Monday, 4 June 2018

Conservation Orgs Support In-Ocean Fish Farms in BC? Well, NO


Undercurrents, an excellent global news source for the aquaculture/seafood industry, ran a story that startled me:

“Not all conservation groups would support efforts to force the closure of salmon aquaculture farms off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, maintains Sea West News in an opinion column published this week.” 


Also quoted in the article is Speakingofseafood.org: “There is a misconception that aquaculture is not supported by the conservation community.” 

I’ve never heard of a conservation group in BC wanting in-ocean fish farms. So, who is Sea West News talking about? The Undercurrents article says:

 The Nature Conservancy, Ocean Wise, the Aquarium of the Pacific and the National Aquarium are among the groups noted in the [Sea West News] column as having made comments in support of aquaculture in the past.”

Okay, who are they? Where are they from? And do they support in-ocean fish farms in BC?

Speakingofseafood.org is part of the Sea Web program of the Ocean Foundation, which is not from BC, nor from Canada; it is from Washington DC, USA. The quote is generic text from the first paragraph on the website and does not refer to in-ocean fish farms, not BC, and not Canada.

Ocean wise is one of the other four named orgs; its video is really about land-based fish farms being the way of the future and includes Kuterra, an on-land BC fish farm. Apparently, Sea West News didn’t watch it. It has some BC/CDN members, like the Vancouver aquarium but says it is a ‘global conservation organization’, as in not from BC, not from Canada. See: http://seafood.ocean.org/about-ocean-wise/

In fact, its website has information on the problems with in-ocean fish farms: http://seafood.ocean.org/farming-techniques/

The Nature Conservancy – the video has nothing to do with in-ocean fish farming, and nothing to say about BC. It has a ‘Seafood Smart’ program for selecting seafood. Its programs are in the USA.

In fact, its website lists the problems with in-ocean fish farms: https://global.nature.org/content/the-aquaculture-opportunity

The National Aquarium – the video has nothing to do with in-ocean fish farming, and nothing to say about BC.  It has the ‘Seafood Smart’ program for selecting seafood, hence it is related to the Nature Conservancy.

Its website is largely about the aquarium and its programs: https://aqua.org/

The Aquarium of the Pacific – has a Seafood for the Future program, but the cited video has nothing to do with in-ocean fish farming, and nothing to say about BC. It is not from BC, not from Canada. It is a US program.

Its website is largely about the aquarium and its programs: http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/

All five are part of the Sea Web project, part of the Ocean Foundation, as in a larger organization, as mentioned, from Washington, DC, USA, meaning not from BC, not from Canada. 

Sea West News is ‘fibbing’ about them being from BC, as well as supporting in-ocean BC fish farms. Just like DFO ‘fibs’ about Atlantic salmon it likes to say can’t survive outside net pens. This really is fake news. 

So, what about the other side?

Here is a list of conservation organizations in BC that are against in-ocean fish farms and want them out of the water and put on land: 

David Suzuki Foundation, Watershed Watch, Living Oceans, Georgia Strait Alliance, RAVEN Trust, Clayoquot Action Group, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Coast Protectors, Dogwood, Pacific Coast Wild Salmon Society, Raincoast Research Society, Pacific Salmon Foundation, Salmon are Sacred, Chief Ernest Alfred and the 'Namgis, Wild First, West Coast Environmental Law, and Ecojustice. That’s 17 against.

And we can add the Green Party of BC, Green Party of Canada (Elizabeth May), NDP Party BC, Federal NDP (Fin Donnelly). That’s another 4 against.

Then there are Leadnow and Sum of Us. That’s another 2 against.

That adds up to 23 against, 0 for.

I smell a scam. This seems a lot like the industry-mounted global program to destroy the Hites et al, Science, Jan 9, 2004 article on the cancer-causing chemicals found in farmed Scottish salmon. Credibility was destroyed by participants from around the globe, even from BC, even though the science was true. See the David Miller article on this large, multi-country conspiracy: https://fishfarmnews.blogspot.com/2011/10/key-document-fish-farm-tactics.html

I think the scam is this: facing 20 Broughton Archipelago tenure cancellations in June 2018, the fish farm industry is using false claims of support to try to convince the BC government not to cancel them.

And it is true that the BC industry has employed Big Tobacco’s Hill and Knowlton as its PR firm in the past. See: https://fishfarmnews.blogspot.com/2018/02/big-toobacco-big-fish-farms-pretty-much.html. Also follow the Sarah K. Cox article link in the post.

However, 113,000 British Columbians have signed a petition to get fish farms out of the water: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-bc-government-wants-fish-farms-in.html

And a poll of BC citizen reaction shows three quarters want fish farms out of the water and on land: https://www.straight.com/news/1067796/new-poll-shows-three-four-british-columbians-want-ban-open-net-pen-salmon-farms. Note that Sea West News says only 1 in 4 in its poll.

