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Check out earlier issues of Pol 32 mag

January 30, 2012

Pacific Mackerel Stocks That Feed Farmed Salmon In Decline



Farmed salmon, that ubiquitous pink fish decorated with ribbons of fat, can thank the forage fish of the southern Pacific ocean – like anchovy and jack mackerel – for their calorie-rich diet. Indeed, more than 5 pounds of jack mackerel typically can go towards raising one pound of farmed salmon.
But that food supply – and the ocean ecosystem that supports it — may be in peril, according to a new report by theInternational Consortium of Investigative Journalists. According to scientists the ICIJ spoke to, "supertrawler" fishing vessels from Asia, Europe and Latin America have contributed to a 63 percent decline in jack mackerel stocks since 2006. At the current rate of overfishing, the world's stock of jack mackerel, which is largely located off the coast of Chile, could collapse soon.
Read the rest of this article - click HERE

Fishing lodges are finally getting together

BC fishing lodges are now challenging other lodges to support the legal costs of the 20-day  trial against Don Staniford by Mainstream.
I was wondering when this would happen and I'm still wondering where the fishing manufactures are in all this - it's actually quite simple because if the wild fish disappears, then their business will die slowly - NO Fish = No Fishing business!!!



It seems like the Canadians are getting to pretty fit up with their Government and the way it acts - listen to this audio link Andrew Franks story.



January 29, 2012

Canada - Stop Deportation of Don Staniford



Canada - Stop Deportation of Don Staniford

Target: Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Government of Canada, pm@pm.gc.ca

Sponsored by: Salmon Are Sacred

B.C.-based activist Don Staniford is being sued by Mainstream Canada, B.C.'s second largest farmed-salmon produce.Mainstream Canada, which is owned by the multinational Norwegian parent company Cermaq, whose largest shareholder is the Norwegian Government, alleges that Staniford has used "defamatory and false statements" intended to damage the salmon-fishing industry. On January 16th the defamation trial began in the Supreme Court of British Columbia and is scheduled for 20 days (until 10th February). At noon on the first day of the trial Mr.Staniford was met by the police and the Canadian Border Services Agency and advised he would be deported from Canada following the trial (February 29th). It appears Mr. Staniford has upset the Canadian Government by speaking up against environmentally harmful industrial salmon farming practices and the potential health impacts on humans consuming farmed salmon. This follows on the revelations earlier this month that the Canadian Government has labelled First Nations and environmental non-goverment organizations as "adversaries of the government" in an attempt to muzzle free speech and democratic rights, particularly those advocating for social and environmental justice. http://forestethics.org/press-release-forestethics-launches-petition--website--wewillnotbesilencedca--calling-on-canadians-to-stand-up-to-prime-ministers-threats-to-civil-society Please help us tell the Canadian Government that speaking up for the environment is no good reason for deportation from this country.


January 20, 2012

First Global Study Reveals Health Risks of Widely Eaten Farm Raised Salmon

First Global Study Reveals Health Risks of Widely Eaten Farm Raised Salmon


Science Study Suggests Sharp Restrictions in Consumption


I read this article today - got it from Facebook - and I must say that this could be important for the outcome of the trial against Don Staniford which is going on right now. This is exactly what he has claimed all the time, but they clearly don't like it.

For more information:
Jamie Shor
Venture Communications
(202) 628-7772


Albany, New York — A study published this week in a leading scientific journal found significantly higher levels of cancer-causing and other health-related contaminants in farm raised salmon than in their wild counterparts. The study, published inScience and by far the largest and most comprehensive done to date, concluded that concentrations of several cancer-causing substances in particular are high enough to suggest that consumers should consider severely restricting their consumption of farmed salmon.

The majority of salmon served in restaurants and found on grocery store shelves is farmed rather than wild. In most cases, as detailed in the study, consumption of more than one meal of farmed salmon per month could pose unacceptable cancer risks according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) methods for calculating fish consumption advisories.
The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of the U.S.’s largest philanthropies, sponsored the study. Pew has sponsored major research on fisheries including a number of widely reported recent studies on the deterioration of the marine environment.
Whereas earlier studies have analyzed anywhere from 8 to 13 salmon samples from individual salmon farming regions, the current study analyzed fillets from about 700 farmed and wild salmon produced in eight major farmed salmon producing regions around the world and purchased in 16 large cities in North America and Europe. The study’s authors, six U.S. and Canadian researchers representing fields from toxicology to biology to statistics, selected salmon samples to be representative of the salmon typically available to consumers around the world.
The researchers found significantly higher concentrations ofcontaminants in farmed salmon versus wild. In particular, four substances that have been well studied for their ability to cause cancer — PCBsdioxinsdieldrin, and toxaphene — were consistently and significantly more concentrated in farmed salmon as a group.

