Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc speaks to aquaculture industry forum in Victoria, Oct. 11, 2017. The federal government did not announce his visit, which would have drawn the same orchestrated protest that descended on Premier John Horgan’s constituency office two days later. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. VIEWS: Salmon farm smear campaign sinks

John Horgan, Lana Popham have to face reality now

After more than a decade of U.S.-funded attacks targeted exclusively on B.C.’s salmon farm industry, the tide is finally turning. The fake-news tactics of hired protesters have become so obvious that even some news media aren’t biting any more.

Noted marine biologist Pamela Anderson wasn’t able to assist this summer’s second season of the Sea Shepherd Society’s unreality show in the Broughton Archipelago. That’s the island group between northern Vancouver Island and the mainland.

This year Sea Shepherd was reduced to begging for “embedded” “journalists” to join them aboard the MV Martin Sheen, a floating vanity mirror for another faded celebrity. They hoped their first season of propaganda visuals and guerrilla visits to B.C. salmon farms would be featured on National Geographic TV, but producers checked it out and passed.

This season, two Marine Harvest farms have been occupied since late August by local aboriginal people, organized and publicized via Sea Shepherd.

Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc was in Victoria last week to speak to a national aquaculture forum. You saw nothing in the city media because organizers can’t publicize the event, lest the protesters pull out their familiar placards and descend.

LeBlanc warned that the recent escape of Atlantic salmon from a Washington state farm is the kind of “sloppy practice” Canada can’t afford, even with B.C.’s superior standards. There was a brief round of hysteria about this, but it’s long been proven that even millions of released Atlantics can’t compete with Pacific salmon or colonize B.C. rivers.

I found out about the industry meeting as I followed up on Premier John Horgan’s quiet visit to Alert Bay, the remote island community near where the occupations have been staged. Horgan was accompanied by Agriculture Minister Lana Popham, Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser and Transportation Minister Claire Trevena, who lives on Quadra Island. All have drunk the evil-salmon-farm Kool-Aid for years.

Horgan’s office issued a terse statement after visiting the ’Namgis First Nation at Alert Bay. It said Popham would “share the concerns” about these farms with LeBlanc’s department, and noted “the industry now generates nearly $800 million in annual value, while supporting several thousand jobs in rural and remote coastal areas.”

Popham didn’t show at the industry conference, where she would have heard about rapidly evolving technology and research to make farms more secure, in B.C. if not in the U.S. and Chile.

She would have heard from LeBlanc that he intends to break one of the deadlocks between the industry and its opponents, making public federal inspection data for aquaculture operations.

She would have heard from Norway’s Ambassador to Canada, Anne Kari Ovind, who described the next steps her country is taking in an industry it pioneered 50 years ago.

Ovind said Norway is launching a new regulatory regime based on the work of former prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, who led a landmark 1987 study of sustainable development, and served as director-general of the World Health Organization from 1998 to 2003.

Ovind noted that the world’s population is expected to peak at 9.7 billion people by 2050, and expanded aquaculture will be needed to feed everyone. Earth’s surface is 75 per cent water, but that area is producing only five per cent of human food.

• This brings me to the delicate matter of aboriginal participation in these protests, and the foreign-directed tactics against logging and petroleum. I’ll deal with that in a subsequent column.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureSalmon farming

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Totem pole, first in 30 years, raised in Prince Rupert

The memorial pole was a two year project lead by local carver Lyle Campbell

Heart of our city – Fighting for the road to recovery

World champion kick-boxer wins at Trinity House recovery program

Tour recognizes Prince Rupert’s rich labour history

Epic story of the Battle of Kelly’s Cut put Rupert on the labour radar

Coastal GasLink breaks ground on meter station in Kitimat

Meter station marks final point on pipeline that stretches from Northeast B.C.

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Funding to support early reclamation work at acid leaking B.C. mine

B.C. Government committing up to $1.575 million for Tulsequah Chief Mine site

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read