In Support of ‘Salmon Farms Exposed’

Alexandra Morton

While filming our PBS/KQED special “Call of the Killer Whale” in British Colombia over a year ago, my team and I heard a consistent message throughout the scientific community, First Nations and marine conservation organizations. That message was that open-net salmon farms are killing many of the wild salmon runs of British Columbia and are having biological and social ramifications that will be felt for decades.

While spending time in the field with Alexandra Morton, a biologist who has been conducting scientific studies for over 15 years and documenting the interaction of farmed salmon, wild salmon and sea lice with Raincoast Research Society; she showed me the high infestation of sea lice on young salmon. The salmon farms are breeding grounds for billions of sea lice that attack the young vulnerable, migrating, wild salmon. At her sample site, Alexandra showed me a small sample of 100 salmon smolt where 60 percent were infested with sea lice. Even though this infestation is deadly, I was inspired by Alexandra’s optimism when she says, “Salmon farms are a very serious problem, but unlike so many problems in the ocean, we can fix this one really easily; we just need to take the farms out.”

It takes the dedication, determination and diligence of people like Alexandra Morton to bring issues like this to the public’s attention. It takes the public and our purchasing power to create change. It is why Ocean Futures Society advocates sustainable seafood choices to help encourage consumers to be apart of the solution.

But it also takes the collaboration of many organizations coming together and supporting mass media campaigns to reach a broader audience about a global concern. I am proud OFS is one of over 25 organizations from Norway, Canada, Chile, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, UK, and the US participating in the Tuesday 16th February global launch of “Farmed Salmon Exposed - The global reach of the Norwegian salmon farming industry” by listing the link here. This new 22-minute documentary produced by Canadian film-maker Damien Gillis lifts the lid on the problems caused by open-net-cage salmon farms worldwide. It reveals the pervasive nature of the issues plaguing salmon aquaculture and features testimonials by witnesses discussing the environmental and socio-economic damage caused by poorly managed salmon farms. By educating ourselves about the threat of open-net salmon farms worldwide, we can all take ownership in the long-term productivity of our oceans for all future generations.

Warm regards,

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First Photo: Jean-Michel joins Alexandra Morton, biologist with Raincoast Research Society, in the Broughton Archipelago where she has been conducing research on the interaction between farmed salmon, wild salmon and sea lice for years. She was one of the first to document sea lice from salmon farms as one of the most significant threats facing wild salmon in British Columbia. ©Carrie Vonderhaar, Ocean Futures Society/KQED