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Alexandra Morton may run as North Island independent

Biologist and wild-salmon advocate Alexandra Morton has told The Tyee that she is "very seriously" considering running as an independent for the riding of North Island in the May 14 provincial election.

"The salmon virus is the spark," she said in a telephone interview. "I feel I have a moral obligation to do everything I can" to save the wild salmon from a growing number of disease threats coming from coastal fish farms.

"I saw government policy take my community of Echo Bay apart," Morton said. She said other coastal communities are also suffering from the growth of fish farms and the decline of the wild salmon fishery. "Port Hardy is in terrible condition."

"If the NDP won't take this seriously," she said, "I will run as an independent."

Morton said she knows and likes Claire Trevena, the incumbent MLA who is running for re-election as a New Democrat. "New Democrats here understand fish farms very well, but Adrian Dix seems to be afraid of looking anti-business."

Morton said she has a campaign team, and a new website is calling for her to be drafted to run. But nothing is certain yet.

"It all depends on the NDP," she said. "If they do the job [of promising to revoke fish farm licences], I'm out. Are we better off now with fish farms than we were before? No. We've lost the ability to live in ecological compliance so we can leave something for our kids."

Morton said the Green Party isn't running a candidate in her riding. "The NDP will win without North Island," she said. "If the NDP is truly business-friendly, they'll back the wild-salmon economy, which is much bigger than fish farms."

On her blog, Morton posted an 8-minute video on Feb. 22 explaining the present state of wild salmon under the stress of three fish viruses that are causing problems in Norway and Chile.

In a second video, posted on Feb. 25, Morton warns that "hundreds of thousands of Atlantic salmon smolts" are infected with a heart virus and about to be released into the wild.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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