Geographic Differences

Among the study’s conclusions, salmon farmed in Europe were generally more contaminated than farmed salmon from North or South America. Farmed salmon purchased for the study from supermarkets in Frankfurt, Edinburgh, Paris, London, and Oslo were the most contaminated and triggered consumption recommendations of one-half to one meal per month — based on U.S. EPA consumption advisories for these contaminants. A meal was considered to be an eight-ounce portion.
Farmed salmon purchased from supermarkets in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Chicago, New York, and Vancouver triggered a recommendation of no more than two meals per month.
There was slightly more variation in fish purchased in North America than those purchased in Europe. While farmed salmon purchased for the study in New Orleans and Denver were generally least contaminated — triggering a recommendation of about 3 meals per month — farmed salmon purchased in Boston, San Francisco, and Toronto triggered the more stringent consumption recommendations of the European-purchased fish.
"Ultimately, the most important determinant of risk has to do with where the fish is farmed not where it is purchased," said Dr. David Carpenter, an author of the study and Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany. "And because it’s a global market, it’s hard to be sure what you’re getting."
According to Carpenter, "Just because Europeans have the most contaminated farmed salmon, this doesn’t mean American consumers shouldn’t be concerned."
With very few exceptions, farmed salmon samples tested significantly exceeded the contaminant levels of wild salmon, which could be consumed at levels as high as 8 meals per month. Even the least contaminated farmed salmon, from Chile and the state of Washington, had significantly higher levels of PCBs, dioxins, and dieldrin than wild salmon.

Contamination Likely Related to Feed

The Pew-sponsored study concluded that the contamination problem is likely related to what salmon are being fed when they’re on the farm. While wild salmon eat a diverse buffet from small aquatic organisms like krill to larger fish, farmed salmon are fed a concentrated and high fat mixture of ground up fish and fish oil. And since chemical contaminants a fish is exposed to during its life are stored in its fat, the higher fat "salmon chow" passes along more of these contaminants to the farmed salmon.
The study’s results confirmed this possibility when it found higher contaminant concentrations in salmon feed from Europe than feed from North and South America, a result roughly consistent with contaminant levels in European and American salmon.

Consumption Advisories and Recommendations

Given the overall contaminant levels found, if these were locally caught fish instead of fish purchased commercially EPA and many state consumption advisories would suggest that consumers restrict their consumption of farmed salmon to an average of no more than one meal per month. However, consumers need to be aware that in some cases even that could exceed advised contaminant exposure levels. EPA’s consumption advisories use acceptable lifetime risk levels to identify the maximum number of fish meals per month that can be safely eaten.
"If anything, the study conservatively estimates the health risks from the contaminants in farmed salmon," said the University at Albany’s Carpenter. The EPA fish consumption guidelines don’t take into account exposures people have to the same cancer-causing substances from all other sources in the environment. "They assume," said Carpenter, "that fish consumption is the only source of exposure people have to these substances; and we know that’s not true." "Also," according to Carpenter, "the recommendations only consider the risk of cancer and don’t take into account the neurological, immune, and endocrine system effects that have been associated with these contaminants."
Consumers interested in knowing whether salmon is wild or farmed should be aware that the word "Fresh" on the label does not mean the salmon is wild-caught from the ocean. And any salmon labeled "Atlantic" in the U.S. is almost always farmed. Salmon labeled "Atlantic" in other countries is most likely farmed. The authors recommended that governments require clear and prominent labeling of farmed and wild salmon as well as the country of origin of all farmed salmon.
The authors also said their results strongly reinforced the recommendations of a July 2003 National Academy of Sciences report on dioxins in the food supply which called for reducing dioxin levels in animal feed such as fishmeal.
Since contaminants build up in the fatty tissue of the fish, the authors point out that consumers may be able to reduce their consumption of contaminants in farmed salmon by following the recommendations of many state governments and the federal government to remove as much skin and visible fat as possible. However, it is difficult to determine how much of the contaminant load can be removed in this way.
In assessing the human health risks of consuming farmed salmon, the authors of the study used U.S. EPA consumption guidance for PCBstoxaphene, and dieldrin covering locally caught fish rather than U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for these substances governing commercially-sold fish because EPA’s recommendations are based on health effects only. While FDA is the agency that actually regulates contaminants in commercial fish, unlike EPA FDA does not have consumption standards for toxaphene in fish, and the agency’s standards for PCBs and dieldrin weren’t set using purely health-based criteria. According to Dr. Barbara Knuth of Cornell University and one of the study’s authors, "Because the FDA regulatory levels take into account factors such as effects on the food production system, they were never designed to consider exclusively human health risk-which was the only concern we were looking at in this study."
"Plus," said Knuth, "the health and diet information and the technology FDA used to help set the regulatory levels for PCBs are 20 years out of date. We can detect PCBs at much lower levels today; new studies provide more information about the health risks associated with these substances; and people eat more fish today." In fact, both EPA and FDA have agreed that FDA levels are inappropriate for setting fish consumption advisories (see last paragraph on p. 1-5 in the EPA National Guidance for Fish Advisories).
Knuth said, "It’s this vast difference in the approach of the two agencies that explains why farmed salmon with these levels of contaminants could trigger such restrictive consumption recommendations based on EPA methods, but is still allowed to be sold legally in the U.S. by the FDA."
The annual global production of farmed salmon has increased 40 times during the last two decades — making inexpensive salmon available to consumers year-round. Between 1987 and 1999,salmon consumption increased at an annual rate of 14% in the European Union and 23% in the U.S. Since 2000, over half of the salmon eaten globally has been farmed, coming primarily from fish farms in Northern Europe, Chile, and Canada.

