BC Salmon Farmers, more responses… will I eat farmed crow?

If you have not had a chance to follow all the comments, or are new to the site; here’s a sampling of an exchange that portrays some properties of the BC salmon farming debate and where there may very well continue to be dissonance on this hot ticket issue.

A manager from one of the larger BC salmon farming companies (a very large company, where the salmon farmer is but one tiny cog in a much larger globalized multinational — not to suggest this as a “ohhh, watch out for the bogeyman”… more a reality of the business environment), respectively left some comments in response to my comments on the new PR campaign largely led by the website bcsalmonfacts.ca:

You raise a range of interesting points in your response to my posting on your blog. I do want to address these as best I can. I hope that ultimately you will come and see for yourself what we do and how we do it.

You comment that … in BC there are large populations of wild salmon stocks and the history of wild and farmed interactions is not a very good one.

This is an interesting point – but this is one of the myths that I’d like to see the wider public understand better. The farmers in BC have actually got a great record of living in harmony with wild salmon runs. In the Broughton – increasing pink runs and coho runs. In the Fraser a record sockeye run. Coordinated and effectively managed sealice levels to specifically protect wild stocks (not to protect the farmed fish)…

… Salmon farming is a good economic activity that should be seen as part of the solution to the world’s sustainability problems – it is not, in my view, part of the problem.

You then discuss more generally regarding what are acceptable impacts and how do we determine what is acceptable. You also comment on the role of PR. I’m glad to say that I agree with you here! All human activities have impacts. We do need to debate what is acceptable to the community here in BC.

But the community deserves to hear both sides of the story – PR works both ways and the people who advocate for the elimination of salmon farming (that is what would effectively happen if the industry was legislated out of the natural waterways) are very good at communicating their ideas and concerns. Salmon farmers have a responsibility to explain why we believe that our activities are part of the solution and not part of the problem.

_ _ _ _ _

It is not the entire comment, and I haven’t shortened it to try and take things out of context; more to shorten reading time (and try and keep post length down).

In response, I had a post-length comment, of which I have added a few more thoughts:

thanks for taking the time in continuing this chat. I certainly have to respectfully take issue with a few comments about the ‘myths’ you allude to… like anything, and especially this hot button issue of salmon farming on the BC coast… it is multifaceted with more sides, angles and faces then a polar bear embossed diamond from Nunavut.

I don’t quite buy the ‘fish farms living in harmony with wild salmon runs’ argument… it’s a pretty weak causal connection. If I might use the analogy, it’s like saying clearcut logging had a harmonious relationship with salmon because look at the record Fraser sockeye run this year. “All those years of industrial clearcuts ‘obviously’ didn’t do any damage, look at this record 2010 run. What’s everyone complaining about?”

The jury is most certainly still out on this apparent harmonious relationship between salmon farms and wild salmon. And quite frankly, I agree with the newspaper article posted on the bcsalmonfacts.ca website today regarding this PR campaign [Vancouver Sun: BC salmon farmers fight back]. Some of the statements made in the salmon farmers press release, and some of the statements on the website, just inflame the situation more than seek resolution.

If the intention truly was to ‘get the real story out’ then why use the “email from Nigerian refugee” analogy — that’s simply inciting. Not that i’m not prone to the same approach from time to time… but this is a PR campaign by big, ‘responsible, companies with many brains at the table (I hope). I would hope the PR firm launching this could come up with something a little more clever than that. (but then, sometimes folks tune me up on my communication tactics too…)

I think I’d have to beg to differ that the runs [Broughton pink and coho] are “increasing”… as compared to what? Late 1990 numbers when there was a zero mortality coho policy? (I have the same issue with DFO and their salmon numbers too… see older posts… colonial cultures tend to have a rather narrow timeframe when they start talking about “historical populations”)

I also struggle with the: ‘farmed salmon is part of a sustainable food supply issue.’

If feed conversion levels are still above 1:1 as in the 1.2 to 1 as claimed on the PR site… that’s still a negative gain — and negative gains are not “sustainable”. If it takes me $1.20 to make $1.00, I don’t think any financial adviser would recommend this investment scheme [as sustainable]?

Furthermore, last time I checked at the local Prince George supermarket, farmed Atlantic salmon prices weren’t all that different then wild salmon prices. I don’t imagine that’s much different in the U.S. where the bulk of BC farmed salmon gets exported too. And thus, as I’ve mentioned in past posts, I don’t think inner city kids in the U.S. are eating poached or baked salmon at any meal they might secure.

I also don’t imagine that BC salmon farmers are making huge strides to get their product to West Africa in its time of ethnic strife and starvation.

It’s not to suggest that they necessarily should… it’s more that this argument that farmed salmon are a solution to food shortages is seriously flawed. Frankly, salmon is a luxury food that some middle class families can afford — however, cheaper beef, pork and poultry are going to be the meat alternatives to folks on the lower income scale.

[furthermore, there are many studies that suggest there are not food shortages in the world, there are serious issues with distribution… not to mention, food now being used to produce biofuels…]

And thus, I have doubts about the “good economic activity” that you suggest. As far as I can see (which sometimes isn’t that far, depends on how hard its raining), salmon in the marketplace is about supplying higher income folks, and thus, this is why it makes “economic” sense to some. Especially publicly-traded companies that have shareholders to satisfy [and analyst expectations to meet]. I respectfully suggest that this is one of those half truths, half facts that I have mentioned.

You are fair in your comments on PR and yes, I agree in turn — PR is certainly used by all sides. If you’d like, search “Canadian Boreal Forest Initiative Agreement” on this site (or Marine Stewardship Council) and you’ll see I don’t only have issues with corporate PR, there is certainly enviro-NGOs PR campaigns that also drive me batty.

I’m not so sure I agree with the assertion that the salmon farming industry would be “eliminated” if it was taken out of natural waterways…[and I see today there is a new posting on the bcsalmonfacts.ca in this regard]. I’ve seen a few recent presentations that demonstrate the technology and financials around closed-containment systems.

Also… like so many things, industry proponents buried in certain ways of doing things, faced with imminent changes, jump up and down, scream and shout, twist and turn, and lobby the shit out of government to make sure changes are not enforced.

“we will be forced out of business”; “this industry will die”; “people will lose jobs”; and every other possible argument. And then… what to our wonder… real innovative thinking happens… new technology is created, becomes more affordable, and a whole new way of doing things all of a sudden arises.

Look at the incredible growth of organic farming: from food to cotton.

Early on, industry proponents said “no way, won’t happen” and now?… Walmart has jumped on board.
Similar arguments around alternative energy and so on.

And so, I am a bit curious about what you mean by salmon farmers are “part of the solution and not part of the problem” — what solution(s) are you referring to? And which problems?

_ _ _ _ _

A thought came to mind, in relation to yesterday’s post. In that post, I quoted a definition of public relations (PR):

1. the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc.
2. the art, technique, or profession of promoting such goodwill.

If that is the case… then maybe some of the NGO campaigns opposing open-pen salmon farming on the BC coast, in relatively confined inland waterways, aren’t PR, as one could argue those campaigns are not seeking “goodwill” per se. Yet, some of those campaigns certainly employ the spin-factor or latching on to certain very negative components and communicating those in a way that over-emphasizes certain things.

Similar to various companies and corporations these days that advertise how great they are — yet will screw you over at the first opportunity. I recently looked at the back of my bill from Bell, and on the back in hard to read blue fine print it explains they will charge 3% per month interest on overdue balances. That’s 42.58% per year! (they leave that part out on their cute little TV commercials and newspaper ads). Same with the big banks and their mysterious user fees and administrative charges, etc.

This isn’t to say that I’m comparing these tactics directly — simply highlighting a point.

Marketing maven and guru Seth Godin has a fitting post on this from yesterday:

Raising expectations (and then dashing them)

Have you noticed how upbeat the ads for airlines and banks are?

Judging from the billboards and the newspaper ads, you might be led to believe that Delta is actually a better airline, one that cares. Or that your bank has flexible people eager to bend the rules to help you succeed.

At one level, this is good advertising, because it tells a story that resonates. We want Delta to be the airline it says it is, and so we give them a try.

