For Immediate release:
Anti-fish farm activist Alexandra Morton caught in flip-flop, credibility in question, says Greenpeace co-founder
October 25, 2006, Vancouver – Anti-fish farm activist Alexandra Morton has been caught in a flip-flop that has seriously undermined her credibility and makes her attacks on salmon farming all the more questionable, said Dr. Patrick Moore, Greenpeace co-founder and Chairman and Chief Scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd.
“In 2003, before it became clear that salmon returns in the Broughton Archipelago were recovering, Ms. Morton publicly stated that young pink salmon were being infected by sea lice from salmon farms, in spite of the fact farms in the area had been fallowed. Now, with data confirming pink salmon returns in the Broughton are on the rise, Morton claims it’s a direct result of the farms having been fallowed,” Moore said.
“Her current position, which totally contradicts her earlier statement — and was conveniently developed after salmon returns in the Broughton were shown to be rising in 2004 — is that the fallowing of farms in 2003 created a safe corridor that allowed young pinks to pass by unharmed by sea lice,” said Moore.
“The allegation that salmon farms are infecting wild salmon with sea lice is central to the anti-fish farm argument. Ms. Morton’s flip-flop goes straight to the credibility of that argument and to the credibility of her research,” said Moore. “Which is it, Ms. Morton?”
In a March 3, 2003 news release from Morton’s Raincoast Research and the Living Oceans Society, Morton is quoted as saying, “My initial research shows that young pink salmon are infected with lethal numbers of sea lice in the area now designated as ‘safe’ . . . As long as there are fish farms here, there is no safe place in the Broughton Archipelago for wild salmon. I tried to warn them of this, but they would not listen, adopting a farm-friendly plan instead.”
“Ms. Morton repeats this claim throughout 2003 in numerous media stories. The problem is the data show she’s just plain wrong. When she’s forced to recognize that pink 2004 returns are rising in the area, she apparently realizes her argument no longer holds water and does a complete turn-around,” said Moore.
Morton now claims on her website that because a corridor in the Broughton was fallowed of salmon farms, the “affect was inescapable” and “lice disappeared in the spring of 2003.”
“Ms. Morton has criticized Order of Canada recipient Dr. Dick Beamish for a recent peer reviewed study that demonstrated convincingly that salmon farms were having no negative impact on wild fish, suggesting Dr. Beamish discounted the impact of the fallowing,” Moore said.
“In criticizing Dr. Beamish, Ms. Morton appears to have forgotten that she herself discounted the fallowing in 2003,” said Moore.
“When recovering salmon returns disprove Ms. Morton’s theory, she simply changes her argument so that she can continue to attack sustainable salmon farming, irrespective of what the numbers say,” said Moore.
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For more information: Jeremy Twigg, 604-681-4122 or www.greenspiritstrategies.com