Peace Arch Border Crossing
July 19, 2014 – About 100 people came together from both sides of the USA/Canada Peace Arch border on July 19, 2014. The rally came together to show solidarity with a key NAFTA body that recommended a formal investigation into Canada’s failure to protect wild salmon from disease and parasites from industrial fish farms in British Columbia. The decision by the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, an environmental dispute body established under NAFTA, responds to a 2012 petition by Pacific Coast Wild Salmon Society and Kwikwasu’tinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation in Canada, and the U.S.-based Center for Biological Diversity and Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.
Councillor Joanne Charles of the Semiahmoo First Nation gave a very warm welcome to the Semiahmoo Territory, expressing her support for the much needed NAFTA investigation. Joanne was very instrumental in getting the collaboration of security and park managers in planning for the peaceful rally. Our hands go up to Joanne Charles, the rest of the Semiahmoo Council, and the people of Semiahmoo people for their generous support!
There was a line up of well-informed and inspiring speakers that included: Dr. Alexandra Morton, Pacific Coast Wild Salmon Society Court Battle to Stop the Spread of Diseases Chief Judy Wilson, Union of BC Indian Chiefs DFO must remove its conflict of interest and protect wild salmon Zeke Grader, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association Ocean Aquaculture – An Unsustainable Venture Ernie Crey, Cheam First Nation Fisheries Portfolio Industrial Fish Farms – A Threat to First Nation Fisheries Dr. Claudette Bethune, Clinical Scientist Fish Farm Inability to control diseases/unsustainable feed sources Craig Orr, Executive Director, Watershed Watch Salmon Society Lack of implementation of Cohen Commission Recommendations Chief Michelle Lee Edwards, Cayoose Creek Band (Sekw’el’was) Wild Salmon Sacredness vs Ocean Farmed Salmon Dangers
Dr. Alexandra Morton “I’ll never give up on wild salmon!”
Alexandra Morton, who has been a powerful advocate of wild salmon protection and a critic of the mainly Norwegian fish farm industry on the BC coast provided the following messages: We had a Cohen Commission and there we learned that DFO’s own scientist, Dr. Kristi Miller, found that the Fraser Sockeye that had been dying in the river by the millions just before they spawned, are fighting a virus. She was muzzled even though she published her findings in a peer-reviewed science publication. The Cohen Commission was able to force the fish farm industry to reveal their disease records. “I was able to read the disease records and there I found references to three European viruses. I have been tracking these viruses with the help of many people across BC – First Nations, business community, stream keepers and found evidence that these three European viruses appear to be in BC in the farmed salmon we tested in supermarkets, and in the wild salmon. What is government doing about it? They are abusing the lab that I use; they are discrediting me they are are completely turning a blind eye”, Alex said that they are giving every single fish farm a license to transfer diseased fish from their hatcheries to the fish farms. “Now we really have to get NAFTA to investigate this,” she emphasized. Alexandra Morton went on to say “We can have aquaculture, it’s not the problem, but don’t put salmon farms on the major Pacific salmon routes, and stock them with diseased Atlantic salmon. Nobody in the world will tell you that makes sense,” she exclaimed. Alex praised Chief Bob Chamberlin of the Kwikwasu’tinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation as a very brave and active leader on this important matter.
Alexandra wants to publish the science on the viruses, but to stop all this, she believes it is now up to the consumer. “So I am trying to raise money to run adds in California and across BC, and tell the consumer – when you put farmed salmon in your mouth, it is not only not good for you, it is not good for Canada, British Columbia, the North Pacific, the killer whales, the eagles, and the hundreds of species that eat wild salmon.”
Asked how people can contribute financially toward this end, she said “You can go to www.alexandramorton.ca, and make a donatation indicating that you want it to go to the Boycott that Eddie Gardner is doing, otherwise it will go towards the general fund to educate the public, to run some really powerful advertisements that I developed with a real powerful ad firm in Vancouver. Many people think that farmed salmon is actually a salmon, but it is not, it’s a facsimile, it’s artificial, it’s even colored.
Dr. Alexandra Morton with Eddie Gardner at the Peace Arch Protect Wild Salmon Rally
Alexandra Morton spoke directly to the ocean fish farm industry saying, “This woman is not going away anytime soon. I will not give up on wild salmon!”
Alexandra Morton was uplifted by the rally and, with this boost of morale, she will continue to inspire new allies and consolidate the resolve of the many people and organizations that are committed to press, not only for the NAFTA investigation, but more immediate steps to stop an industry that threatens the keystone species so precious to the world.