Few coastal stories are more tragic than the decline of wild salmon in BC. Once a seemingly limitless supply of nutrients, BC salmon stocks have been on the decline for decades, and seem poised to continue that downward trajectory.
Salmon have shaped life on the BC coast like few other things. Salmon are a keystone species, meaning that they play a critical role in the coastal ecosystem. Annual spawning runs provide life-sustaining nutrient surges to terrestrial ecosystems as well - often hundreds of kilometres inland. Plentiful migrations and spawning runs also allowed first nations a non-nomadic lifestyle and the vibrant cultures that formed as a result. Later, salmon sustained early white settlers and led to the rise of a booming commercial fishery.
But the glory days were not to last. Over-fishing and government mismanagement reduced salmon populations to a shadow of their former levels, and despite dramatically reduced fishing quotas, salmon runs continue to collapse.
Respected biologist and salmon activist Alexandra Morton, along with filmmaker Twyla Roscovich place the cause of the salmon run collapse squarely at the feet of the fish farm industry and government cover-ups in the new documentary 'Salmon Confidential'. Morton alleges that viruses (including ISA virus) are largely responsible for the collapse of the Fraser River sockeye run and provides compelling evidence that links the spread of the virus to open-net fish farms in BC. She goes on to accuse the federal government (also with compelling evidence) of attempting to cover up positive ISA tests in order to protect the fish farm industry.
Morton does a fabulous job of keeping the film clear, engaging, and upbeat despite the depressing subject matter. It s a must see film for anyone who cares about the coast. You can learn more and watch the film for free at: http://salmonconfidential.ca/