Bright red spawning Sockeye salmon swim in clear blue water.

Photo Credit: Jason Ching / Futurity

Something’s Fishy About Fish Farm Fans

The nine scientists all share something in common—ties to the fish farming industry

Their ties to the industry raise suspicions about their opinion

A couple of weeks ago, a group of nine scientists published an opinion in the Globe and Mail. Their piece defended factory fish farms off the BC coast.

The op-ed cherry-picked a couple of points that make the industry look good. And you know what? That’s their right. They wrote an opinion piece. So they’re allowed to paint the industry in the best light possible.

But it’s also important to ask where these scientists are coming from. Who helps pay their bills? Are they compromised in some way?

It turns out each of these nine scientists has ties to the factory fish farming industry. According to research from the Canadian NGO Watershed Watch, each of the scientists has either done research funded by the industry, partnered with factory fish farm companies, or worked for the industry in some way.

When it comes to protecting wild salmon, science is super important. Science can tell us when salmon are sick. Science can tell us when farmed salmon are covered in sea lice that industry can’t control. Science can tell us how climate change will make life tougher for wild salmon.

We need science. And the nine scientists asked the public to trust them.

But how can we trust people who are tied to an industry that is desperately trying to save itself?

The federal government has committed to removing factory fish farms from VanIsle by 2025. Licenses for 79 fish farms will expire on June 30th, and no one has said yet whether they’ll be renewed or not.

Scientists who don’t work for the industry have shown that factory fish farms are a huge risk to wild salmon. They’ve also shown that removing fish farms reduces the sea lice that harm juvenile salmon.

Most folks in BC are concerned about wild salmon, and 75 percent want fish farms moved out of BC waters.

Are these nine scientists as concerned about wild salmon as we are? Or are they just trying to protect the industry they have ties to?