So, who is Sea West News (SWN) that makes all these claims? See: https://seawestnews.com/anti-fish-farm-activists-leave-taxpayers-hefty-bills/

Note the prominent ad from the BC Salmon Farmer’s Association. I asked SWN if they would send me their annual report and financial statements. These documents will show membership, like fish farms, and sources of revenue, like fish farms.

SWN did not respond to my email. The same thing happened when I sent a note to the feed firm EWOS asking whether they used feces in their feed, as others do. I sent it six times with no response and concluded they refused to answer.

There are several names that circle one another, coming back to the same website: BC Aquaculture Awareness, Positive Aquaculture Awareness, Farm Fresh Salmon.

SWN has text from BC Aquaculture Awareness that makes an ad hominem attack on Alexandra Morton who has donated her life to getting fish farms out of the water in BC and saving wild salmon. It is vitriolic and scurrilous. 

When BC Aquaculture Awareness is clicked it goes back to the Positive Aquaculture Awareness (PAA) site, as in two names but the same organization. And the site is a third name:
http://www.farmfreshsalmon.org/. When you Google: Farm Fresh Salmon, it also goes back to PAA. 
SFN has text from BCAA, and when you go to the blog on PAA, you get the same ad hominem attack, June 1, 2018.

Q: who does SFN reference? A: PAA.

PAA’s president is Julia Warkentin. Grant Warkentin is a communications officer with Cermaq. Vice President is Leanne Brunt, a former fish farm employee, who was part of the global network that destroyed the credibility of the Hites article on cancer-causing chemicals in Scotland, exposed by prof David Miller. The SPAA, precursor to PAA, was also part of the Scotland conspiracy. 

(Brunt was also connected to First Dollar, p 78,79 of Miller’s story. Brunt was a communications officer for Panfish, another fish farm firm. Do read the account of the fish farm industry Salmon of The Americas website, and related websites used to drive global communications in the battle to kill the Hites article, even though the science was true. See my take on Miller and link to his book: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.com/2011/10/key-document-fish-farm-tactics.html).

In other words, the PAA is part of the fish farm industry in BC, not impartial outsiders, looking to right wrongs, and inform the public. One of the ongoing shibboleths of the industry is: if you don’t like us, you need to be educated. Read the About Us info. Part of their Vision includes that if you criticize fish farms, you are spreading misinformation. Why am I thinking 1984?

Back to SFN. This article by Fabian Dawson is typical of the negative information written and printed. I am surprised he works for the Province: https://seawestnews.com/salmon-virus-study-is-about-activism-not-science-experts/

And the text on Dr. Kristi Miller and Dr. Brian Riddell is also vitriolic and scurrilous. Both are well respected, the former a star scientist with DFO, the latter, a former DFO scientist who is now CEO of the Pacific Salmon Foundation for bringing back wild Pacific salmon.

The point is the tone, it is beneath the level of common dispute, and is also intended to make those of us who are pointing out the problems lose our tempers and flare out, so fish farms can say the other side is unreasonable and that there is a controversy, when there is no controversy. Fish farms are multinational multi-billion-dollar corporations that should not sink to this undignified level of manipulation and fakery.

One side is conflicted government and fish farms. The other side is the people who come to reject fish farms because the facts don’t add up. I follow fish farms in almost 20 countries every day. The news is the same in all of them: boom/bust industry, endless catastrophes and environmental degradation. People hate fish farms all around the world. 

My BAD NEWS BITES posts, now up to 9 posts, give links to 3,500 bad news stories I have found since July 2015 in the global fish farm/seafood industry press. Scan the bold facing in the current post: http://fishfarmnews.blogspot.com/2018/03/bad-news-bites.html. You will see there are many, many problems. Just look. 

Please send a note to Premier John Horgan, Lana Popham, Andrew Weaver, Adam Olsen and so on.

John Horgan: premier@gov.bc.ca;
Lana Popham: AGR.Minister@gov.bc.ca;
Andrew Weaver: andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca;
Adam Olsen: adam.olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca;
Sonia Furstenau: Sonia.Furstenau.MLA@leg.bc.ca.

You can find your MLA's email address here: https://www.leg.bc.ca/content-committees/Pages/MLA-Contact-Information.aspx.

 ***

And, here is a list of 100 organizations that are against in-ocean fish farms in the USA. It is item 271. Just look how long the list is. Doesn't look like anyone supports fish farms in North America: https://fishfarmnews.blogspot.com/2018/03/bad-news-bites.html.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you...

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