UPDATE: Nature Conservancy Supports Atlantic Farmed Salmon – Boycott Needed? No

As of today, the Nature Conservancy web site no longer shows the page referred to below. There is no mention of Mr. Jones, and a search of their listing of scientists, senior leadership, issue experts and volunteer leadership has no listing of Mr. Jones. The web site has some modifications showing the good work they are doing with aquaculture around the world, which I have always supported in the past. Since they have chosen not to communicate with me since my emails and phone conversations of two weeks ago, I am assuming that things have changed there, for what appears to be the better.

I am going to leave this original post up, because I am sure that people will wonder what happened to it if I take it down, and I want this post to show that I am asking any of you that reach this page to hold off taking any action against The Nature Conservancy until further notice. Given that The Nature Conservancy had such an interview in place for some time (weeks?) it would be good to see them post a page discussing the controversies here in the Pacific Northwest to show that there are environmental concerns we face, and are looking forward to working with the Nature Conservancy in the future to come up with solutions that can be supported by all of us.

Thanks in advance.  AL BERGSTEIN – EDITOR


THE ORIGINAL POST

The Nature Conservancy has come out in support of farmed Atlantic Salmon in their latest online and printed magazine. In an interview with aquaculture program manager Robert Jones, he states:

So can I buy farm-raised salmon?

I do. You have to compare it against every other terrestrial animal: Switching from beef to salmon or pork to salmon is a good environmental choice providing that the producer has done its job reducing the environmental impact. I think, for example, that the Norwegian industry is doing better than others. The Scottish also do a pretty good job. So, yes, I do believe that aquaculture, when done sustainably, is a smart environmental choice.”

Mr. Jones does not offer any explanation or overview of the controversy of net pens in British Columbia, Washington State, or Alaska (which has a ban on them). No mention of our Washington’s new ban on farming Atlantic salmon. No mention of massive overuse of anti-biotics to combat diseases rampant in the Pacific off Chile. Also not mentioned is the fact that Norway is shipping diseased fish embryos to North America. No mention of issues with farming shrimp around the world nor the documented slave trade of workers employed by the industry.

and https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/food/wp/2015/12/16/how-to-find-shrimp-thats-not-produced-by-slave-labor-in-thailand/?utm_term=.aab952613539

The Nature Conservancy refused to give me access to Robert before writing this article. In looking at his background on Linked In I find that Robert came from the very agency, NOAA, that has supported farmed salmon with spurious research that only looked at effects of the net pens in the waters under the pens, and ignored disease vectors, effects farther from the pens, sea lice, and the like.

Also, it appears Robert Jones has pulled his Linked In resume since my inquiries.

To be clear, I am not saying that all farmed fish is a problem. But it is clear that farming Atlantic Salmon has become a serious environmental issue in many parts of the world.

It is time to wake up The Nature Conservancy. They have allowed a person into their upper management who appears to be unable to view the environmental problems of the farmed Atlantic salmon industry with a non biased eye. Please feel free to forward this article.

Please join me and others in supporting a ban on donations to the Nature Conservancy in any form, until they change this position and offer a balanced approach to aquaculture around the world. Please call your local Nature Conservancy office and let them know you will be donating during the fourth quarter of the year to other environmental organizations. 

 

 

 

 

Alexandra Morton launches Operation Virus Hunters with Sea Shepherd

From Alexandra Morton:
In a stunning development Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd offered me a ship and crew to further my work protect wild salmon from salmon farms!

The launch of Operation Virus Hunter begins today with a press conference with First Nation leaders, Pamela Anderson and David Suzuki.

If you want to follow this voyage I have created a website to allow you to keep track of us and most importantly for you to help!

I don’t think the Liberal government is being properly briefed on the impact of this dirty industry and so I set sail on the Martin Sheen on a research and public awareness mission.  This will be a peaceful journey, no harassment of the workers, no disruption of the daily operations of the farms, but we will be taking a close look at these farms.  They thrive on secrecy, however they are using public waters…

Here is the web link: http://www.voyageforsalmon.ca

If you see the ship go by please photo and share.  This is our chance to speak to the world about the destruction of one of earths rare places that still makes clean water and food.

