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Washington State Passes Bill to Phase out Atlantic Salmon Farms!!!

March 2, 2018 was a day of nail-biting suspense. Washington State House Bill 2957 to phase out Atlantic salmon farming was on the order papers for an early vote, but then simply disappeared from the roster. It reappeared late in the day with 25 new amendments attached to it like sea lice! The senators in favour of this bill made sure to raise it just before the cut-off at 5pm and so were granted the opportunity to debate and vote on each amendment for as long as was required.

It was painful to watch the opposing senators stand up and plead a yes vote on each amendment, so as to force the bill back through another round of approvals. At 4:15pm the Seattle Times reported that Cooke Aquaculture (the sole operator in the state) spent $72,000 on lobbyists, signing three new ones in the past week to defeat the bill. I wondered what did it take to get the senators to stand and make such ill-thought out performances? However, every amendment was defeated, several were removed without voting. A senator out of breath rose to claim that Bill 2957 was in violation of rule 25. The live feed video went silent, people wandered in disarray, and then the process was back in motion, there was no violation.

It was hard to breathe through the final vote, but at 6:30 pm the first government ever legislated retreat of the Atlantic salmon farming industry out of a region of our global oceans.

The Vote on Bill 2957 Mar 2, 2018 Washington from Alexandra Morton on Vimeo.

I am enormously grateful and impressed by the determination of US First Nations, who united for the first time in their history, together and with fishermen to tell the Washington State government to get Atlantic salmon out of Puget Sound. Believe me, I know this an aggressive industry and watching each opposing senator trot through their scripts on why this bill should have been defeated was not only revolting, but a peek into what BC politicians face.

Last week Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer insinuated I was an "associate" of Agriculture Minister Lana Popham's and thus had somehow influenced her to write to Marine Harvest and warn them not to restock farms on expiring tenures in the territories of First Nations who have been occupying the farm sites for 6 months! I got him to publish a correction at the bottom of the piece, but his work was done - trying to tarnish a BC politician with the unfounded accusation of association with Alexandra Morton, as if I was a pathogen. The heavy hand of Hill and Knowlton Strategies?

On the pathogen front - farm salmon science has become dangerously polarized, but the difference of opinion on the impact of piscine reovirus infected in farm salmon on wild salmon is split with all the industry - authored science on one side, and everyone else on the other. I teamed up with three remarkable people to make a short filmRacing A Virus on this situation. In my view, Federal Minister of Fisheries Dominic LeBlanc should step down as he is unable to abide by the laws of Canada, in the face of industry demands to keep infected Atlantic salmon pouring into the Pacific. It honestly is an unbelievable situation and all the worse now that Washington State has shown that action can be taken. Government do not need to continue cowering before this aggressive industry.

Racing a Virus - Short Film from Alexandra Morton on Vimeo.

The way it stands currently, premier John Horgan refuses to say whether he is going to renew the salmon farm tenures in Musgamagw, Namgis territories or not. As a result of his silence, Marine Harvest and Cermaq have used this window of opportunity to restock their farms, even though they only have 3 months left on the tenures and these fish won't be ready for harvest for two years.

The BC Ministry of Environment has taken no substantive action on the highly infective bloodwater effluent that was discovered by filmmaker Tavish Campbell pouring into the migration route of the Fraser River salmon and Tofino harbour. The Fraser River sockeye are in such trouble that many have recently been recommended for listing under the Species At Risk Act. We have learned that the plants do have a chlorination system, but they can't use it because the effluent is too high in chlorine to legally be released. As a result, the BC government seems content to allow this pathogen heavy effluent to wash over the last of the Fraser River salmon.

The provincial and federal governments are relying on the results of scientific collaboration between government and Marine Harvest that attempts to portray piscine reovirus, as harmless to sockeye salmon. However, this science has been called into serious question by a collaborating foreign lab. LETTER TO Dr. KYLE GARVER

What now?

Most important let the BC government know you support the decision not to renew salmon farm tenures as they expire in BC

As I continue to publish the science on farm salmon disease, please share Racing A Virus also on my facebook page

We need to support the First Nations who are trying to rid their territories of this industry see Swanson Occupation on facebook

Please consider sending your support for the work by clicking on the sea lice infected fish on the upper right. Or to support me personally, view my fishprints


As the salmon farming industry claims my science is "false" consider signing my petition below challenging them to a public debate

Onward - we can do this and Washington State just showed us how. However BC politicians need a pep talk!