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VIEW: NDP hold best chance for wild salmon, says Morton

[Editor's note: Independent biologist Alexandra Morton has been busy during the B.C. election, traveling the province to raise the issue of protecting wild salmon from fish farms and viruses. Through dozens of community screenings of a new film profiling her work, Salmon Confidential, and amassing over 70,000 signatures on a petition to remove open net pen farms from the migratory pathways of wild fish, Morton has effectively planted this issue on the election radar. She's been tough at times on the BC NDP, pushing them to take a stronger stand on the salmon farming industry -- with some notable success. Here, as voters prepare to go to the polls, she offers her frank assessment of what is in the best political interests of her beloved wild salmon.]

For what it is worth, here is my take on this election.

Regarding the Liberals, I don't think they know that our survival depends on a living planet. I have no idea how they have missed the connection, but they have. 

Regarding the Greens, look at where they have put their energy, which ridings do they think they can win? Faithfully voting Green, where the Greens did not put effort, is a wasted vote. 

Regarding the independents, if you are lucky enough to be in a riding with a strong independent candidate/MLA, please go with your instincts. No one can "whip" these vital independent voices and in my experience they have been strong, smart supporters of wild salmon.

Regarding the NDP, clearly they felt threatened by supporting wild salmon. This is our fault. We, as British Columbians, did not make it clear that wild salmon are critical. We allowed the Norwegians to shout us down. We were so quiet, the NDP did not take us seriously. 

Individually, most NDP I spoke to know salmon feedlots have to be removed from wild salmon migration routes. As environment critic Rob Fleming stated this on CBC on March 23, he knows this. Therefore, I think wild salmon have the greatest chance for survival with an NDP government, with Greens in seats. And wild salmon need you, the public, to contact your MLA every single month, year in and year out, to tell them every salmon feedlot needs INDEPENDENT screening for the piscine reovirus and any that test positive have their provincial Licence of Occupation terminated, fish removed, site closed in the public interest. 

If the salmon feedlot industry wants to prove the virus only kills salmon in the Atlantic -- they are welcome to do that -- but they need to get out while they do their experiments. 

Good luck British Columbia.

This article, including the editor's note, first appeared on the Common Sense Canadian website. Read fish researcher Alexandra Morton's previous Tyee articles here.

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