The Salmon Farm Monitor
Guest Column, August 2005
Canada's Farmed and Dangerous campaign
Dom Repta is campaign manager for Friends of Clayoquot Sound, a Canadian environmental group fighting to save wild salmon in British Columbia. The ‘Friends’ are also members of the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform – an overarching group of like-minded organisations trying to deal with the same problems that the SFPG face in Scotland.
With farmed salmon making news headlines from B.C to Scotland almost weekly, consumers are increasingly looking for the truth about the salmon farming industry.
The member groups of CAAR realized that regulatory agencies such as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s couldn’t be counted on to protect wild salmon or give the public the truth on impacts such as sea lice.
It was obvious that the multinationals operating salmon farms in British Columbia’s public waters are self-interested profiteers with no intentions on implementing measures to protect the marine environment, especially our wild salmon populations.
So, as means to informing the public on the realities of the salmon farming industry and network with chefs, restaurants and retailers, the Farmed and Dangerous campaign was initiated in 2001.
With a combination of public information coming from peer reviewed published science, traditional First Nation knowledge, government information (often through FOI’s) and trends seen in other countries where salmon farming exist, the Farmed and Dangerous campaign is becoming synonymous with farmed salmon.
The Farmed and Dangerous campaign is faced with opposition from the usual suspects-primarily industry, but when all other avenues of trying to create a positive change in the industry fail, you have to make an economic impact on the farmed salmon branding and empower people to stop buying this product until reform happens.
We’re often implicated in waging a public relations battle but I’d have to disagree. I see a public relations battle happening when you have self-interest acting to protect corporate profits. Farmed and Dangerous is engaged in a conservation battle trying to protect wild salmon and coastal communities-period!
Our campaign has focused on ‘Smarten Up Safeway’ project. The Farmed and Dangerous team has been working to educate Safeway executives in the U.S and Canada for over two years. Concerned citizens have sent over 25 000 faxes telling Safeway to stop selling farmed salmon until the industry cleans up its act and moves to closed containment.
The markets team has invited Safeway executives to visit the Broughton Archipelago and witness the farmed-salmon-created sea lice epidemics that are killing local pink salmon populations. Safeway has been asked to follow in the footsteps of Albertsons and write the salmon farming industry in B.C telling them they want them to make necessary changes to address the environmental and social degradation that salmon farming is causing.
So far, Safeway has been inactive on all fronts. Instead they have launched a new branding campaign “Ingredients for Life”. We want you to tell Safeway to smarten up and that supporting farmed salmon should not be part of their ingredients for life. You can send a fax to Safeway by (http://www.farmedanddangerous.org/activists/index.html)
The second part of our campaign is our ‘Chefs and Restaurants’ initiative. We work with a network of over 150 Chefs and restaurants that help educate the public of the harms of farmed salmon. They have officially signed onto our campaign pledging not to sell farmed salmon until the industry reforms.
If you know of a restaurant that sells farmed salmon or one that has already made a commitment to sustainability and removed this product from their menu, let us know. (firstname.lastname@example.org). More importantly, when you go to your local restaurant or retailer, ask if the salmon they serve is farmed or wild. If it’s farmed, don’t buy it.