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

Vehicles waiting for the highway to reopen. (Shashank Bangera photo/Lakes District News)
Vehicle incident claims life on Highway 16 east of Burns Lake

The accident resulted in highway closure

The victim of a homicide in Houston is Pietro Adamo. (Photo courtesy the RCMP)
Man dies from injuries following assault

Investigators looking for information on this homicide

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

(Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en Territory Facebook screenshot)
Ceremony a right at proposed CGL pipeline drill site: BC Union of Indian Chiefs

Indigenous land defenders cannot be criminalized and targeted, argues UBCIC

(File graphic)
Man dies in Gitlaxt’aamiks (New Aiyansh) after being taken into police custody

IIO and BC Corners Service conducting independent investigations

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Most Read