Alexandra Morton, renown biologist and unrelenting advocate for the endangered wild salmon of B.C., will be speaking at the April 10 Awareness Film Night screening of Salmon Confidential.
The filmmaker, Twyla Roscovich, will be in attendance as well to present her just -released film that follows Morton as she unravels the mysteries of B.C.’s declining salmon stocks using some of the world’s top fish labs and attempts to overcome roadblocks put up by government agencies and bring critical information to the public. What she uncovers should shock anyone who cares about wild salmon and all that depends on them.
Alexandra Morton moved to the Broughton Archipelago in 1984. Salmon farms moved in shortly thereafter, in 1987. As a biologist she began to see the impacts of the industry and tried to alert governments to the potential dangers to wild salmon. She was ignored. So she turned her home into a Field Station and made it available to researchers and scientists from all around the world. She has co-published articles in scientific journals with many of these scientists on the negative impacts of salmon farms on fish and whales. Morton has labouriously participated in every government process on salmon farms and watched as each made solid recommendations that were never implemented.
The focus of the film, according to filmmaker Roscovich, is the three different European viruses that are being imported into B.C. waters by the salmon farming industry. One causes the fish to have mushy hearts, one is a very contagious salmon flu and one causes pancreatic disease. Salmon Confidential documents the journey of Morton and other researchers as they work to prove that these viruses are here and find out what kind of effect they are having. What she finds is very unsettling: taxpayers are paying millions to compensate fish farms for these diseases; labs are put under investigation when they report positive results; the DFO is refusing to allow testing of farm fish; scientists are muzzled; sick fish are in restaurants. The picture is not pretty.
Roscovich is an independent documentary filmmaker and underwater cinematographer who grew up on the waters of B.C. and has been making marine ecology films on the coast since 1996. She lives on and works from her sailboat. Her concise and comprehensive 70-minute film will be followed by a talk and discussion with Morton and Roscovich focusing on what we can do to save the salmon before it is too late.
Showtime is 7 p.m. at Edward Milne Community School theatre, 6218 Sooke Rd. in Sooke. Admission is by donation.