Wild salmon activist yanks support for CAAR


Steven Hedlund

Published on
May 17, 2011

Anti-farmed salmon activist and Raincoast Research founder Alexandra Morton is rescinding her support for the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) due to its involvement in the World Wildlife Fund-led Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue, which is developing salmon-farming standards.

CAAR is one of several members of the dialogue’s steering committee, in addition to the Pew Environment Group, Norwegian Seafood Federation, SalmonChile, Salmon of the Americas, Marine Harvest and Skretting. The committee is in the final stage of creating standards to address the key environmental and social impacts associated with salmon farming while maintaining the industry’s economic viability.

But Morton, an advocate of British Columbia’s wild salmon populations, opposes the certification of Norwegian salmon farms, which she describes as “feedlots.”

“I understand the temptation to negotiate with the Norwegian [farmed salmon] industry, but I think they have changed you more than you have changed them,” said Morton, one of CAAR’s founders, in a letter to the organization on Tuesday (the letter is posted on her website). “They do not deserve your support. Recent media suggests this industry has not exhibited basic social or biological responsibility, putting the North Pacific at enormous risk.”
Many of British Columbia’s salmon farms are owned by Norwegian companies.

“The Norwegian CEOs tell me they have to keep growing to survive. With all the problems they have heaped on us already, where does their expansion push us? If you certify them they will grow relentlessly,” added Morton.

“I know you started with pure intentions, but please remove Raincoast Research from you supporters page or step away from the World Wildlife Fund’s certification that will seal the demise of wild Canadian salmon,” she concluded.

CAAR’s members include the David Suzuki Foundation, Georgia Strait Alliance, Living Oceans Society, T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation and Watershed Watch Salmon Society. The organization is based in British Columbia.

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