PERREAULT Magazine SEPT | OCT 2016 - Page 66

Perreault Magazine - 66 -

In addition. Sea Shepherd has land crews on the beaches of Costa Rica, Honduras and Florida defending sea-turtle nests from poachers and hundreds of volunteers around the planet clearing tons of plastic from beaches and waterways. There are also on-going campaigns against the slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands and the massacre of dolphins in Taiji, Japan.

Sea Shepherd’s only sailing is presently circumnavigating Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

Sea Shepherd also recognizes the importance of research and strangely enough this summer our most controversial campaign has been Operation Virus Hunter.

This summer I placed the Martin Sheen under the command of Dr. Alexandra Morton, a courageous woman who has been fighting the destruction caused to wild salmon by the salmon farm industry in the waters of British Columbia.

The campaign is Operation Virus Hunter and the objective is to visit each of the 190 industrial salmon farms around Vancouver Island to gather evidence and to document viruses and parasites being transmitted to wild salmon from captive exotic domestically farmed Atlantic salmon.

It has been a long and frustrating struggle for Dr. Morton. She has been doing research and initiating court challenges to the salmon industry for years. Her science has been ignored as both the provincial government of British Columbia and the Federal Government of Canada have chosen to back the salmon farms despite the evidence of destruction to marine ecosystems.

In 2009, only 1.4 million sockeye salmon showed up in B.C.’s rivers and streams in a run that was anticipated to be around 10 million. This year less than a million salmon have returned to the rivers and streams.

The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Ocean has refused to investigate the impact of salmon farms on wild salmon populations and has refused to acknowledge that there is a problem with viruses and parasites spreading from the farms to the wild fish.

Dr. Morton’s research has been extensive and the Canadian First Nations have embraced her efforts to protect salmon species that to West Coast Native people is as much a part of their culture as the buffalo was to the people of the Plains.

Because of the voyage of the Martin Sheen, the DFO has been forced to address the problems and the salmon farmers have accused Sea Shepherd of using science as a form of activism, an accusation that we do not dispute because science is activism when it exposes the truth in the face of denial.