Opinion

Right to be suspicious

Though Marine Harvest may be collaborating with DFO on research, the public has a right to be suspicious of this industry-government relationship.

Consider the recent Sockeye Inquiry final report; Justice Cohen highlights DFO’s conflicting mandates and concludes “there is a risk that DFO will not proactively examine potential threats to migrating sockeye salmon from salmon farms, leaving it up to other concerned parties to establish that there is a threat (vol. 3, page 12).”

One must also question the salmon farming industry’s spin in their media statements, “we’re confident that our farms are not a risk to wild salmon,” and “there is no evidence that salmon farms are harming wild salmon.” These seem to be in direct conflict with testimony by one of the same representatives from Sept. 7, 2011, of the Inquiry, when he said, “salmon farms can be a place where the sea lice are amplified. I mean, that’s been proven. And yes, when the pink salmon, for example, are very small, the damage can be quite extensive (page 51, line 36).”

Should we believe media statements or under oath inquiry testimony?

Just a couple weeks ago we published a nine-year study examining lice levels on farms, including those owned by Marine Harvest, that showed lice levels on farms are inextricably linked to pink salmon survival. When lice levels on farms are high, wild pinks don’t do well. Should you believe peer-reviewed science or industry media statements? Let’s face it, industry communication reps are working overtime in damage-control mode responding to public concerns about open net-cage salmon farming. As their social licence continues to evaporate, it seems they will stop at nothing to try and sell their own version of the story.

Stan Proboszcz, Craig Orr,

Watershed Watch Salmon Society

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