Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Get Out Migration a wild success

What did Alexandra Morton's Get Out Migration accomplish? Why do wild salmon migrate? They go to such huge efforts and for so long a journey. A journey that takes up most of their lives. And then they come back to the stream where they were born in. They come back and make the forests green and feed all the critters.

They have sustained first nations all along the coast. Salmon are sacred. They literally bring this coast alive. We cannot take them for granted.

And yet our governments have looked the other way as salmon farming corporations have despoiled our coast and threatened the wild salmon. The DFO has abandoned it's raison d'etre to protect our wild fisheries just as it betrayed the East coast cod fishery a generation ago.

Humans can migrate too. And that's what we did in the thousands on May 8th , to join with Alexander Morton in Victoria to tell our governments to get the Norwegian Salmon corporations out of our ocean. It was a beautiful day as thousands marched in the streets of Victoria to the Legislature buildings.

It was a joyous occasion as speaker after speaker spoke of the importance of getting the salmon farms out of the ocean and into closed containment.

It's not rocket science. Industrial farming requires the concentration of food product which attracts parasites such as sea lice from the wild. This kind of farming requires heavy doses of chemicals to control the parasites and if this kind of farming is done in the ocean in open net-pens, the sea lice and the chemicals are allowed to spread out and harm the wild fish and other critters.

Putting farmed fish into closed containment protects them from most sea parasites so they require less toxic chemicals. And separating them from the ocean prevents parasites from spreading back into the wild where they are especially dangerous to salmon smolts – the young salmon.

When I listened to the speakers at the legislature I was most impressed by what the first nations elders had to say: Wild salmon are our lifeblood. We can't survive without them. They are a part of us.

The elders have been trying to tell us these things for hundreds of years but it's only now that biology has come to understand these connections. Maybe now we can listen to the wisdom of the elders.

Alexander Morton and the people of the archipelago did not march in vain. We, the people can make a difference. Here's one thing we can do without even leaving the comfort of our homes. Write to the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Gail Shea and tell her to get the Norwegian salmon farms out of the ocean: . Write to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and tell him we need a BC minister of Fisheries: Write to MP Fin Donnelly and tell him what you think of his bill to remove salmon farms from the ocean:

We don't have salmon farms in Prince Rupert now, but if we don't let government know what we think of open net-pen salmon farms, they will stand by as Norwegian fish farm corporations take over the whole coast and drive the wild salmon to extinction. We can make a difference.

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