Demonizing salmon pharmers

Devilish journalists (many of whom dared to write negative news stories on salmon farming during 2010) were grilled like PCB-contaminated farmed salmon during a Seafood Summit panel discussion on reporting on the sustainable seafood movement titled “Between the Deadline and the Deep Blue Sea”.   

Stop the Press: The global salmon farming industry - a giant of a sector earning millions in revenue and earning shareholders in Norway healthy returns – feels picked on by NGOs and ‘demonized’ by the media. 
 
Helene York from Bon Appetite Management Company provided an excellent overview of recent news coverage including a raft of news articles on ‘Frankenfish’ GE salmon in the US and sea lice issues in British Columbia. 
 
Barry Estabrook, former writer for Gourmet Magazine and contributor to The Atlantic Monthly, spoke out on the rise of ‘Frankenfish’:  “2010 was a big year for salmon with GM salmon being approved conditionally by the FDA.  It brought that story back to life.  I’ve been to AquaBounty’s laboratory in Prince Edward Island.  It was the spookiest place I’ve ever been to in my life”.    Clare Leschin-Hoar, author of  “The Dish on Fish”, said: “GE salmon was an amazing story.  Closed containment is interesting”.
 
Nell Halse, president of the International Salmon Farmers Association (and former journalist), said: “We have a clear policy where we do not support GE salmon.  It was disappointing that this view was not covered more in the media.  We have enough issues in the marketplace – why would we want to introduce GE salmon?  GE salmon is not a real issue.  It’s frustrating since we have other issues to talk about.”   
 
Mark Hume, national correspondent with The Globe & Mail, said: “Salmon have been very much in the news here in BC.  I’m covering the Judicial Inquiry (the Cohen Commission) – the depth they’re going into is incredible and hopefully we’ll get some answers.  There’s a battle in BC over the role played by salmon farming in the decline of wild salmon”. 
 
Jennifer Lash of Living Oceans Society and architect of the protocol deal with Marine Harvest in the Broughton Archipelago, said: “It is very difficult to get news coverage of the solutions and give credit to the hard work and progress made by the industry.  What advice do you have for publishing more positive news stories?” 


 
Petter Arnesen, VP of Environment for Marine Harvest, said: “The salmon farming industry is under constant attack and there seems to be a crusade against us.  Everyone seems to agree that salmon farming is a bad thing and says bad things about us.”
 
Mark Hume replied: “Salmon farming is new player in the ocean and therefore it is scrutinized.  I do agree that a lot of people demonize salmon farming.  It’s easy to attack.” 


 
BC salmon farming is certainly a big target.  Claiming that BC farmed salmon is healthy and “sustainable” is no laughing matter. 


 
So it’s now off to the Vancouver Aquarium for dinner – let’s hope GE super salmon or BC "sustainable" farmed salmon is not on the menu for supper!