Anti-aquaculture group told to back up allegations

Suzuki Foundation officials make up in rhetoric what they lack in openness and science, says Positive Aquaculture Awareness
July 8, 2003

David Suzuki Foundation spokesperson Otto Langer is the latest anti-aquaculture activist who refuses to let the facts get in the way of an anti-industry story, says the leader of a BC grass roots group that promotes better information on aquaculture.

“The spokespeople at David Suzuki Foundation are so single-mindedly focused on attacking the fish-farm industry at all costs that they become unable to discuss the issues in an open and coherent way, and refuse to supply scientific data to verify their claims,” said PAA President Laurie Jensen.

“First we had former Suzuki Foundation employee Lynn Hunter telling her email network how much fun it was to torment fish-farmers. Now Otto Langer has wrongly claimed in the Prince Rupert Daily News that senior scientists at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are ‘unequivocal’ in linking sea-lice outbreaks to salmon farms,” Jensen said.

“We requested Greenspirit Strategies Ltd. representatives to ask Langer to provide any evidence that senior DFO scientists had made such a link,” Jensen said. “Not surprisingly, Langer has failed to provide names of scientists because DFO has established no such link between the naturally occurring phenomenon of seal-lice and the sustainable enterprise of salmon-farming.”

Jensen said Langer should be aware that environmental groups are coming under greater international pressure to be more open and accountable than they’ve been in the past. The United Nations Environmental Program released a report last month suggesting many environmental organizations are less transparent and less accountable than the very organizations they presume to judge, Jensen pointed out.

“We’re finding this is a real issue in the aquaculture debate. We share as much information as possible, as do our members, our consultants and indeed government. But the David Suzuki Foundation gives us hazy statements about un-named government officials… and seldom do we get hard data,” said Jensen.

 “So we want to put Langer on notice. The UNEP report tells us environmental groups around the world are learning that openness and accountability are not the exclusive responsibility of industry.  It’s time the David Suzuki Foundation took this discussion seriously and committed itself to debating real issues like conservation of wild salmon and the benefits of aquaculture, and did so using science and verifiable data,” said Jensen.

See UNEP report at: