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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
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
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