Gilakas’la,

Alexandra Morton, Gwayum’dzi

Genetically engineered salmon is fit for dinner, FDA says in first decision of its kind – LA Times

Sometimes government agencies get it wrong. This is one of those times. Now we, the consumers, have to continue to just say no to farmed salmon, and demand wild fish. Only consumers can stop the industry, which has apparently manipulated through it’s lobbying efforts the highest levels of the FDA. This is a bad decision, for the environment, for consumers, and for fish. Why? It’s not that you might keel over by eating this fish. It’s about the entire ecosystem that is created to support this new animal. Have long term studies been done? I’ve not seen any. Has anyone questioned whether the feed and antibiotics that may be needed to support this creature are passed through to diners? Or what their effects on the environment might be under the pens that raise these? NOAA, which has certified these pens, only looks at the short term effects of the pens on the bottom directly under the pens. The science behind this is skewed in the favor of the farms, not the environment or the consumer. 


Perhaps that last breed does not evoke images of ancient and frigid headwaters in Alaska or Arctic Canada, where wild salmon spawn every year, or even the humble hatcheries that produce less expensive species consumed by millions of people. But on Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration announced that the AquAdvantage salmon — developed using growth hormone from Chinook salmon and a gene from an eel-like ocean fish that makes it reach market size twice as quickly as other salmon — has become the first genetically engineered animal approved for American consumption. AquaBounty Technologies Inc., the Massachusetts company that created the fish, calls it “the world’s most sustainable salmon.” Opponents call it “Frankenfish.” The FDA, which was accused of delaying the decision for years amid public concern, now says you can call it dinner. William Yardley reports. (LA Times)

 http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-85096654/

Slippery plans for “organic” certification of farmed fish – Action needed by April 8th

