For nearly 26 years, Alexandra Morton has dedicated her life to restoring the balance between the people and the wild salmon off the coast of British Columbia, working to protect wild salmon from salmon farms.
: Alexandra began her career researching dolphin and whale vocalizations. In 1984, she followed a pod of Orca into Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw territory and made the remote archipelago her home as she studied the whales. There are no roads, electricity or telephones, but wild salmon and wildlife thrived, as well as a rich community of people.
Three years later the salmon farming industry moved in. The toxic algae blooms began, the whales left, Atlantic salmon were found in the rivers, bacterial diseases began, the sea lice outbreaks developed, and then the wild salmon populations began crashing. The salmon took the commercial and sport fisheries with them and then her beloved community began to fade away. Today there are only eight people left in the village of Echo Bay and 29 Norwegian/Japanese-owned salmon feedlots are polluting the waterways in the area.
A renowned scientist
: Alexandra has written and contributed to more than 25 scientific papers
; most of them on the impact of fish farms, including sea lice, viruses and escaped Atlantic salmon. She has been featured on 60 Minutes
and the New York Times
and is internationally respected for her work on the impacts of fish farms on wild salmon populations.
: Alexandra has been culturally adopted by the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw and named “Gwayum’dzi” (‘Whale’).
Working for our salmon and our environment
: Alexandra has learned that as a scientist, she also needs to speak out. When the emerging
science on the impact of salmon farms on wild salmon was ignored, she brought the issue to the attention of government and industry by leading one of the biggest environmental demonstrations in British Columbia
. While the Canadian government, both bureaucrats and politicians, have acknowledged the problem, government action continues to favor the foreign-owned fish farms, which is why Alexandra Morton is grateful that Sea Shepherd is sending a boat to help her communicate that this is a serious issue that is being mishandled.