by Craig Weatherby
Last Saturday, October 3rd, a recently formed citizen group called “The Wild Salmon Circle” kicked off a public campaign to save wild salmon by removing salmon farms from the path of migrating salmon fry.
Vital Choice founder Randy Hartnell drove a couple of hours north from Bellingham, Washington to lend an American presence, hear the speakers, and shoot some video, which he's posted at YouTube.
The rally, held at the Vancouver Art Gallery, featured music, information, and speakers including salmon biologist Alexandra Morton, Canadian First Nations tribes, and representatives of the wilderness tourism, commercial, and sports fisheries.
Rally prompted by Canadian sockeye collapse
The immediate impetus behind the rally was the near total disappearance of the sockeye salmon expected to return to the Fraser River—located just north of our Bellingham, Washington base—this summer.
The Fraser River sockeye “run”—one of the biggest in the northwest—suffered a catastrophic decline of more than 90 percent.
Strong circumstantial evidence ties this disaster to the dozens of salmon farms sited near the path of the young salmon fry when they left the river... never to return.
Swarms of sea lice from salmon farms sited near migratory rivers are proven to do great harm to young salmon “fry” as they leave their birth rivers.
To learn more about that, see “Fish-Farm Threats to Salmon Affirmed,” which includes links to our past reports on the threat that sea lice from industrial salmon farms pose to wild salmon.
Evidence points to killer lice from salmon farms
No one has offered any credible explanation for the sudden collapse of the Fraser River sockeye run… other than the well-documented damage done by sea lice from salmon farms sited in the path of young salmon leaving their birth rivers.
There are two paths out of the Fraser River. One is north through waters occupied by more than 60 salmon farms. Only about eight percent of the fish that took this route to the ocean returned.
In contrast, the sockeye fry that turned left and exited southwards, through the Strait of Juan de Fuca (which is free of salmon farms), returned at twice their expected numbers.
This disinction provides strong evidence that the farms are guilty.
Despite the obvious evidence in this case, and the past history of farm-generated lice killing wild salmon, Canadian authorities have so far refused to investigate.
We urge to go to the new Wild Salmon Circle Web site, and visit adopt-a-fry.org to sign the petition addressed to Canadian Fisheries Minister Gail Shea and Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia.
Americans buy 80 percent of farmed salmon from British Columbia—so we bear a responsibility to act in the defense of the wild salmon.
The salmon “power supply” feeds animals and forests
Wild salmon don’t just supply food and income for many people… as important and welcome as that role may be.
Research shows that when they die after spawning, millions of salmon carcasses feed the microbes, plants, trees, and wildlife of the irreplaceable wilderness that lies between Washington State and Alaska.
As Alexandra Morton puts it, the river-to-sea-and-back journey of wild salmon constitutes a “power cord”… one that brings the abundant sun-generated nutrients of the sea to the relatively nutrient-poor rainforests of the Northwest coastal region.