The problem is this: ads like this actually decrease user satisfaction. If the ad leads to expect one thing and we don’t get it, we’re more disappointed than if we had gone in with no real expectations at all. Why this matters: if word of mouth is the real advertising, then what you’ve done is use old-school ad techniques to actually undercut any chance you have to generate new-school results.

So much better to invest that same money in delighting and embracing the customers you already have

_ _ _ _ _

This is the danger with the fighting tactics that the salmon farmers have chosen for this PR campaign.

This is a potentially well-funded, infinitely backed PR-spin campaign mounted by massive multinational companies (for the most part). It looks pretty sharp, it uses nice language (e.g. dispelling myths, stating facts, and telling the real story). It’s about ‘putting those evil spin-mongering NGOs in their place, uncover their naysaying, left-leaning, greeny BS.’

The reality check here is that the general BC public — the average folks that in some way or another will make the decisions on whether to get open-pen salmon farming out of BC’s inland waters — will largely see straight through this. We are bombarded daily by hundreds, thousands of ads by large, national or multinational companies spouting off about how great they are, and how it’s just so simple to do business with their ultra-responsible firms.

Yet, when you actually try to call them you’re run through an infuriating automated answering system that doesn’t get you where you need to go. You get repeated “your call is important to us, please continue to hold”, and finally, a person, yet it’s quite apparent they are certainly not in the same time zone as you are.

This particular PR campaign is employing similar tactics, trying to show pizzaz and new aged-ness by engaging social media and so on… but it’s not that much different than BP oil mounting a Facebook PR campaign to change their image… most folks will see through it, the already converted will espouse its merits and why don’t those other dolts buy what we’re selling and stop believing that evil NGO crap.

It’s simply the wrong tactic… it’s old school, it’s tired, and it will most likely be a waste of money.

And worse yet, if the salmon farming naysayers are able to dispel and communicate the other ‘facts’ and the ‘myths posing as facts’ and so of this particular campaign — the salmon farming industry could end out with even more mud on their face. Most folks cheer for the little guy, the underdog, and this is shaping up nicely as well-funded multinationals against average citizens and a handful of NGOs, who have BC citizen membership behind them.

Maybe I’ve seen this picture somewhere before…?

(but who knows, maybe i’ll be forced to eat my words… eat farmed crow… or something)

11 thoughts on “BC Salmon Farmers, more responses… will I eat farmed crow?

  1. Annie

    Salmon Guy……..You must realize that it doesn’t matter what salmon farmers say there are those that will cast it off as bs. Even when they present the facts they are cast off as myth. Why is it that an American with huge funding from the US can come to Canada and persuade the public to believe what the American funding movement want people to believe ? We all know the Americans are protectionistic of their own reources and markets. Just look at the forest industry they have decimated in this province with their tariffs. Why are people so ready to believe bad especially when it comes from a foreigner smearing another foreigner in Canada ? Ms Morton has claimed to be everything from a high school dropout to graduate from American University to doctor to self taught biologist to now in her political effort “just a field biologist “. Why is what she says so credible to so many in spite of the fact she regularly changes what her qualifications actually are ? Today in CBC there is a study that claims a virus may be responsible for salmon declines. A virus that they pick up in the open ocean. The general comment about the study at this point is that it is a bunch of BS. Isn’t that funny coming from Morton supporters who regularly brag her studies are published in Science journal. Well guess what. So is this study. So if people doubt the virus theory even though published in Science Journal then shouldn’t that cast the same doubt on Morton’s “work ” ?

  2. salmon guy Post author

    Thanks Annie, its not necessarily that i must realize this… i do realize it, and hence my criticism of how this ‘campaign’ has been thought out.
    It’s the same with anything though; even in families… ever try and convince a sibling or otherwise of something and they simply just continue to cast it off as BS?

    I do think its a sad misnomer that there’s this perception that Ms. Morton has “huge” funding backing her; or that there is some link to her being an American and thus protectionist. It’s also a bit of a stretch to suggest that an American is a “foreigner”; you might be surprised to find out how many politicians in Canada were actually born in Canada… or even other countries. Or in the case of someone like Michael Ignatieff haven’t lived in Canada for many, many years.

    And to be fair, maybe if you trace your own roots (and this is entirely assumption on my part) and how your family came to this country, you might find your own “foreign” roots.

    I say this intending full respect. I don’t necessarily see the value, or relevance of attacking where someone is from, and then generalizing what principles people from those places live by. It’s a pretty broad brush that doesn’t really further the discussion — however folks are welcome to their impassioned opinions.

    I certainly don’t intend this site to be a place for defense or otherwise of certain individuals; however, if anything I have immense respect for Ms. Morton and her passion for what she’s doing. If you read a bit more on this site in the tabs separate from my blog you’ll notice that I too hit the road a few years back and rode my bicycle quite some distance to talk about something that I cared a great deal about: keeping healthy populations of wild salmon in streams throughout their historic range.

    In my meetings of Ms. Morton I’ve found her to be incredibly dedicated, measured in her arguments, and definitely not backed by ‘huge funding’. For example, this fall she simply hit the road and traveled the Fraser watershed meeting with folks. From all appearances the trip was paid by simple pavement pounding. That’s dedication and passion. I have often seen impassioned dedication like this from other folks too: especially commercial fisherfolks, or ex-commercial fisherfolks.

    Now… with that in mind; it’s not to mean that folks that take this dedicated approach are always right, or that I even agree with them fully, if even at all in some cases. Look for example at someone like Steve Fonyo, what he did was impressive, but his life is a bit of shambles now.

    For me it simply comes down to having admiration for anyone that can speak with passion, back their opinions up, and make some serious sacrifices to do what they believe in. Doesn’t really matter if they were an elementary school drop out or a double PhD-holder. I may not always agree, but it doesn’t stop my admiration of the passion.

    On the scientific articles… if you have a chance to read more posts on this site… i have a bit of an issue with that institution. Scientific studies come out all the time contradicting each other, and arguing against each other. Sometimes in the same publication. It sounds from what I’ve read thus far on the virus theory that no one can be too sure at this point whether it came from the open ocean or transferred in eggs through salmon farming operations.

    I’m not an expert by any means, however, it seems that viruses (and other health issues) quite regularly evolve out of farming operations — things like mad cow, foot-and-mouth, bird flu, and so on, and some of the older killers like small pox, black death, and the like. Jared Diamond’s book “Guns, Germs and Steel” is quite an interesting read in this regard.

    it is complex out there… no denying that.
    thanks again for the continued comments.

  3. Brian

    Quote from Salmonguy: “I don’t quite buy the ‘fish farms living in harmony with wild salmon runs’ argument… it’s a pretty weak causal connection.”

    Something like those studies done by Morton…..Weak causal connections, but because they are from her they are perfectly acceptable. No spin here that I can see…lol.

    Quote from Salmonguy: “Not that i’m not prone to the same approach from time to time… but this is a PR campaign by big, ‘responsible, companies with many brains at the table (I hope). I would hope the PR firm launching this could come up with something a little more clever than that. (but then, sometimes folks tune me up on my communication tactics too…)”

    I think it is highly hypocritcal to accuse others of a PR campaign and label it as spin when really your blog is not that much different. For example, your assessment of Chilko Lake smolt countiing and Stellako River fence was not only incorrect, but you decide to put your own spin on both situations…….that wasn’t true either. You are basically marketing yourself and your opinion no differently than other sites attempting to reach the general public.

    Quote from Salmonguy: “I think I’d have to beg to differ that the runs [Broughton pink and coho] are “increasing”… as compared to what? Late 1990 numbers when there was a zero mortality coho policy? (I have the same issue with DFO and their salmon numbers too… see older posts… colonial cultures tend to have a rather narrow timeframe when they start talking about “historical populations”)”

    Where are your numbers to support your arguement? Where are your stats? Where is your knowledge on this? Where is your experience with this? You can beg to differ all you want but fact is that pink returns are very cyclical in that area – they were before salmon farms and they are now. If you are going to jump on the “local extinction” bandwagon then I would expect to see a much more compelling arguement instead of “I beg to differ”. It is not a coincidence that critics do not want to use “local extinction” anymore for other species, such as coho. As for questioning DFO counting of pink salmon in that area I will take that with a grain of salt considering I question your knowledge of DFO enumeration methodology from our previous encounters.

