Eco-warrior, Alexandra Morton, on her fight to save wild salmon, being gaslit by the Canadian government and her adventures in Green politics. She also dares people to sue her over her essential new book Not On My Watch:  How a renegade whale biologist took on governments and industry to save wild salmon.

“The salmon farming industry is harming wild salmon, is harming whales, is causing algae blooms and really needs to be controlled.”

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Significant Quotes:

“The salmon farming industry is harming wild salmon, is harming whales, is causing algae blooms and really needs to be controlled. I mean, at first I thought they just had to get off the wild salmon migration routes, but now I realize they just have to get out of the ocean completely, and if they want to continue, build a tank and get in it and operate from there.”(8:18)


“Doing all this damage was part of how they were making such a phenomenal amount of money. It’s really insidious.” (12:38)


“I cannot believe I have spent my whole adult life fighting salmon farms. It just seems ridiculous. But when I look at it from a global perspective I realize I’m part of a huge army across the planet that is trying to protect life on earth.” (12:55)


“When you have a corporation involved, they don’t really care how many fish there are. They just want that share price to go up. And so this is deadly, because it really is a cancer model. They need to grow, they need to grow, they need to grow, with no mind to the fact that they’re killing the very body that they’re in, which in this case is the ocean. I mean, they’re going to kill themselves off. They are killing themselves off in the process of following their business plan. It’s really deranged. It doesn’t make sense and it has to stop.”  (15:31)


“Nobody wants to buy fish that have killed off whales, never mind everything else.” (19:00)

 

“There’s nobody whose position in DFO is the health of wild salmon. There’s no director of wild salmon.” (24:48)


“We have the biggest salmon run in the world on the verge of extinction.” (29:29)


“I saw grizzly bears that no longer looked like Grizzly bears… they were emaciated.” (33:14)


Alexandra: I have to wonder at some level in government are people saying, “Oh my God, those fish… What?!  They’re still coming back? There’s still 20 of them?! Gosh darn it.” I don’t know. I don’t think people, I don’t think some level of government wants wild salmon at all.

Mark: That just gave me chills because I found myself asking the same question about the Southern residents.

Alexandra: I bet you do. Yep..

Mark: I feel like there are people in the federal government, you are going “Damn, there’s still 74 of them…. “

Alexandra: Yeah, and they’re having babies. ” (36:07)


“The salmon actually have the whole mating thing down. They can handle that.”  (42:30)


“And for the first time last spring, I set my big net and pulled it in and looked at the fish and, oh my gosh, they were fat and sassy. They were sparkly, blues and silvers, deep jet black eyes, not the cloudy film they get when they go by the farms and it was a feeling in my heart that I just really had to sort of stand back a minute and be like, what is that feeling? It was joy. It felt like my heart was ringing.” (48:00)

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launch of Operation Virus Hunter

