Alexandra Morton and the Sacredness of Salmon
Alexandra Morton is the founder of the Raincoast Research Society, a passionate advocate for the marine life of the Pacific coast – and a constant thorn in the side of governments and irresponsible aquaculture corporations. A trained biologist who went to the remote Broughton archipelago to study the communications of killer whales, she was horrified by the impact on wild salmon after a host of salmon farms became established in the archipelago beginning in 1987.
"The archipelago began to flash warning lights of ecological collapse,” she says, “—toxic algae blooms, explosive disease and parasitic events in salmon, hundreds of seals and some sea lions shot. The orca vanished and the human community began a downward spiral towards ghost town. As the wild salmon went, so went the humans." As a result, Raincoast Research shifted its focus to studying the impacts of salmon farming, work that Morton and others argue the government refuses to do. Today the organization works with scientists around the world to measure the negative impact of salmon farms on fish and whales.
Alexandra Morton has become both an internationally-recognized authority on the subject, and the leader of a powerful movement determined to preserve the wild stocks of the iconic fish of the northwest coast. In her remarkable interview with Silver Donald Cameron, she describes the astonishingly complex ecological relationships that make salmon, as she says, “the power cord” that connects the upland terrain of the coast with the solar energy of the sea. Conveyed through the bodies of the salmon, “nitrogen from the ocean has been found in the flesh of mountain goats.”
With a scientist's rigour, a naturalist's insight and a poet's command of language, Alexandra Morton has given us a memorable interview. We're proud to present it on our site.