We’d like to draw your attention to a new film that details a grave threat to wild salmon in British Columbia (BC).
Why should you spend time watching “Salmon Confidential”?
First, wild Pacific salmon provide a critical biological “power cord” that brings the ocean’s nutrients upriver to feed its wildlife, vegetation, and native peoples.
Second, they provide uniquely healthful, delicious nourishment, rich in omega-3s, vitamin D, and astaxanthin (a powerfully anti-inflammatory antioxidant).
We feel that it is critical to protect all wild Pacific salmon from the devastation visited on them by net cage salmon farms.
In fact, we feel so strongly about protecting wild salmon that we wrote it into our founding Mission Statement.
In addition to “Salmon Confidential”, view an extended interview about this issue with Vital Choice founder Randy Hartnell, conducted by Dr. Joseph Mercola.
Alaskan salmon are not at risk
This problem doesn’t immediately threaten Alaskan salmon, because the state does not permit salmon farming.
While all of our fresh-frozen wild sockeye salmon comes from Alaska, much of our Wild Red™ canned sockeye salmon comes from the Nass and Skeena rivers of BC’s northern coast. (Some comes from Alaska.)
Fortunately, Vital Choice canned sockeye sourced from BC do not migrate through the more southerly regions that host BC’s salmon farms, and are not exposed to the diseases associated with farmed Atlantic salmon.
“Salmon Confidential” tells a sorry tale that started with tests on wild Pacific salmon performed by Canadian government scientist Kristi Miller.
Her tests revealed genetic markers for salmon diseases found only in the Atlantic salmon species. Miller’s work was published in 2011 … and she was quickly muzzled by the Canadian government.
But publication of her findings prompted independent marine biologist Alexandra Morton and her scientific colleagues to test BC’s wild salmon.
(Her work with scientists from the University of British Columbia of on the threat posed to wild salmon by farm-generated sea lice has been published in the prestigious journal Science and covered in The New York Times.)
Sadly, Morton’s tests found that various populations of wild Pacific salmon in BC were infected by the European salmon viruses associated with salmon farming worldwide.
Incredibly, instead of prompting protective action by the Canadian government, these findings led officials to ignore and deny the Morton team’s findings and defend salmon farms as safe.
The film documents Morton’s journey through British Columbia’s remote rivers, grocery stores, and sushi restaurants as she attempts to overcome roadblocks thrown in her path to inform people in time to save BC’s wild salmon.
It provides interviews with scientists and rare footage of the testimony at the landmark Cohen Commission, established to determine the causes of a dramatic drop in returns of wild salmon to the Fraser River in southern BC.
A real threat to wild salmon … but not to human health
The viruses and lice associated with farmed Atlantic salmon are very dangerous to the survival of wild Pacific salmon – especially in Canada.
Several pathogens generated or amplified by salmon farms threaten BC’s wild Pacific salmon:
- HSMI, SAV, SLV, and ISAv are native only to Atlantic salmon. Tests prove that farmed Atlantic salmon have spread these to several wild Pacific salmon populations.
- IHNv, PRV, and sea lice are native to both Atlantic and Pacific salmon. But farmed Atlantic salmon can incubate and spread them to wild Pacific salmon populations, potentially causing infection rates far higher than those normally seen in wild Pacific salmon.
We would stress that these viruses – like the many other pathogens that only infect or cause illness in fish – are harmless to people.
People’s concern should be the risks to Pacific salmon populations and other fish … not baseless fears of risks to humans.