    Quote from Salmonguy: “If feed conversion levels are still above 1:1 as in the 1.2 to 1 as claimed on the PR site… that’s still a negative gain — and negative gains are not “sustainable”. If it takes me $1.20 to make $1.00, I don’t think any financial adviser would recommend this investment scheme [as sustainable]?”

    OMG….this is really nit picking! In Utopia, I imagine that it would be 1:1; however, in reality there are inherent inefficiencies with biological systems. The fellow that responded to you was just outlining the fact that the conversion rate was better than other animals. However, you could not wait to put your own spin to it…lol. No spin from you here of course.

    Quote from Salmonguy: “Also… like so many things, industry proponents buried in certain ways of doing things, faced with imminent changes, jump up and down, scream and shout, twist and turn, and lobby the shit out of government to make sure changes are not enforced.”

    Where is your evidence that the industry is lobbying government to make sure changes are not enforced? The fact is that the industry in BC has complied already with treatments of sea lice and fallowing (Something kd failed to recognize in his post). The fact is that the industry in BC is monitored and regulated – more so than most places in the world that farm Atlantic Salmon. The fact is that the industry in BC has been proactive and has already made changes such as monitoring the amount of feed (by using video) given to farmed fish. The fact is that Marine Harvest has contributed funds to look into closed containment (they even partnered with the Coastal Alliance of Aquaculture Reform). The fact is that the federal government has hired additional people to regulate and monitor the aquaculture industry in BC. Somehow you want to turn your head and ignore all this and describe the reactions of people you do not know. No spin from you here…lol.

    http://www.marineharvestcanada.com/sustainability_closed_containment.php
    http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/ahc/fish_health/index.htm
    http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/media/npress-communique/2011/np-pr01-eng.htm

    Quote from Salmonguy: “Most folks cheer for the little guy, the underdog, and this is shaping up nicely as well-funded multinationals against average citizens and a handful of NGOs, who have BC citizen membership behind them.”

    Goes to show you how powerful perception is. Today, it is not what you can prove, but who you can convince. I agree that the anti-fish farm “movement” are much better at convincing even though their conclusions hold as much water as the Titanic. They are very good marketers. Underdogs also avoid using spin because that is something exculsive to the big, bad multinational companies……..rrriiiiight.

  4. salmon guy Post author

    Interesting perspective Brian… I’m guessing you feel much better now?
    You really should start your own blog, as you sure don’t seem to like much of what is on mine. See, that is the joy of social media… basically anyone can do it and say what they want and folks such as me or yourself choose to read it or not. However, it’s good to see that you have an outlet here… and have a whole lot of lol’ing; lauging out loud is healthy and good for the heart.

    I don’t seem to remember supporting one scientific perspective, or scientist or another on this particular issue — however, I do remember asking some questions and questioning some assumptions. Also seems you might be suggesting that some peer-reviewed science is much more right than other peer-reviewed science — how does that work?

    You might want to check up on some definitions of PR and spin — and maybe read some of the other parts of this blog… like, for example, why I started it. It most certainly wasn’t to try and convince anyone of any particular viewpoint… if that was the case, I would have deleted some of your comments quite some time ago. I’d be giving myself far too much credit if I though that folks reading this blog would start adapting my world view…

    People either choose to read or not, and as I’ve been told by colleagues, several folks within DFO have had a read or two and have chose not to read again. Fair enough. Some have, and some have even chose to engage in discussion. Good on ’em.

    You might have to re-read your comments and have another think about your attacks. You’ve put some interesting words and phrases into my post that were never there. You might just be reading a little too much between the words, or sentences. I don’t seem to remember using the phrase “local extinction”… that’s an interesting phrase, where’d you get it? because it sure wasn’t in my post. Seems you might know more about the intention of my posts then I do myself… inserting phrases and ideas that weren’t really there… (phantom phrases, I might have to call them, has a nice ring to it).

    inefficiencies in biological systems? interesting idea and phrase, you’ll have to tell me about it… is that the same as some preeminent fisheries scientists views that some wild salmon swimming upstream to spawn are just going to waste? or that old growth forests are just decadent and over-mature and thus need to be logged?