Launch of Operation Virus Hunter (2016) Photo credits: Mark Leiren-Young

Timecodes

  • 0:00– Alexandra Morton – introduction
  • 1:40Mark’s welcome
  • 6:30Alexandra’s new book, “Not on My Watch
  • 8:18– “The salmon farming industry is harming wild salmon, is harming whales, is causing algae blooms and really needs to be controlled. I mean, at first I thought they just had to get off the wild salmon migration routes, but now I realize they just have to get out of the ocean completely, and if they want to continue, build a tank and get in it and operate from there.”
  • 9:37– The impact of fish farms
  • 12:38– “Doing all this damage was part of how they were making such a phenomenal amount of money. It’s really insidious.”
  • 14:33– Alexandra’s political adventure – running for the BC Green party
  • 15:31– “When you have a corporation involved, they don’t really care how many fish there are. They just want that share price to go up. And so this is deadly, because it really is a cancer model. They need to grow, they need to grow, they need to grow, with no mind to the fact that they’re killing the very body that they’re in, which in this case is the ocean. I mean, they’re going to kill themselves off. They are killing themselves off in the process of following their business plan. It’s really deranged. It doesn’t make sense and it has to stop.”
  • 19:00– “Nobody wants to buy fish that have killed off whales, never mind everything else.”
  • 22:14– Mark and Alexandra discuss their adventures with Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans
  • 24:48– “There’s nobody whose position in DFO is the health of wild salmon. There’s no director of wild salmon.”
  • 29:29– “We have the biggest salmon run in the world on the verge of extinction.”
  • 33:14– “I saw grizzly bears that no longer looked like Grizzly bears… they were emaciated.”
  • 36:07– “Alexandra: I have to wonder at some level in government are people saying, “Oh my God, those fish… What?!  They’re still coming back? There’s still 20 of them?! Gosh darn it.” I don’t know. I don’t think people, I don’t think some level of government wants wild salmon at all. Mark: That just gave me chills because I found myself asking the same question about the Southern residents. Alexandra: I bet you do. Yep.. Mark: I feel like there are people in the federal government, you are going “Damn, there’s still 74 of them…. ” Alexandra: Yeah, and they’re having babies. “
  • 42:30– “The salmon actually have the whole mating thing down. They can handle that.” 
  • 42:35– Wild salmon breeding
  • 48:00– “And for the first time last spring, I set my big net and pulled it in and looked at the fish and, oh my gosh, they were fat and sassy. They were sparkly, blues and silvers, deep jet black eyes, not the cloudy film they get when they go by the farms and it was a feeling in my heart that I just really had to sort of stand back a minute and be like, what is that feeling? It was joy. It felt like my heart was ringing.”
  • 50:21– Mark’s conclusion

David Neiwert
“The fight to decide what kind of humans we are going to be, what kind of world are we going to make? Are we gonna be empathetic, decent, kind generous people, or are we going to be cruel and greedy and mean? Or do we want to believe that we can continue to control the world as its lord and master? Or do we maybe need to understand that we are just part of the world and need to find a better way of fitting into it?”

“Killer whales are the consummate northwest environmental story.” 

“…how you deal with the alt-right… you can’t pretend them away.  You can’t ignore them away.” 

“To me the fight against Trump and against hate groups and against the far radical right is very much the same fight that I’m engaged with when it comes to saving the whales – which is the fight to decide what kind of humans we’re going to be. What kind of world are we going to make? Are we going to be empathetic, decent, kind generous human beings or are we going to be cruel and greedy and mean?”

“You can’t go out and change anybody’s hearts and minds to get them to become a more decent person by spewing hate and wishing death on others.” 

“They will go extinct if we don’t take those dams down.”

“They’re just the coolest animals on the planet”

“Public pressure really is  foundational for effect change, but at the same time I don’t think that, ya know can’t we multitask”

“The fight to decide what kind of humans we are going to be, what kind of world are we going to make? Are we gonna be empathetic, decent, kind generous people, or are we going to be cruel and greedy and mean? Or do we want to believe that we can continue to control the world as its lord and master? Or do we maybe need to understand that we are just part of the world and need to find a better way of fitting into it?”

Kelly Iriye
“Since the creation of the orca task force everyone says a lot of congratulations but nobody has decided to actually do anything.”

“If we had more food for the orcas then they’d be able to stay fat and happy and the toxicity wouldn’t enter their blood stream and they’d be fine.”

“[discussing Snake River dam] They are grossly overcharging for what the open market is because they have so much surplus power”

“We watched it get as high as -26 dollars which means we were paying California 26 dollars to take our power” 

“Even still we are watching the numbers not recover (in relation to salmon)”

“Because we’ve made reservoirs we’ve created an environment that favours the lake fish, and not the river fish and the salmon are river fish and their predators are lake fish”

“The guy that actually got to say this is what we’re gonna do, didn’t read the report and just said this is what we’re gonna do” 

“Since the creation of the orca task force everyone says a lot of congratulations but nobody has decided to actually do anything.”

“If they do anything besides dam breaching its gonna be too little, and at this point if they only do dam breaching it won’t be enough but if they don’t do dam breaching its not gonna work”

“But if there’s nothing to forage for they can have a full 24 hrs and still come up with nothing.”

“Canadians have not been consulted in this whole GMO experiment.”

