BC salmon farms under fire with latest campaign

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is launching it’s latest campaign – “Operation Virus Hunter.”  The plan is to investigate the lawfulness of the salmon farming industry in B.C., and this time it’s backed by some high profile star power.

Actor and activist Pamela Anderson is lending her celebrity to the society’s new public service announcement, appealing to consumers to do their part.

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“A common misconception is that purchasing farmed salmon might protect wild salmon populations. That is far from the truth,” said the star during a press conference.

“The bottom line is that fish farms in the ocean are polluting the oceans.  Spreading sea lice and killing the wild populations of salmon and other sea life.”

As part of the campaign, anti-fish farm activist Alexandra Morton is preparing to set out aboard the RV Martin Sheen to prove that.

She will trace the major salmon migration route that stretches from mainland Vancouver to the north end of Vancouver Island – collecting samples and looking for evidence of Piscine Reo-Virus along the way.

“So, the way we’re going to do this audit is to look for the virus in other creatures coast wide – and look if there is a ‘hot spot’ for Piscine Reo-Virus, or is it spread all the way around the coast,” said Morton.

But the B.C. Salmon Farmer’s Association says this is simply a publicity stunt.

“I would take as much salmon advice from Pamela Anderson as I would take inoculation advice from Jenny McCarthy,” said Executive Director Jeffrey Dunn.

The association claims salmon in B.C. farms are healthy, adding fish are examined on a daily basis, with thousands of tests done each year.  They’ve shown the Piscine Reo-Virus is commonly found in oceans – but that it doesn’t pose a threat to the fish.

“Less than one percent are actually affected by viral infections that would be of concern to wild salmon,” added Dunn.

Still, there’s no stopping the campaign and its goal to alter the way things are done.  Any decisions are in the hands of the federal government – and so far, there are no signs it’s going to act.