DSC_0586 Doesn’t this just invoke feelings of relaxation? This is what you have to picture when you have FOUR boys running and screaming around the house at 9:00 am. I feel for the tenants, really I do. I mean, it’s super loud here, and I’ve been downstairs when they were running around the house — let me just say, we have the most awesome tenants.

Now, I’m one to speak out about organic living, and how healthy it is for you and the environment. I was reading an article in Nature’s Fare magazine” the good life” about the depleting salmon stocks. This was such an eye opener! I never really thought there was much difference between farmed and wild salmon. We used to have a stocked trout pond in Ontario, so this is what I imagined salmon farms to be. Except they are not. Well, you do have some that are fresh water farmed, which is definitely healthier option if you choose farmed salmon, but little did I know how the government of Canada has brought about their silencing tactics that would make Monsanto proud.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) gave permission to have geneticist Dr. Kristi Miller test the coastal salmon and see if they were carrying any of a few different diseases that are related to die-offs of salmon stock. These are the salmon version of the flu called ISA–infections salmon anemia virus (who knew salmon could catch the flu), and the parvovirus (salmon leukemia). Her findings astounded the science world. When she reported that it was the parvovirus that had a very strong link to the dying of the salmon stocks, she was immediately side-railed and told never to report her findings. Not only this, she was financially threatened, which means that she would not receive any more grant money to do her research.

Her case isn’t the only one. Another scientist named Alexandra Morton, a marine biologist, was doing a study of her own on the amount of dead fish that she was observing along salmon run routes. She decided to take samples of these fish and send them off to the only two labs in the world which are recognized for the testing for ISA — a lab in Norway, and a lab in PEI. The results showed that the same virus first found in European stocks had been found in these Pacific coast salmon. What happened to her was this: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency took it upon themselves to denounce her findings. Not only did they do this, they also started a discredit campaign against the nation’s lab in PEI–which has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a go-to lab for ISA testing. Why in the world would Canada’s government organizations do this?? Why are they taking on Monsanto style tactics?? Money.

There is a new business in farmed salmon which can bring in millions or more for the government. Although the DFO’s primary purpose is supposed to be protecting ocean life, they are caught between a rock and a hard place. In order to get government money, they have to do what the government tells them to do, even if this means decrying excellent resource work such as that by Dr. Miller and Ms. Morton. By pushing farmed salmon as equal in nutrient content to wild salmon, there is a new market for farmed salmon being born.

So, back to something I alluded to earlier: the difference between wild and farmed salmon. Now, many of us don’t really think that there is much of a difference, but there is. Farmed salmon are being held in mesh netting so they don’t travel up or down stream. They are smaller in size compared to the wild salmon, and they carry numerous viruses and bacteria which wild salmon are not accustomed to. The wild salmon at spawning time will catch these alien bacteria and viruses, then ultimately die. There are three zones that were determined with the help of Native fisherman, environmentalists, and the DFO. The green zone means that this area is good for farming salmon, the yellow zone means that the farmed salmon need to be kept under a very watchful eye, and the red zone means it’s a no-go for farming salmon. What’s happening is that many of the farmed salmon you see in the store has been farmed in the RED zone. This is the most dangerous zone for wild and farmed to co-exist, yet there is not a single person within the DFO actually enforcing these farming zones. If there were, then you would see less red zone farming, and more green zone farming with respect to salmon.

So, as a salmon consumer, you have to wonder what in the world can you do to help? First of all, check for the Oceanwise label. The Oceanwise program is a pet project of the Vancouver Aquarium with the primary goal of giving restaurants, retailers, and consumers a knowledgeable choice in their fish consumption. Another great program is the Sea Choice program, which is more of an educational program that enables consumers to make a more informed choice with the consumption of sea food. BUT, if you want an easier guide, look for wild Alaskan salmon. This is the most sustainable choice for salmon. There is a yellow light on wild British Columbian salmon because the stocks are low in numbers and there is concern in the marine world regarding these–primarily sockeye, Chinook, and Coho. Farmed salmon is really a big no-no, but if you feel the need to purchase them, look for freshwater farmed salmon. If you aren’t sure, ask the store if they know the source(s) of the salmon. You don’t want to be eating diseased salmon. It is along the same lines of eating diseased beef, pork, and poultry. The affects on human system by diseased salmon is not yet fully realized. Do you want to be part of that experiment, too?

((Check out this recent news article on the farm salmon business http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/farmed-fish-production-overtakes-beef-zwfz1306zsal.aspx#axzz2Yxr3nkGT   by Mother Earth News.))