    This perception that it’s all NGOs fault for the public viewpoint on salmon farms is a curious one. As far as I know, there’s this idea out there that any one person is free to choose to believe what ever they want… you, me, and the next person: free will.

    Blaming it all on the NGO campaigns, who are apparently all wrong by many folks suggestions (and one of the bcsalmonfacts.ca TV commercial I saw today), is basically suggesting anyone that believes that information is a dumb-ass with no smarts to do their own research. Sorry, I don’t think that’s the case. No shortage of smart folks out there… and thankfully, they are free to choose to believe whatever they want.

    (you might also need to have a more careful read of many posts on this site… i certainly never suggested that enviros, NGOs, etc. never engage in PR-spin… go read posts on the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement or the Marine Stewardship Council, that most honorable of NGOs).

    You know Brian, if you think about it… funnily enough, the Titanic is actually holding quite a bit of water right now. And wasn’t it the boat’s efficient ability to hold water, that actually caused it to sink?

  5. joe

    Canada’s comments on the FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture draft Technical Guidelines on Aquaculture Certification really doesn’t give me any confidence that the protection of the wild salmon, habitat, nor environment is of much importance compared to salmon aquaculture production.
    ftp://ftp.fao.org/FI/DOCUMENT/aquaculture/TGAC/comments/TGAC_Comments_Canada.pdf
    One certainly doesn’t have to depend on Morton to be aware of the worldwide negative aspects of salmon aquaculture.
    Now it seems just getting feed is becoming a problem and costs have risen substantially.
    In what context is “extinction” ever mentioned in this report that Fisheries and Oceans and the fish farmers keep talking about, or some figment of their imagination or a half truth to belittle some scientists work ?
    Just look at the Bay of Fundy’s wild Atlantic salmon population decline and lobster stock mortalities, what could cause such problems ? Right, prove it’s the fish farms.
    We’re supposed to trust Fisheries and Oceans, the farmers and drug companies for our well being ? It’s conflict of interest.

  6. joe

    Annie,
    How can we be certain that virus, if that’s what it is, was not imported, through fish eggs for farms, into B.C. years ago ? Just asking.

  7. Annie

    Joe, My understanding is that fish eggs were originally imported from Iceland and were free of any disease. Fish farm expert Ode Grynland is the one who could give you the facts about how the original eggs came to Canada. Hope I’ve spelled his name correctly but try and search it. I think he has a website called Fish Farm expert. I wonder why it is no one ever questions the state of the eggs being used by Alaska, Russia and Japan in their hatcheries that are pouring billions of artificially created salmon into the Pacific ocean. Just a thought

  8. salmon guy Post author

    one reason Annie,
    would be that the eggs used in hatcheries in Russian, Japan, and Alaska are not imported from other countries, they’re from nearby streams. They also don’t generally result in foreign species (e.g. Atlantic salmon) escaping into neighboring ecosystems.

    This certainly doesn’t come without inherent risk though. There’s a debate, almost as hot as the salmon farming debate, surrounding wild and hatchery salmon interactions and problems as a result.

    I have a few posts on the site from a conference I attended on this issue in Portland, OR earlier in 2010. There are some links there.

    The ocean ranching practices of Alaska also don’t come without their risks, or the fact that almost 95% of the commercially caught salmon in Japan are ocean ranching and hatchery operations.

    Salmon are a darn a complex issue. One of the questions I’ve asked is: at what point do we stop the multitude of interventions…?

  9. joe

    Annie,
    Thank you,
    found some information here regarding viruses and egg importation http://www.llbc.leg.bc.ca/public/pubdocs/bcdocs/300626/vol3-iv.htm
    “… although methods of egg disinfection remove the vast majority of surface pathogens {99.9%}, they are not 100% effective under all conditions {eg., Goldes and Mead, 1995}. Third, the large number of eggs that have been and can be imported into the province is felt by some to increase the probability that the unlikely event of pathogen importation could occur. Between 1985 and 1995, 10,964,000 Atlantic salmon eggs were imported into B.C. The number of imports peaked in 1988 and averaged approximately 762,000 each year in 1994 and 1995 {Winsby et al, 1996}.”

