Tag Archives: Salmon Confidential

Alex, it is time for you to finally re-examine your failed theories

We posted the following Letter by Fraser Larock on our News Page on October 6, 2013. Alexandra Morton commented on the letter the same day and then was taken to task by great post submitted on October 7th  by shuswapriver… Here is the Ubyssey letter and shuswapriver comment…

Letter: Salmon Confidential a flawed, important film
The  Ubyssey , October 6, 2013

Salmon Confidential was originally released in March 2013 to mixed reviews. Alexandra Morton, the director, received strong support from salmon activists, furthering the anti-salmon farming movement. Unfortunately, many objective scientists and salmon farming supporters have outlined numerous research flaws and incorrect assumptions  Morton makes throughout the movie.

However, Salmon Confidential, while lacking in accepted evidence and in some cases found to blatantly disregard inconvenient facts, does contribute an important perspective from the anti-farming community. Environmental groups and industry professionals are increasingly influencing policy makers throughout the B.C. government. Alexandra Morton and associated individuals having a strong, albeit often stubborn, opposition to salmon farming and can present a constructive dialogue with public interests in mind. What is required is participation from all stakeholder groups with a basis in scientific evidence. Salmon Confidential shows that this particular environmental group isn’t ready for such discussions.

Additional scientific and industry information  from industry companies like Marine Harvest can be found online.

I encourage everyone to view this movie and form your own opinion, keeping in mind the greater motives the director may have.

–Fraser Larock, 4th year Forestry Operations

On October 6, Alexandra Morton posted a comment on Ubyssey thanking Fraser Larok for his interest in Salmon Confidential. Her comment included reference to a paper on picine reovirus she co-published and how she has “addressed all the criticism alluded to in the above” 

shuswapriver  replied with the following comment: 


The co-published paper on the piscine reovirus outside Norway you refer to does not specifically implicate the BC fish farm industry as you seemingly elude to in your blog commentary. Here are just a few of the questions raised:

1. How did PRV come over to BC from Norway since there has been no direct egg imports from Norway since 1985? According to the study, the Canadian PRV diverged from the Norwegian sub-genotype 1a around 2007. What is the distribution of PRV in our waters is about one of the best questions the study raised. Do we know much about the presence of PRV in US waters, their enhancement facilities or their fish farms.

2. The heart lesions and HSMI lesions you refer to are not specific to HSMI. All these “classic signs” in Dr. Marty’s notes can also be attributed to other conditions. Context is important, but not mentioned in the study. In fact, HSMI has never been found on BC salmon farms. You had an opportunity to determine if your supermarket samples that tested positive for PRV had HSMI, but you didn’t look for this. Why not? Why didn’t Rick Routledge look for HSMI in Cultus Lake samples if those fish were infected by a deadly virus. Your study fails to discuss this omission.

3. The presence of PRV does not constitute as a diagnosis of HSMI. Healthy fish also have PRV. In fact, the virus can be present in high concentrations in fish without causing lesions traditionally associated with HSMI. There is a difference between having a virus and having a disease. Just because a fish has a virus does not necessarily mean that it is diseased. More importantly, a salmon carcass having a “mushy heart” is not a definite sign of HSMI if you consider what these fish experience as they migrate into freshwater and their bodies are gradually being broken down. This was also not mention in your study.

4. HSMI typically impacts juvenile fish, so where is the evidence of HSMI in adult Pacific Salmon, such as Fraser Sockeye? Did you know that many of the journals you cite as support for your theories on PRV and HSMI also tell a different story?

As for the criticism of the film you apparently addressed in your blog that is not true because you didn’t address all the criticism. For instance, you didn’t address you blatant omission of testimony in the film from Dr. Miller, Dr. Nylund, Dr. Garver and more importantly – Dr. Kibenge. It is funny that you are against muzzling of scientists but that is exactly what the film attempts to do. So much for “Standing Up For Science”. Your knowledge of PCR testing is again flawed and was proven again in the latest rebuttal: http://salmonconfidential.com/awwk-pieces-of-virus-more-lies/

It is time for you to finally re-examine your failed theories. The reason no one in government, industry and even some NGOs are listening to you is that there are more holes in your theories than Swiss Cheese. When they are examined closely they do not stand up to critical thinking. You need to convince people like me – not those that already believe your theories like a religion. You also need to stop muzzling constructive (fair) discussion on your blogs and Facebook page which is an attempt to control the message. This shows you and your followers as being very hypocritical when it comes to being transparent and open to science. The film rallies the troops, but does little to sway those you really need to convince.


Why you should watch ‘Salmon Confidential’

By Grant Warkentin, Communications Officer, Mainstream Canada, October 4, 2013

If you have more than a passing interest in salmon farming, you should watch the film ‘Salmon Confidential.’

Not because it’s a good film.

Not because it has anything new or revelatory to say about salmon farming.

But because it shows how activists are willing and desperate enough to stretch the truth to the breaking point in order to sell their messages of fear and doom.

The film makes two bold claims:

1.        Salmon farms in BC have brought dangerous new salmon viruses to the Pacific coast.

2.        Government and industry are covering this up.

But the film has no proof for its first, and central, claim, making the second claim a ludicrous conspiracy theory.

The film’s protagonists claim viruses common in Europe have been brought to BC by salmon farms. But the only proof they present is a handful of tests  done on dead and rotting fish taken from riverbanks, and on fish purchased from grocery stores, which could have come from anywhere.

The film tells many half-truths about these test results, but its most grievous sin is presenting them as if they are somehow definitive.

They are not.

The film conveniently neglects to mention that all follow-up tests — mandatory in proper, scientific virus testing — were negative.

The film is built on other half-truths. It edits testimony from a federal inquiry to make people say things they never actually said. It uses interviews obtained using false credentials.

And it lapses into fallacy, concluding that because a virus was found in Norway, then in Canada, therefore it must have come from Norway, and no more research is needed to understand this.

‘Salmon Confidential’ provides a keen insight into the minds of anti-salmon farming activists in BC. It shows how they are desperate to stretch the truth, omit inconvenient facts and tell lies to get what they want.

This might not be the message the filmmakers wanted to send, but it’s what stands out, loud and clear.

For more information about the flaws in the film, and for a link to view the film online, visit www.salmonconfidential.com