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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
I recently received 1,200 pages of internal DFO communication on the escalating sea louse outbreaks on salmon farms. In summary, DFO knew their laws to control sea lice on salmon farms were unenforceable. Not surprising, as upper DFO management consulted with the salmon farming industry to write them. They were designed to prevent companies from being charged and penalized for allowing their lice to eat wild salmon to death. DFO hid the fact that the one drug used in BC to control lice was failing, the lice had become resistant to it here as elsewhere. The fishery officers and vets... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2019 at alexandra morton
On Monday February 4, 2019, Justice Strickland of the Federal Court of Canada ruled that the Minister of Fishery’s policy not to screen farm salmon for the virus piscine orthoreovirus, PRV, is unlawful, a violation of the precautionary principle, and ignores both the critical state of wild salmon in BC today and the high degree of scientific uncertainty around what this virus is doing to wild salmon. In a word I won! Thank you Ecojustice. Download T-744-18 Decision We won this already in 2016, but Fisheries Ministers Shea, Tootoo, LeBlanc and now Wilkinson all refused to obey the Federal Court... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2019 at alexandra morton
Jan 9, 2019 Dear Minister of Fisheries Jonathan Wilkinson, Many British Columbians, myself included, felt hopeful when Prime Minister Trudeau appointed a Minister of Fisheries from British Columbia. When you accepted the position, you inherited a highly compromising lawsuit from the departing Minister LeBlanc. In September 2018, your lawyers argued to allow Marine Harvest and Cermaq to ignore the law and continue transferring Atlantic salmon infected with the viral “disease agent” PRV into the territory of the Namgis First Nations (decision pending). Marine Harvest has made it clear that your position benefits them. However, your scientists warn that PRV is... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2019 at alexandra morton
After 280 days of occupying salmon farm facilities in the Broughton Archipelago and 350 days of talks between indigenous leaders and the Province of BC, salmon farms are leaving the Broughton Archipelago. After a 30-year effort, it is hard to believe that I am writing these words. I have enormous respect for the First Nations who made this happen by occupying the salmon farms in their territories over 280 days through the storms of winter, and for the First Nation leaders who doggedly hammered out this agreement over the past year and also I have a greater respect for the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2018 at alexandra morton
Federal Government invested in Marine Harvest, protects company’s right to farm fish infected with virus killing Chinook salmon. The Canadian Pension Plan is one of the top 10 investors in the Norwegian salmon farming company Marine Harvest*, as the federal Minister of Fisheries defends the right of this company to ignore Fishery laws of Canada. In 2013, Marine Harvest and the Minister of Fisheries were sued to stop the transfer of farm salmon infected with piscine orthoreovirus, PRV, from a hatchery near Sayward, BC into marine net pens off Port Hardy. The case was won in 2015, with the court... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2018 at alexandra morton
Marine Harvest to Federal Court stating "Severely Impacted" if not allowed to farm PRV-infected fish. Download Affidavit Erenst Marine Harvest Tromsø municipality lacks means to implement its no to open farms GOOGLE TRANSLATION BELOW Tromsø City Council decided yesterday to limit farming activities in the municipality to "closed facilities". The decision affects a major industry in the region and has already created reactions. Comment Written by Ole-Martin Lund Andreassen Lawyer lawyer SANDS - Advokatfirmaet Steenstrup Storordrange DA Bjørn-Ivar Bendiksen Lawyer SANDS - Advokatfirmaet Steenstrup Storordrange DA 22 November 2018 14:33 Updated: 22 November 2018 14:34 We work with area... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2018 at alexandra morton
December 5, 2018 Dear Premier Horgan and the Government of British Columbia As your silence stretches into its second week, past your third deadline regarding renewal of the expired salmon farm tenures in the Broughton Archipelago, we learned that half of BC’s Chinook populations are in decline and that the Canadian Pension Plan is one of Marine Harvest’s biggest shareholders. How are the decline in Chinook salmon and the CPP investment portfolio related? The federal Minister of Fisheries is ignoring the law and a 2015 Federal Court ruling by refusing to screen farm salmon for the virus PRV, in defence... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2018 at alexandra morton
On August 24, 2017, a 280-day occupation of salmon farms began in the Broughton Archipelago. 90% of the farms in the Broughton Archipelago were sitting on provincial tenures that were about to expire and First Nations demanded that they not be renewed. In response, to the uprising the Province of BC initiated a government to government (G2G) process with the nations involved. On June 20, 2018, the date the leases expired, they announced that beginning in 2022 all salmon farms in BC would require agreements with First Nations whose territory they proposed to operate. However, they said they would not... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2018 at alexandra morton
Paul Seaman, lawyer for 'Namgis, challenged DFO's granting of a licence to Marine Harvest to transfer 1,000,000 Atlantic salmon from the Ocean Falls hatchery into the Swanson Island salmon farm sited in 'Namgis territory on the basis that DFO did not test for piscine orthoreovirus (PRV), and that the nation was not consulted despite the clear risk of harm associated with this transfer. The 'Namgis tried to get an injunction against this transfer and while the court did not grant the injunction, Justice Mason did find evidence of serious and irreparable harm to the rights of 'Namgis. Why, you might... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2018 at alexandra morton
