This hour-long documentary has shown up on several fly fishing based blogs over the last week or so, and I finally had a chance to watch the entire hour a few nights ago. In it, filmmaker Twyla Roscovich sheds light on one of the major issues contributing to declining numbers of wild salmon all over the world: salmon farms. She interviews and follows Alexandra Morton, a biologist, artist, and activist from British Columbia (www.salmonaresacred.org), through a long battle with the Canadian government over the issue of diseases spread through these farm-raised salmon.
Even though the video is based entirely in Canada, this issue shouldn’t have a blind eye turned on it by Americans–the waters listed, and the fish that pass through them, are closely connected to the migratory routes used by salmon moving from Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Furthermore, salmon farms of similar types exist in U.S. waters, exposing native fish to the exact same perils. This is by no means solely a Canadian problem.
I’ll go ahead and warn you, some of the video might be tough to watch because of the deteriorated condition some of the fish are in. But that in and of itself should cause alarm for us: if these diseases cause a fish’s external appearances to be altered in grotesque ways, what do the viruses do to the cleaned-up fillets that we buy as “Farm Raised Salmon” in stores?
Two quick highlights, if you don’t have time to watch the entire video: from 2:30-6:20, which shows the correlation between the decreasing numbers of salmon and the beginning of salmon farm procedures; 43:30-48:45, as they shop for farm-raised salmon in local grocery stores that not only have the external markings of disease (long and skinny bodies, deformities, open sores), but also test positive for fish-based viruses that are supposed to be reported to international agencies.
If you have time to watch the entire video, I would strongly urge you to do so. The more informed we become as consumers and concerned citizens, the less likely we are to have concerning products passed off to us as “all natural.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue…