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Protestors demand open-pen farmed salmon be pulled from Walmart's shelves
A small group of protestors against stores selling open-pen farmed salmon took their message to Duncan’s Walmart Supercentre Tuesday.
“Safeway and Overwaitea have already changed their policies,” said Shawna Green of Wild Salmon Forever.
She explained Walmart brass have signalled a willingness to ban open-pen farmed salmon, but failed to pull it from their freezers.
“They haven’t changed a thing. Our job is to let people know, so maybe (Walmart) will change its policy. It’s really up to consumers now.”
Walmart leaders are following the retail giant’s sustainable-seafood policy — while keeping doors open to feedback from groups such as Green’s, plus other non-governmental groups, its corporate affairs director said.
Alex Roberton explained his company’s policy recognizes claims by various NGOs, the Global Aquaculture Alliance, and followers of best aquaculture practices.
“At this point, we don’t have any plans to pull open-pen farmed salmon from our shelves, but we’ll continue dialogue (with various groups),” he told the News Leader Pictorial from headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario.
Green, and several other supporters in Duncan, claimed activity and compounds in open-pen fish farms are damaging the coastal environment — claims that are vehemently disputed by the industry and not supported by government.
They also cited sea lice, and three viruses, affecting wild-salmon stocks.
“It’s affecting the ecosystem,” Green said. “Lots of people don’t know the dangers of open-pen farmed salmon.”
Protestor Leanne Hodges claimed she does. The former federal fisheries worker explained she left her job in 1997 after realizing what she saw as impacts of open-pen farmed salmon on wild stocks.
“No one knows if salmon parasites go into people. It’s insanity on multiple levels.”
Hodges explained how wild salmon help sustain some 200 plant-and-animal species in coastal ecosystems.