Aquaculture for all

Actor Causes Stellar Trouble over Fish Comments

Salmonids Health Welfare +4 more

CANADA - A letter from the Star Trek actor William Shatner to the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has caused a storm of anger among fish farmers in British Columbia.

Mr Shatner, who was filming for his latest TV programme, Boston Legal, on Canada's west coast, is reported to have called on the Prime Minister to "remove salmon farms from wild salmon and steelhead migration routes and encourage the industry to reinvent itself on land where other, more sustainable species could be trialed."

In response to the article in the Times Colonist, Executive Director, Mary Ellen Walling, British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association said: "Mr Shatner is well known for his career as Captain James T. Kirk of the starship USS Enterprise and most recently in the TV series Boston Legal. Mr Shatner’s acting credentials are solid –his understanding of fisheries research less stellar. Shatner claims that BC fisheries are at risk from salmon farms.

"DFO researchers, including an Order of Canada scientist state that their research shows that salmon farms and wild fisheries can co-exist and that their recent sampling in 2008 and 2009, found no Lepeophtheirus salmonis (most common sea lice species) lice on juvenile pink salmon in the Broughton Archipelago during March, when the salmon are smallest and most susceptible.

"Salmon farmers in British Columbia are proud to operate in the most stringently regulated environment of all producing countries, to produce the province’s largest agricultural export, and to generate jobs and opportunities for thousands of people in coastal communities.

"Activist groups often bristle at calls for accountability but if they are to retain their position of public trust they should, at least, be able to meet the same standards of scrutiny applied to industry. And for journalists who often see themselves as the guardians of the public interest, it seems prudent to be wary of being manipulated, even by those who appear to walk on the side of the public good rather than the side of corporate self-interest.

"Oh and Mr. Shatner –when you shot a wild salmon with a shotgun on an episode of Boston Legal –the salmon you refer to in your letter as 'one of earths most precious assets', I am pretty sure that’s a violation of the Fisheries Act –but of course –it’s only TV. Right. Beam me Up Scotty."

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