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Silver Donald Cameron

Welcome to Silver Donald Cameron’s blog! Dr Cameron is the author of 19 books and of many plays, films, magazine articles, radio and TV scripts. He is currently the host and executive producer of TheGreeninterview.com and of its feature documentary, Green Rights: The Human Right to a Healthy World. In 2019, he was appointed the first Farley Mowat Chair in Environment at Cape Breton University, where he earlier served as professor, dean and writer-in-residence. He currently teaches an on-campus/online course called Green Rights.

Hormones in Salmon: A Clarification

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My January 30 column on salmon aquaculture brought a lot of response, and I will probably publish more about it here as time goes by.

In the meantime, though, it appears that what I said about hormones was misleading. The
column brought a little note from one Jeremy Twigg, who “was wondering where he heard that Canadian salmon farmers use ‘hormones’ to grow their fish.”

Hmm. I went back to my sources, and replied:

You pose a good question. There certainly are apparently-reputable
references out there that mention the use of growth hormones in farm
salmon feed (e.g. this paper, from the University of Cape Town:

http://www.whitesharktrust.org/media/salmonfarm/documents/salmonfarming.pdf)
but I can’t identify a reference that refers specifically to hormones in
Canadian farm salmon.

I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to specific national variations in
farming practices, since the industry and most of the problems are
international in character, and even in that paragraph I referred to
several other nations, not only to Canadian operations. But when I scan
the web in the light of your question, I do see documents stating that
hormones are not used in Canadian fish farms — or, to be precise, in BC
fish farms. I didn’t say they were, of course, but the phrasing does
allow a reader to draw that inference.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. If you don’t object, I’ll post
this conversation on my blog, where the original article is archived.

And Jeremy replied:

I appreciate your thoughtful response to my query. Civil and rational engagement of this sort is sorely needed in the salmon farming debate.

Further to our discussion, I should point out that no hormones are used in the entire Canadian aquaculture industry – Atlantic Canada and BC salmon farming sectors included.

Yes, feel free to post this discussion on your blog.

Finally, I asked him what had prompted his original inquiry, and he told me that he provides “communications support” for the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance in his capacity as an executive at Fleishman-Hillard, a PR firm in Vancouver. In short, he’s an industry spin doctor. And if an ambiguity about hormones was the worst error he could find, I can’t have been too far off in what I wrote.