BC’s farmed salmon are the only genetically modified animals for sale in Canada according to guest, Aube Giroux. Award winning author and filmmaker, Mark Leiren-Young, talks to the filmmaker behind Modified about genetically modified fruits, vegetables and fish or, as our government prefers to call them, “plants with novel traits”

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The Hundred Year Old Whale is playing in Victoria!!

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BC’s farmed salmon are the only genetically modified animals for sale in Canada according to guest, Aube Giroux. Award winning author and filmmaker, Mark Leiren-Young, talks to the filmmaker behind Modified about genetically modified fruits, vegetables and fish or, as our government…

Alexandra Morton (@alex4salmon) is one of Canada’s most famous eco-activists. The best-selling author’s fight to save the west coast’s wild salmon attracted the attention of the Sea Shepherd Society and  launched Operation Virus Hunter – a mission to publicize Morton’s research into open sea salmon farms. Tune in if you care about oceans, orcas, salmon or sushi.

“I’m determined not to let these salmon go down on my watch.”

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Dyna Tuytel
“Ecojustice is a national environmental organization, so we have offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa, and our mandate is to use the law to protect and restore the environment, mostly through litigation.  And we try to prioritize cases where we can set a precedent, so one case can have a broader impact beyond the specific facts of that case.” 

“They modelled the effects of decreased salmon prey, they modelled the effects of noise, they modelled the effects of oil spills and potential collisions with ships, individually and together, and the result of this modelling was a conclusion that with the project they have a greater than fifty percent chance of being effectively extinct this century. Which is pretty stark.” 

“Of course the tankers should have been considered, and of course the species at risk act should have been applied because there’s no practical way that the shipping isn’t part of the project.” 

“People will flock to the side of the ferry to see the whales, and get so excited and go on whale watching tours, and clearly love this species, but maybe don’t know how few of them there are, or how much they depend on this specific area that they live in, or just how unique they are.   The fact that they have their own language and culture, and don’t interbreed with other killer whales, and that there are different types of killer whales.   I think that that information really galvanizes people to care about the whales and to take action.” 

“I feel like I’m fighting on my client’s behalf, but that we are all fighting on the Orcas’ behalf.   Everyone is so committed to protecting this amazing species.  I would describe us as a team that is working for the Orcas.” 

“The start of the problem is that when the NEB reviewed the project, they separated out the pipeline and the marine terminal from the ships.  So they’ve defined the project as ending at Westridge marine terminal, and shipping being related to the project, but not part of it.   And so what that approach means, is that under the environmental assessment act, the environmental assessment is only of the pipeline and the marine terminal, and the tankers were considered and reviewed but only under the more general provisions of the National Energy Board Act, where they consider the public interest broadly speaking and weigh the pros and cons.” 

“So by not considering the tankers as part of the project, and not subjecting them to the same environmental assessment, the NEB has said that the species at risk requirements that are triggered by an environmental assessment don’t apply to its review of the tankers.   So there’s a key provision of the Species at Risk Act, that’s triggered by an environmental assessment, that says that when a project is under review you have to ensure that there are measures to avoid or lessen the impacts on endangered species.  So by treating the ships as separate from the environmental assessment and separate from the project, they’ve said that this provision of the species at risk act does not apply in this case.” 

“The whales themselves can not get standing, but my clients can get public interest standing to represent the interests of the whales, and the environment.” 

“I think the risk of oil spills has somehow been downplayed throughout the review process and since. And just the fact that even in the official DFO recovery strategy it says clearly that an oil spill would be potentially catastrophic for this population is something that doesn’t get talked about very much.  And I think there’s also a tendency to downplay the additive effect of this project.  Sort of saying “oh, it will only be such and such percentage of shipping traffic in the area” or something, whereas it’s really important to keep in mind that the threats facing them, everything is already too bad.  We need to stop adding new threats, and we also need to mitigate existing threats.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion could wipe out the Southern Resident Orcas. The orca’s unofficial lawyer, Dyna Tuytel from Ecojustice (@ecojustice_ca), is challenging their plans in court.

“I feel like I’m fighting on my client’s behalf, but that we are all fighting on the Orcas’ behalf.”  

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The NEB and how to contact them

Reports mentioned

Related news

Contact the political parties

Books

Support Ecojustice & Their Clients

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