Biologist Alexandra Morton, actor/activist Pamela Anderson and environmentalist David Suzuki to speak at press conference on July 18

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has teamed with renowned Canadian biologist Alexandra Morton and actor/activist Pamela Anderson for Operation Virus Hunter, a new campaign investigating the lawfulness of the salmon farming industry in British Columbia.

The announcement comes simultaneously as Sea Shepherd releases its latest Public Service Announcement about the dangers of consuming farmed salmon. The PSA features Anderson, a B.C., Canada native who is also the non-profit organization’s Chairman of the Board.

Morton, Anderson, and Canada’s premier environmentalist David Suzuki will be among those on hand to announce the campaign launch in a press conference at False Creek Harbor Authority on Monday July 18th at 1pm.  (address and parking details below.)

Operation Virus Hunter, which begins this month in Vancouver, will see Morton travel aboard Sea Shepherd’s R/V Martin Sheen over the course of several weeks, tracing the major salmon migration route that stretches from mainland Vancouver to the north end of Vancouver Island.

Along the route, the Martin Sheen will be stopping at various salmon farms to conduct audits for disease and other factors, which will be done in a non-aggressive and non-harassing manner.

“The salmon farming industry thrives on secrecy, shrouding its activities from public view,” said Morton. “Operation Virus Hunter will shine a bright spotlight on this industry. Canada cannot claim it is protecting the oceans, including wild salmon, while at the same time, allowing the farmed salmon industry to release waste into the world’s largest salmon migration route.

Added Anderson: “Salmon farms keep pens in the ocean, where the fish swim in their own feces, and breed disease and sea lice that kill wild salmon, threatening the orcas’ ability to feed.”

In addition to Morton, Anderson, and Suzuki, Sea Shepherd Captain Oona Layolle and First Nations Leader Chief Ernie Crey will also be on hand at the July 18th press conference.

“Ninety-four Nations of the Fraser River view wild salmon as being essential to who they are, and they have worked to conserve those stocks for thousands of years,” said Crey. “The recent salmon declines are a threat to our existence and we hold salmon farms as one of the culprits.  The Department of Fisheries and Oceans chooses foreign salmon famers over our title and rights again and again.  We ask wild salmon be allowed to come and go to this river free from infection with farm salmon disease.”

Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson stated: “It is personally very satisfying to me to send one of our vessels to my home province of British Columbia, to address one of the most insidious threats to biodiversity on the West Coast - salmon farms. Our mission is to investigate, document and expose an industry that is spreading disease, parasites and destroying the natural habitat of our wild salmon - the coho, the sockeye and the chinook. These exotic Atlantic salmon simply do not belong in these waters.”

 

For more information about issues related to farmed salmon, see the following links:

· http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es803558r
· http://science.sciencemag.org/content/303/5655/226
· http://www.vg.no/forbruker/helse/leger-og-professorer-ikke-spis-oppdrettslaks/a/10117390/
· http://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/11/2639.short
· http://www.metronews.ca/news/vancouver/2016/07/25/fish-farmers-defend-sea-lice-study-warns-of-wild-salmon-risk.html
· http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235905/
· http://conservationbiology.uw.edu/research-programs/killer-whales/
· http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0036842
· http://www.whaleresearch.com/about-salmon
· http://www.ecojustice.ca/case/government-oversight-of-fish- farms/#sthash.PvwZdtgu.dpuf

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