WATCH: Pamela Anderson joined David Suzuki and others in Vancouver Monday to launch ‘Operation Virus Hunter’, targeting B.C. fish farms. April Lawrence reports.
First Nations groups joined activists and celebrities at False Creek Harbour to launch a new campaign against the B.C. salmon farming industry on Monday.
“Nobody I know is against fish farms but we’re against the way fish farms are being done,” said environmentalist David Suzuki.
Raised on Vancouver Island, actor turned activist Pamela Anderson took the podium at the press conference to launch Operation Virus Hunter and is also featured in a new YouTube video promoting the campaign.
“I love as a fellow Canadian I’m able to shed light on a local atrocity that has solutions,” said Anderson.
Over the next several weeks biologist and activist Alexandra Morton will travel on a Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel from Vancouver to northern Vancouver Island, studying and testing fish farms.
She will be working with local First Nations.
“We will be studying viruses on this ship and we will be providing this boat to the Nations of this coast to say what they actually feel, to hear straight from them,” Morton said.
“Of all the things that we can point to that might explain the decline in Fraser River salmon runs, particularly sockeye, she’s persuaded me that we need to look at the salmon farming industry along this coast,” said Cheam Nation Chief Ernie Crey.
The group insists it will be doing its work in a non-aggressive and non-harassing manner but B.C.’s salmon farming industry isn’t convinced.
“Sea Shepherd Society has a long history of aggressive campaigns and while they state this one isn’t our members are certainly concerned, we’re always concerned for the health and safety of our workers on our farms as well as the fish on those farms,” said Jeremy Dunn with the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association.
Dunn disputed nearly all of the claims made by Anderson and the other members of the Sea Shepherd Society.
“Salmon on farms in British Columbia are very healthy, 90 per cent of salmon on farms make it all the way to harvest,” said Dunn.
“This is a $1.1 billion industry in the province of British Columbia that results in about 5000 jobs.”
But those involved with Operation Virus Hunter are determined to put an end to fish farming and they’re encouraging the public to take part part.
“I’m appealing to the consumer, to either not consume salmon at all, or if you must please only consume wild salmon,” said Anderson.
The group plans to take its findings to Ottawa to convince the Liberal government to take action as well.