Over the past decade, WILD has become widely recognized as the gold standard for quality salmon and other seafoods, and the fishing industry and consumers have benefited when labels are accurate and can be trusted. Occasional packages of imported farmed salmon labeled “organic” in US markets simply indicated the corruption of some foreign certification standards. This would never be allowed by our Department of Agriculture… or so we thought.
The USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is meeting April 29 – May 2, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas, and is considering various petitions that are part of a concerted effort to certify US farmed salmon and other seafoods as organic. Some NOSB members have said that since farmed fish are here already, setting standards will raise the bar on an industry with notoriously dirty practices. Yet, for years since the Livestock Committee recommended farmed
seafoods for certification, instead of assessing species to be reared, whether ocean or coastal cages should be allowed, composition of feed, impacts of pollution and other problems of marine feedlots, at this meeting, they are considering exemptions for usage of chlorine, vaccines, and synthetic feed additives requested by aquaculture operations hoping to secure organic accreditation in the future. They need to be educated before the process picks up any
more momentum on a very slippery slope.
Comments have to be submitted by April 8, 2014 and can be sent via http://www.regulations.gov/ #submitComment;D=AMS_FRDOC_0001-1155. For additional
information, email Michelle Arsenault (Michelle.Arsenault@ams.usda.gov), NOSB Advisory Board Specialist or call 202-720-0081.
This move towards certifying seafoods reared in feedlots would not only confuse consumers, itcould cause serious economic harm to capture fisheries. Fresh farmed organic fish may trump frozen wild fish in the marketplace, even among very savvy consumers. “If the USDA does decide to allow farm-raised fish into the ranks of USDA-certified organic products, this could open the door to a huge increase in profits for the aquaculture industry as well as give them a huge leg up over the commercial fishing industry.” (The Organic Aquaculture Quandary )
The pressure may also be coming from growers of commodity crops looking for new markets to dump their products. Representatives of the American Soy Growers and Illinois Soybean Association attended NOAA meetings in the Pacific Northwest to describe their industry plans to produce feed for the fish farm industry. “Aquaculture Oceans of Opportunity” states “Marine or offshore aquaculture is fast becoming the focus of aquaculture expansion” and the Illinois Soybean Association has “made considerable investments in furthering offshore aquaculture productions systems and in perfecting feed rations”. http://www.ilsoy.org/documents/aquaculture-oceans-opportunity
Since the inception of the National Organic Program, the standards have been trusted to mean that food with the label have been produced in ways that are compatible with organic principles of adhering to practices that “restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony … and balance natural systems.” These principles require protecting biodiversity, minimizing environmental impacts, controlling inputs, and allowing “natural behaviors.” These are not the practices of
industrial aquaculture.
There are many problems that could be described in comments:
* Marine fish farms replicate some of the worst practices of confined animal feedlot operations, known as CAFOs, which could never receive organic certification.
*Impacts are largely under the waterline and out of sight, so the fish farm industry has escaped scrutiny that would have closed down comparably dirty land-based operations. Marine netpens allow excess feed, pathogens, parasites, and voluminous amounts of pollution to flush into the surrounding waters, putting other aquatic species at risk.
*Farmed fish escape, competing with wild species for food and habitat. More than 613,000 non-native Atlantic salmon escaped from netpens into Washington State waters in 4 years; millions of farmed fish escape world-wide.
*The salmon farming industry uses more antibiotics per pound than any other livestock producer and these pesticides, fungicides, algaecides and other chemicals flush from open cages into the surrounding waters.
*Several studies have concluded that usage of antibiotics in fish farming increases antibiotic resistant bacteria in our marine environment and in our food supply. The industrial aquaculture production system medicates to the weakest animal and sick and treated fish and seafood sometimes end up in the marketplace.
*Neil Frazer, professor at the University of Hawaii, states that large-scale farming of finfish “eventually destroys surrounding wild fish stocks … nature has an effectively inexhaustible supply of diseases.”
*Use of fish meal and fish oil from wild forage fish result in overfishing of wild fish to feed carnivorous farmed fish. One-third of the ocean’s harvest is herring, anchovies, mackerel and other small fish, which are made into fish meal and oil for fattening farmed fish and animals.
The aquaculture industry already uses more than half the world’s fishmeal and more than 80 percent of the fish oil. Rearing salmon, halibut, blackcod and many other marine species is unsustainable because of the net loss of protein.
*Standards for organic livestock requires that their feed is 100% organic feed, yet the proposed aquaculture standard would allow farmed fish feed to be 25% wild fish, claiming the forage fish meal and oil will not be “feed” but instead a “feed supplement. Wild salmon and other food fish were previously denied organic certification by the NOSB.
*Farmed fish have documented higher amounts of environmental contaminants since the feed concentrates mercury, lead, and persistent bioaccumlative toxins. A study by the Environmental Working Group showed farmed salmon often are the most PCB-contaminated protein source in the U.S. food supply, with an average of 16 times the level of PCBs as wild fish.
*“The recommendation acknowledges the human health risks, but would only require them be removed if found to have contaminants in amounts higher than regulatory levels in commercially available fish meal and oil. Thus the proposed “organic” standard would allow the same level of contaminants in fish meal as those permitted by general industrial aquaculture. This provision is a microcosm of the recommendation as a whole: rather than setting a higher bar for organics, and risk losing the ability to label salmon and other predatory fish as “organic,” it merely lowers the organic bar to the existing commercial standards.” Center for Food Safety presentation to the NOSB.
*Organic standards require animals to be able to exhibit their “natural behavior.” Wild salmon and other ocean fish swim for their lifetimes, and confining these fish is a direct violation of one of the core organic principles.
Anne Mosness will attend the Spring 2014 NOSB meeting, representing the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Marketing Association (email: eatwildfish@aol.com).
More info:   “Can farmed salmon be organic”, PCC Sound Consumer:
Center for Food Safety:
e_final_34952_38967.pdf
The Organic Aquaculture Qandary:
Anne Mosness
34 Rocky Ridge Dr.
Bellingham, Wa. 98229

Sterilise farm salmon, say experts – The Scotsman

While this is not directly related to around here, it does have some interesting scientific findings that are relevant to our own battles against net pens. Read the whole article. It’s quite worth it. Wonder if it’s totally a one to one fit with our fish farming industry?

FARMED salmon should be sterilised to prevent them breeding with wild fish and introducing genetic weaknesses that will hamper their survival, experts have urged.

New research shows that while salmon reared in captivity to be eaten are genetically distinct from their wild relatives, they are just as fertile and pose a potential danger to naturally occurring populations if they escape and breed with them. Millions of salmon escape from fish farms each year and can find their way into wild spawning groups, where they can reproduce and introduce undesirable traits.

Read the rest of the story at

http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/sterilise-farm-salmon-say-experts-1-3334304

 

NOAA: Coastal ocean aquaculture can be environmentally sustainable little to no effects

This came out in December but was just brought to my attention. I think this officially opens a political battle. Prior to this, NOAA was pretty much not actively taking sides in this. With this campaign on their part, they appear to becoming a wing of the public relations people of the fish farm industry. To be clear: NOAA is a huge agency, with lots of different departments, and they are under the Department of Commerce, not environmental protection. This comes interestingly enough, at a time when there is a great deal of criticism of NOAA for it’s policies on net pen aquaculture here in the state.

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2013/20131218_aquaculture.html

NOAA web site on fish farming

Land-based fish farms getting into the swim of things in B.C. – The Province

Good article about a working alternative to in water fish farms. This is a rated “green” tilapia farm near Sumas. No waste water is sent to the rivers. The way forward? It certainly takes away the arguement that this is an “in-water” dependent business. Have to see if we can get local restaurants to carry the fish. I’d pay a bit more to support this, wouldn’t you?

Sumas Lake Aquafarm’s fish are imported as fry and raised in a closed-containment system in a former dairy barn. Water is circulated among 24 large metal tanks, each containing about 5,000 fish, and a sophisticated filtration system using RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) technology. The farm is completely bio-secure, and no waste water is released into the environment.

Read the whole story here and do what you can to support local reporting in news outlets like the “The Province”

http://www.theprovince.com/life/Land+based+fish+farms+getting+into+swim+things/9310810/story.html

New film on Salmon Piscine Reovirus Outbreak

While Canadian officials stonewall the publication of scientific data that shows that Piscine Reovirus in net pen raised Atlantic salmon appears to be spreading to wild stocks, Alexandra Morton and filmmaker Twyla Roscovich’s keep working to get the news out. Why  is this important? Because our Department of Ecology and Department of Fish and Wildlife do not seem to have a sense of urgency on this issue, which could easily spread down here. Over 70% of the samples of store bought salmon in BC appear to be infected by the virus.

Filmmaker Twyla Roscovich traveled to Norway to ask the remaining experts who have not been forcibly silenced on this issue.  A very disturbing report from the scientists actually doing the research in Norway.

A new short film on piscine reovirus in wild salmon

 

Asking Norway about the Piscine Reovirus

https://vimeo.com/70399899

Scientists concerned over chill in reporting of salmon virus after lab delisted – Vancouver Sun

The fallout continues:

Scientists fear there could be a reluctance to report a deadly fish virus after the first lab in Canada to say it was detected in British Columbia salmon was stripped of a special reference status by an international agency. Marine researchers say they were stunned to hear that the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE, recently suspended the reference status from a research laboratory at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island. Run by Fred Kibenge, who is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on infectious salmon anemia, it was one of only two labs in the world recognized by the group for the testing of the virus. Alison Auld reports.

http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Scientists+concerned+over+chill+reporting+salmon+virus/8626837/story.html

“Slime Eels” new fishery on the Peninsula

Hagfish are eels (Myxine glutinosa) They are not the same as the river eels, which are Lampreys, that used to be caught and eaten by the Tribes here in times gone by.

(Family Petromyzontidae
Pacific lamprey, Entosphenus tridentatus
River lamprey, Lampetra ayresi
Western brook lamprey, Lampetra richardsoni)

While it appears to be a benign fishery, obviously understanding their place in the ecosystem and how many of the eels can be taken without affecting what is eating them and what they eat, is good to know.

A new, relatively untapped fishery is growing on the North Olympic Peninsula, with at least two fish distributors planning to expand hagfish operations to supply Asian markets. Hagfish, also known as “slime eels,” are not eaten in the U.S. but are a popular food in South Korea, Brandt Koo, general manager of Five Ocean Seafoods Inc., told Port of Port Angeles commissioners last week. Arwyn Rice reports. You may go ewww, but slimy hagfish might be Peninsula’s next fishery boon

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20130414/NEWS/304149983/you-may-go-ewww-but-slimy-hagfish-might-be-peninsulas-next-fishery

Talk on GMO fish at Quimper Grange in PT April 1st.

Though it will be held April 1st, this is no joke. A talk by one of the leading people educating the public on the issues of fish farming and protecting wild salmon stocks.

AnneMosness

“TAMPERING WITH NATURE AND OUR RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT WE ARE EATING”, about GMO Salmon
Risks of genetic engineering of salmon will be the main topic of Anne Mosness’ program at Quimper Grange on Monday, April 1st. Anne has spent many years as captain of salmon fishing boats and comes from a commercial fishing family. She is a long time advocate for wild fish, healthy coastal ecosystems and economies. Her background includes representing wild fisheries at the UN Forum for Food Sovereignty, Slow Fish, Slow Food and organizing Blue Festival educational events.

