It’s a flurry of activity on the salmon guy blog. I have a post yesterday commenting on the BC Salmon Farmers Association newest website: bcsalmonfacts.ca and the accompanying press release and coming onslaught of PR spin. I think it’s safe to say that I am somewhat of a skeptic when it comes to suggestions of the environmental inertness of open-pen salmon farming on the BC coast.
However, I do — and I did — express my appreciation that folks running the website just dove right into their ‘transparency’ efforts by posting my blog efforts as one of their first discussion pieces – with a response. You can visit their site, or read the reproduction here:
bcsalmonfacts.ca response to my post:
BC Salmon Facts says:
Jan 10 2011 5:49 PM
Thanks for visiting our website at www.bcsalmonfacts.ca. We appreciate your skepticism and believe that any subject should be open to challenge. We also believe that the source of the information be transparent – just like you have identified who you are on your blog. Because of this, The BC Salmon Facts campaign does not hide the fact that it is salmon farmers speaking up.
To our knowledge, BC salmon farmers have never thought our facts to be beyond challenge. But, shouldn’t the same be expected of critics? If salmon farmers feel that there is incorrect information about our business (fish meal use is one example, “dyes” another), then wouldn’t you expect us to speak up? Our goal with BC Salmon Facts is simply to assist salmon farmers in communicating.
You’re absolutely correct, motives should be clear, and then we can get down to discussing concerns, and the facts.
There is no arguing that all food production has some sort of impact, which has to be managed. We feel that we have listened to concerns, made important changes to our business, and are quite proud of the product we produce and how we produce it. Today, BC salmon farming is an important, viable business, producing a healthy product. Improvements will always continue.
As you probably know, salmon farms are open up for tours during the summer months. During the tour farmers often hear, “There are things I didn’t know about salmon farming until seeing it for myself – you need to get more people out here to see for themselves”. Well, it’s not easy getting 4.4 million BC residents out to a farm, so this campaign attempts to bring the farm to them.
We would encourage people to visit www.bcsalmonfacts.ca to discuss their concerns and, where they feel needed, challenge the content of the website. As you have said, “discussion…can be constructive…that’s why I started the blog in the first place.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Your opinion is important, so we have posted a link to your blog on our site, along with this response. Please feel free to provide your comments at www.bcsalmonfacts.ca
I have since posted a response on bcsalmonfacts.ca and will have to see if the moderator chooses to publish my response and if the discussion continues.
I do hand it to them. It’s not an easy place to be in for them, and they just jumped into the fire with it. Maybe it’s a bit late? Maybe not?
I’m also skeptical of comments such as the alluding to the poor-lowly salmon farmers needing some help communicating. Come one… the bulk of these are multi-national corporations with deep pockets… And, as with every publicly traded corporations, they have quarterly targets and analyst expectations to meet.
Yet, the invite to visit and learn more is a good one. Launching into the social media world is also a dangerous venture, yet can pay dividends (sorry for the pun).
One thing that is not going away any time soon… the hot nature of this subject, and I’m pretty sure it will continue to be a hot spring as the Cohen Commission scrambles for their May 2011 deadline (which doesn’t actually exist anymore).
bcsalmonfacts I applaud your efforts and, yes, I’m sure I would learn things with a visit to the farms and appreciate the invite. I paid a visit to cattle feedlots in California some years ago and also learned a lot too, however, not necessarily things I wanted to learn. I can’t say I’m fully buying the farm yet.
One of the big challenges with understanding the impacts of salmon farming is that it’s all underwater — literally. It’s also potential migratory impacts, in that they might be coming and going impacts. And thus, the general public is left having to read battling science on the issue to try and draw their own conclusions.
Or, trusting that government agencies have the general public’s best interests at heart… of which the recent court case slamming the federal government for handing aquaculture to the Province proved was not the case. And now the cost of that court case, and the cost of developing all new regs, and then implementing.
Or, paying for things like the $5 million BC Pacific Salmon Forum (read B.C. “Pacific Salmon Forum” – $5 million air pie? on this site) which didn’t conclude much specific and then disappeared to gather dust on Ikea shelving units and soon on some internet server – and now funding another $15 million public inquiry.
Gets a bit tiresome.
As I’ve mentioned on various posts on this site and in a public session or two… maybe part of the answer lies in a Citizen’s Assembly similar to the BC Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform? Sort of similar to an impartial jury that explores all sides of an issue.
I also say “part of the solution”, because another fundamental aspect of this issue is the unsettled treaty environment with First Nations on much of the BC coast. That is not something that can be swept under the rug.
The discussion goes on…