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Alexandra's Echo

Country Available: Canada, USA

Alexandra Morton has dedicated her life to studying the ecology of the Broughton Archipelago, located off the mid-coast of British Columbia. Her unmatched passion for whales brought her there many years ago.  However, the once very healthy whale population has been driven away, and it became her passion to find out why. This spawned her extraordinary study of salmon – both farmed, and wild – of the Broughton Archipelago. The data she is collecting on the inter-connection of the orca whales, grizzlies, eagles, seals, and salmon, is slowly setting off alarm bells that governments and fish farm corporations refuse to hear.

It is clear to all that wild salmon have been an important link in the food chain and ecology of the area. But what has happened to them?

The Broughton Archipelago has the highest concentration of fish farms in the world. Thus the level of sea lice – external parasites that feed on the skin and mucous membranes of fish – is also very, very high. While swimming from their spawning grounds, past the farm pens, the young wild salmon are being infested with the lice. The wild salmon are dying. So are many of the farmed salmon, crowded in pens with their lice infested penmates. By the millions, they die and are sold to lawn fertilizer manufacturers. There is profit from farmed fish, dead or alive.

Alexandra has documented that as the wild salmon of this area die off, the Orcas are not returning, the bears and other animals are starving.  Norway, Scotland and Ireland have already experienced this cycle. Their experts have warned our government of the disastrous effects of fish farms destroying wild fish runs. Alexandra continues to work with the Orcas, and collects data on the wild salmon depletion. She continues to raise her voice, with many others, waiting for a viable response, not just an echo.

Update:
On March 29, 2004, BBC News ran a story about the sea lice from farmed salmon spreading more rapidly than expected amongst wild stocks. Read the article here...

View a printer friendly version of this page...Copyright Date: 2003 Length: 47 minutes Library Audience:
  • Young Adult
  • General Interest
  • School Audience:
  • Grades 8 - 12
  • Post-secondary Education
  • Subjects:
  • Environmental Studies
  • Biology
  • Formats Available:
  • VHS Tape
  • DVD