If Northern Insights / Perceptivity achieves one positive thing, that will be encouragement of readers’ support of Alexandra Morton. I don’t know the woman personally and never met her. But, I admire her because for years she has been shaming industry and governments, both federal and provincial, by doing their jobs of protecting west coast fisheries.
I spent every summer from age 5 on the beaches of British Columbia, first near Campbell River and then at Lang Bay, 10 miles south of Powell River. I remember autumn when Wolfson Creek (now Lang Creek) was so thick with wild salmon pushing upstream to spawn that, to a child, it looked like a slowly moving conveyor that could be walked upon.
We splashed in the estuary three seasons of the year, trolled for salmon from an 8 foot plywood punt and never came home without fish. We did it with cheap lines and dull hooks, not pricey fishing tackle and multifunctional navigation systems. No chartplotters, fishfinders and GPS for little boys in paradise.
The same river today is home to a hatchery and artificial spawning channels. This is supposed to demonstrate how humans are guardians of the the seascape. We teach the young that we, the life creators, can manage nature.
We can not. Rather than being guardians of the land and waters, we are antagonists. A few good people dabble at protection and restoration, always with exiguous resources spread far, while the spoilers write cheques to public relations consultants, lobbyists and compliant politicians.
Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the controversy over sea lice where Alexandra Morton and friends conduct a fight against the wrongdoers and the governments that should be regulating against harm. From Alexandra’s blog this week:
After a four year battle, fish farm disease and sea lice data collected by the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (MAL) has been ordered released. The Norwegian company Mainstream argued releasing their disease information would damage their business. MAL agreed to hold this information private even though these pathogens are in public waters. The Information & Privacy Commissioner disagreed and ordered MAL to release the information within 30 days. We await to see if MAL will appeal to protect the fish farmers.
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