay. After years of speaking to government about their concerns it has come to this. Ernest is hopeful that his effort will help the Provincial government to follow through with their campaign promise made in the Namgis Big House... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2017 at alexandra morton