On Thursday, the lawyer for Canada argued that the Minister of Fisheries, North Vancouver MP Jonathon Wilkinson, is not acting in Bad Faith when he permits farm salmon infected with piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) to be transferred into fish farms in Namgis territory. One of the lawyer's main points was that DFO is concerned about protecting wild salmon "conservation units" (large groups of salmon which if wiped out will not be able to be restored) and was using the precautionary principle to maintain them. It was really hard to hear him say this in a court to a judge knowing that... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2018 at alexandra morton
Today the 'Namgis lawyer, Sean Jones, was up. It seems that they have chosen a good lawyer. DFO has taken the position that PRV does not cause disease in BC and that it is natural to BC. Sean Jones, lawyer for Namgis, presented evidence that the Minister of Fisheries is acting in bad faith when it comes to permitting PRV-infected farm salmon to enter 'Namgis territory. At the outset he made it clear that 'Namgis were in agreement with the 2015 Morton vs Canada ruling that all farm salmon should be screened for PRV and subjected to section 56 of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2018 at alexandra morton
The Minister's lawyer said DFO's consideration of the health of wild salmon is implied in all decisions, but she couldn't produce any references to show that this is true. In desperation she grasped at the Wild Salmon Policy, which no DFO Minister has ever implemented. Marine Harvest wants evidence provided by me suppressed and informs the judge that Alexandra Morton is "not a judge," the most bizarre thing Marine Harvest has done in a string of bizarre actions aimed at me. I feel confident the judge already knew I am not a judge. The Cermaq lawyer begged for time if... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2018 at alexandra morton
Today was day one of the week-long hearing - two lawsuits to stop piscine orthoreovirus-infected farm salmon from entering BC waters. Margot Venton from Ecojustice was first up today. She is representing me. I am challenging the Minister of Fisheries' policy not to test young farm salmon for piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) before issuing a permit for their transfer into marine salmon farms. My concerns is the spread and effect of PRV from farm salmon on wild salmon, herring and other fish. Remedy that I am seeking from the court is: a ruling that the DFO policy of not testing for... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2018 at alexandra morton
Piscine reovirus (PRV) is a threat to our coast, and to the salmon farming industry. The industry indicates that they can't or won't survive in BC waters without it. Either they need it to protect their fish from IHN, as recent research suggests or they simply can't get rid of it. It is highly contagious. Over 80% of the BC salmon farming industry is infected with PRV. Washington State prohibited farm salmon infected with PRV from entering Puget Sound farms. The court ruled BC farm salmon must be screened for PRV prior to a permit being issued by the Minister... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2018 at alexandra morton
I have been on the research vessel Martin Sheen since the beginning of July. This is the 3rd summer Sea Shepherd Society has made boat this available to me. A researcher from the University of Toronto joined us for the second year to take water samples that will be analyzed for viruses and bacteria known to infect salmon. The Martin Sheen helps researchers who are doing work that can benefit our oceans including research into open oceans plastics, toxicological health of great whales and beaked whales, fish abundance studies and tourism guidelines. This is incredibly generous, beneficial to scientists and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2018 at alexandra morton
November 2017, the effluent pipe from the Browns Bay farm salmon processing plant in Campbell River was filmed. The pipe is 90’ underwater and large volumes of blood were visible pouring from the pipe into the world’s largest wild salmon migration route in Discovery Channel. This is where most of the salmon from the might Fraser River migrate. Samples were taken and I had them tested for farm salmon viruses. High levels of piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) detected. Genetic sequencing revealed that the virus was intact and using a unique process the lab reported that the piscine orthoreovirus in the sample... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2018 at alexandra morton
After 300 days of First Nation uprising against salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago, two lawsuits launched by these nations, several lawsuits launched by Marine Harvest at members of these nations and 6 months of government-to-government talks with these nations, the province of BC made an announcement on June 20th. This was the day that the provincial tenures for 20 salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago expired. First Nations are demanding that they not be renewed. The announcement made by Lana Popham, BC Minister of Agriculture, was so cryptic it is hard to decipher. It excluded the Broughton, which was... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2018 at alexandra morton
This is a very quick update on the truly unbelievable situation that the Provincial Government of British Columbia and the Federal Government of Canada have put themselves in to accommodate the salmon farming industry. Please know you have an essential role to play in the survival of wild salmon. Should Horgan Renew Salmon Farm Tenures? from Alexandra Morton on Vimeo. Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2018 at alexandra morton
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