Farmers hit back at ‘publicity stunt’
AN anti-salmon farming campaign in Canada featuring Pamela Anderson, the former Baywatch star, has been dismissed as a misleading publicity stunt by farmers.
The campaign, launched last month by the Sea Shepard Society, plans to travel up the BC coast over the course of several weeks, stopping at various salmon farms to ‘conduct audits’.
The BC Salmon Farmers Association is concerned about the aims of this voyage. Although the campaigners insisted they would be ‘non-aggressive and non-harassing’ when approaching farms, the Sea Shepherd Society has a long history of doing the opposite, said the BCSFA.
Farming companies place great emphasis on the health and safety of employees, and the health and wellbeing of their animals, with every farm certified by third-party environmental sustainability and food safety standards.
Farmers raising Atlantic salmon have all committed to achieving the most stringent certification available – the ASC certification – by 2020, and are getting there as fast, or faster, than anyone in the world, said the BCSFA.
Salmon on farms are healthy, with about 90 per cent surviving through to market. Fish on farms are examined on a daily basis, with thousands of laboratory tests done each year in BC to ensure that farmers know the exact health status of their stock. BCSFA executive director Jeremy Dunn said: ‘We’re disappointed that this latest publicity stunt is attempting to paint a misleading picture of an industry that provides a healthy, sustainable product that feeds millions of people.
‘Our industry is obsessed with the health of salmon as salmon health is essential to the success of our industry.
‘BC salmon farmers are involved with the Pacific Salmon Foundation, Department of Fisheries & Oceans, UBC, and others in the Strategic Salmon Health Initiative – the largest single study into the health of salmon on the BC coast ever undertaken.
‘A world class research team is currently testing close to 30,000 samples of wild, hatchery and farm raised salmon. We are relying on this team to ensure advocacy and research do not get confused. It is important to distinguish research from advocacy. Both are legitimate but they are different. The research question that is the focus of this voyage seems to be the presence of the virus PRV .Like people, all animals have thousands of viruses. What we worry about is do they cause disease. The answer for salmon and PRV after years of study is no.
‘Members of the BCSFA are open to meeting with Sea Shepherd scientists to hear if they think there is a different approach to that of the leading government and university scientists, or if they can add to the expertise already working on projects, we’d like to see if there is a possibility for collaboration.’
Above: Pamela Anderson- conducting audits’