On Monday July 18th, the Sea Shepherd Society fronted by celebrity activist Pamela Anderson, along with anti-salmon farming activist Alexandra Morton, launched a new campaign entitled “Operation Virus Hunter” which they say will be investigating the lawfulness of the salmon farming industry in British Columbia.
The B.C. Salmon Farmers Association has responded to the campaign, which announced plans to travel up the BC coast over the course of several weeks, stopping at various salmon farms to “conduct audits”, which will be done in a “non-aggressive and non-harassing manner”.
B.C. Salmon Farmers are concerned about the aims of this voyage and campaign. Although they have reinforced that they will be “non-aggressive and non-harassing” when approaching farms, the Sea Shepherd society has a long history of doing the opposite. Farming companies place great emphasis on the health and safety of employees, and the health and wellbeing of their animals.
“We’re disappointed that this latest publicity stunt is attempting to paint a misleading picture of· an industry that provides a healthy, sustainable product that feeds millions of people,” explained Jeremy Dunn, BCSFA Executive Director. “B.C. salmon farmers are involved with the Pacific Salmon Foundation, Department of Fisheries & Oceans, UBC, and others in the Strategic Salmon Health Initiative – the largest single study into the health of salmon on the B.C. coast ever undertaken. A world-class research team is currently testing close to 30,000 samples of wild, hatchery and farm-raised salmon. We are relying on this team to ensure advocacy and research do not get confused.”
“Members of the BCSFA are open to meeting with Sea Shepherd Scientists to hear if they think· there is a different approach to that of the leading government and university scientists, or if they can add to the expertise already working on projects, we’d like to see if there is a possibility for collaboration,” added Dunn.
The BCFSA has prepared a statement refuting several of the claims made by Anderson and Morton in promotional materials for the campaign, including the following:
Pamela Anderson states that farm-raised salmon is not a healthy food.
The claims raised by Ms. Anderson are completely misleading and false. The reality is health authorities around the world recommend people eat more salmon, including farm-raised salmon. All levels of metals, dioxins and other unwanted contaminants that may be found in salmon – and are also found in most foods we eat – are well below safe levels set by health authorities.
Pamela Anderson stated “The pink color is an additive in their [fish] feed.”
This is true, and is the same process by which a wild salmon receives its flesh color. The feed ingredient is a healthy carotenoid known as “astathanxin”, which is also an antioxidant that a salmon requires for healthy growth.
Learn more about the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association