When the genes of unrelated species of fish are combined it is possible to them to grow bigger and faster however there has not been adequate research on human health risks, the environment, or impacts on traditional food producers and businesses. If a GE salmon patent is granted it will open the floodgates for patenting other species of transgenic fish. Several laws and regulations currently being considered are very important and will be discussed at the Grange program.

Anne will talk about the potential for pollution of the gene pool and how open cages have proven incapable of confining farmed fish which could have dire consequences in the in the marine environment.

In 2006 Quimper Grange authored a resolution in support of labeling genetically engineered organisms that was adopted as Washington State Grange’s policy position. Now, in light of impending legislation Quimper Grange reiterates its support of labeling genetically engineered foods and presents the public with an opportunity to learn about current and urgent genetic engineering issues. Quimper Grange, 1219 Corona Street (at the N. end of Sheridan). Doors open at 7:00 for socializing (potluck finger foods encouraged). Program starts at 7:30 for more information call Marla Streator at 385-6924.

More on Anne Mosness at http://www.foodandcommunityfellows.org/fellow/anne-mosness

Markets pledge not to sell genetically-modified salmon – Seattle Times

It is possible to stop net pen aquaculture and GMO foods without legislation. It’s called educating the consumer and having the stores do the ban.

Several supermarket chains have pledged not to sell what could become the first genetically modified animal to reach the nation’s dinner plates — a salmon engineered to grow about twice as fast as normal. The supermarkets — including Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s and Aldi — stated their policies in response to a campaign by consumer and environmental groups opposed to the fish. The groups are expected to announce the chains’ policies Wednesday.

Andrew Pollack reports. Markets pledge not to sell genetically-modified salmon

http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2020596645_modifiedsalmonxml.html

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the Seattle Times

Commissioners may reluctantly approve fish farming

Our elected officials are being told to approve it ‘or else’. The outright threat of throwing out the hard work of this county over 6 years by the Department of Ecology is just outrageous. If you want to do something about it, make a call to the governors’ office for the replacement of Mr. Sturdevant at the State Department of Ecology.

Jefferson County commissioners will consider approval today of a letter to the state Department of Ecology that reluctantly agrees to permitting net pen aquaculture under conditional use permits. The three commissioners will discuss, and possibly approve, the letter proposed by county staff during today’s 1:30 p.m. county manager briefing session in commissioners’ chambers at the Jefferson County Courthouse. Fish farming is the last sticking point in state approval of the county’s update of its shoreline master program.

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20120924/news/309249995/0/SEARCH

Another 300k fish culled in BC after virus hits another fish farm

Yet another fish farm in BC has been infected. This one near Jervis Inlet.

http://www.theprovince.com/health/company+kill+Atlantic+salmon+after+virus+outbreak/7064123/story.html

More BC Fish Farms found infected – Vancouver Sun

Two B.C. fish farms will cull their fish this week after receiving confirmation of a virus that can be deadly to Atlantic salmon. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed that infectious haematopoetic necrosis, or IHN, has been found in salmon at Grieg Seafood’s farm at Culloden Point on Jervis Inlet and Mainstream Canada’s farm at Millar Channel in Clayoquot Sound. Judith Lavoie reports.

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Virus+confirmed+salmon+farms+cull+fish/7063701/story.html

BC Tribe bringing lawsuit against fish farm – Vancouver Sun

Another British Columbia First Nation attack on the fish farming industry. This in particular, should be a warning here for the people seeking to build fish farms.

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/First+Nation+close+fish+farms+reach+Canadian+Supreme+Court/7060492/story.html

BC Fish Farm Quarantined over IHN virus.

A B.C. fish farm where a virus deadly to Atlantic salmon was detected has been quarantined, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said on Thursday, as officials scramble to contain the highly infectious disease. Earlier this week, Mainstream Canada announced that fish at its Dixon Bay farm north of Tofino tested positive for infectious hematopoietic necrosis, or IHN. It’s the first time in nine years that Atlantic salmon farmed in B.C. have tested positive for IHN.
CFIA quarantines B.C. fish farm as company prepares for cull

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/CFIA+quarantines+fish+farm+company+prepares+cull/6640338/story.html

BC Sea Lice Records to become public

As reported in the “Island Tides” newspaper out of BC, the government of BC has been forced to release records of sea lice infestation in salmon farming. A lawsuit by two environmental groups that took four years to adjudicate has been won in their favor. As the information is released, I’ll publish it here, as it affects possible tribal efforts to establish more salmon farming.

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