    Concerning the Canadian Fish Health Protection Regulations:
    “…These regulations have been cited among the world’s model fish import regulations {Carey and Pritchard, 1995}. However, a variety of senior provincial and federal fisheries managers have expressed concern that these regulations on their own do not adequately mitigate the risk of importing exotic pathogens into the province.
    …The FHPR do not propose any disease control stategies, they are instead concerned with testing and certification and not with subsequent decisions apart from restricting fish movement. Norwegian disease reporting requirements are often cited as models for Canada. The Norwegian programs have control strategies associated with diseases that are reportable. Their development involved industry and considered wild and cultured salmon production. In Canada, the Norwegian Fish Health regulations {Interim Fish Disease Control Act and other Regulations Concerning Diseases of Aquatic Organisms} are closely approximated by the Federal Health of Animal Act and the Provincial Animal Disease Control Act. While both these pieces of legislation contain all the regulatory ”tools” needed to mirror Norwegian regulations, neither have been applied to fish or fish diseases to date.
    The diseases listed under the FHPR do not completely reflect current knowledge or public concerns about disease. For example, there are no provisions for the mandatory reporting of diseases not previously found in Canada. ….the regulations encourage salmon producers to conceal their disease status from regulatory authorities.
    …The policies do not provide guidance as to how a pathogen be categorized as a problematic strain. The lack of information on the pattern of disease in wild fish makes such judgements dependent on the experience and opinion of the Local Fish Health Officers instead of on representative disease data.”

    The article is worth reading and it would be interesting to learn of any changes since it’s publication.

  10. Annie

    Salmon Guy Doesn’t matter what country the eggs come from. There is no quarantee the eggs aren’t carrying some form of disease. As for dumping billions of artifically created fish in the ocean to compete with real wild stocks for an alleged dwindling food resource I question how long before the hatchery fish and the wild stocks interbreed so much there is no longer an actual “wild” stock left. And the intervention by man to produce an over abundant supply cannot be sustained forever I’m sure.

  11. salmon guy Post author

    Thanks Annie,
    totally agree on some fronts… however, the view that wild salmon are simply a ‘food’ source, and a dwindling one at that, doesn’t account for the role that salmon play in every ecosystem they inhabit. I’m not a big fan of the language, however, as the saying goes: salmon are a “keystone” species. Meaning, they do a lot more than simply just feed people.

    Rough estimates suggest they’ve been around for a few million years, and as such have played a pretty important role through that time.

    your point on interbreeding is a good one… it’s a concern for many folks. I’m not so sure there’s an over-abundant supply anywhere… this type of viewpoint tends to make wild salmon sound like they exist simply for dominion by humans — which really isn’t the case.

    Farmed salmon — however — are under our dominion. With that comes impacts.

    The part I’m not fully understanding is how folks at the bcsalmonfacts.ca campaign headquarters seem to think there is much of a connection between hatchery operations and salmon farming. It’s quite a stretch when we start making those comparisons — as in hatchery and ocean-ranching operations are comparable to open-pen salmon farming and thus using this logic to conclude that open-pen salmon farming must be a good thing.

    There’s some fallacy in that logic.

    Just as there is in Alaska and the Marine Stewardship Council adding the nice little moniker “wild-caught” to their “eco-certified fisheries” to make consumers feel better about what they’re buying. As I’ve pointed out in past posts, it’s sort of like releasing farm-raised turkeys opening the gates at the pen then shooting them in the nearby forest and calling them “wild-shot”…

    The same fallacy in logic suggests by farming salmon and selling them we take pressure off of wild salmon stocks.

    It’s another stretch. Wild salmon stocks are not managed strictly by the demands of the market for salmon. There is actually very little connection between the actual management of wild stocks and supply of wild and farmed salmon on world markets. If the Japanese demand more salmon, we don’t send out the pacific fleet to catch more salmon, or send out the note to the farmers: ‘produce more salmon’.

    There is some separation between the supply and demand on the market and wild salmon fisheries management.

    Like anything that deals with resources — just because China would like more BC wood products doesn’t mean we go out and log every last chunk of wood to supply a growing and largely endless demand.

    We need to consider the impacts of those decisions first.

    So it appears to be another example of some faulty reasoning and Spin tactics.

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