In 1997, I received an article query for Natural Life Magazine from a killer whale researcher named Alexandra Morton who had, 14 years earlier, moved to a cluster of islands on Canada’s west coast called the Broughton Archipelago, which is the perfect place to study whales year round. Her research broke new ground as she spent her life watching orca as they slept, foraged and played. But she had recently discovered a problem: The exploding number of fish farms – and the problems they have caused with sea lice and other issues – was causing her beloved whales to disappear. As she put it, “Wild salmon populations crashed and the pristine waters of the Broughton Archipelago turned red. Another ecosystem was dying.” The articles was entitled “Whales Don’t Eat Farmed Salmon…Why Should We?” It was among the first articles published on the problems with farmed salmon.
Ever since, Alexandra Morton has been working against the floating pen fish farms and trying to move the industry into closed tanks. BC scientists have produced over 20 scientific papers on the impact of salmon farms, to no avail. In fact, they’re still trying to enlarge the industry and 90 percent of the 2009 sockeye that were exposed to salmon farms vanished. So now, she is spearheading the Get Out Migration as the logical next step in an effort to remove the impact of salmon farms on wild fish and ecosystems by removing salmon farms from BC waters. Morton and others are walking down the B.C. coast this week from the fishing village of Sointula to the province’s capital in Victoria, organizing a blessing for the wild fry on Mother’s Day, then meeting with politicians who support their position that the era of net pen fish farming is over for BC.
Like the salmon migration, success depends on numbers. Details are at the Wild Salmon Are Sacred website. If you can’t particpate in the walk, the least you can do is to sign the petition on the website, avoid farmed salmon and support the wild salmon economy.