Don Staniford goes on trial against Norwegian Fish Farmers

This is all so bizarre - just like a very, very bad dream I can't seem to wake up from. What is happening in the world these days??? - Freedom of speech is essential for every democracy....so Canada WAKE UP!!!!
I used to be proud of my birth in Montreal, but these days... I'm not so sure anymore, so sad, so VERY sad.



This is what it's all about - should they live or die slowly,just because of huge economical interests?? - it all makes me so very sad!!

New great edition of Ten & TWO out now

Check out the new edition of Ten & Two it's out now - use this LINK

- and usually they bring some really beautiful shots and great article about everything from fly fishing to vine & dine.
Here is some photographic examples of what you will find in the second edition of 
Ten & Two.











January 19, 2012

8 Mighty Rivers Run Dry From Overuse


8 Mighty Rivers Run Dry From Overuse

Colorado River

Photograph by Peter McBride, National Geographic

This story is part of a special National Geographic News series on global water issues.
The Colorado River is one of the most used and contested waterways on Earth. It provides water for 30 million people, and has many dams and diversions along its 1,450 miles (2,333 kilometers).
Because it is so heavily tapped for agriculture, industry, and municipal uses along its course, the Colorado River rarely reaches its delta and the Gulf of California. About one-tenth of the river's former flow now makes it to Mexico, but most of that is used for farming and cities south of the border.
—Brian Clark Howard

January 18, 2012

Check this out - so strange and very unethical ...




By John Aravosis


BP photoshops fake photo of oil spill crisis command center to make it look busy


BP has now posted the "original" photo, they claim. Except - surprise - they are refusing to post the high-resolution version of the new "original" photo (update: they've now posted the original photo). They posted the high-res version of the altered photo earlier, and in fact, that version is still live via a link below the new photo. Why not post the high-res version of the new "original" photo? Afraid someone is going to enlarge it and find out it's fake too?

Read the rest of this very interesting story - HERE - and get "the picture" of how little we can trust a picture these days - everything have been through Photoshop, so don't believe in what you se out there.
Now here is the Photoshop job that the "professional" photographer did - this is just one part of the photo that he screwed up:
Anyone who has ever used Photoshop knows that this is an incredibly amateur job. I can do far better than this, and I tend to play with Photoshop for fun. We're to believe that a professional photographer did this poor a job, for pay, for a huge corporate client? Really? No one would hire this photographer again if this is true. Oh, and the photographer added the fake screens to the photo, what, without BP's permission? That's what they're implying, "the photographer did it."

Read the rest of this very interesting story - HERE 

January 17, 2012

The Norwegian environmental organizations underwater video from underneath a fish farm

The Norwegian environmental organizations underwater video from underneath a fish farm
- it doesn't look very tempting to take a little "dip" here, but if you are a fish what choice do you have??? - sad that nobody does anything to prevent this kind of serious pollution

The latest edition of Legacy from the steelhead and salmon society online now

January 15, 2012

Mail from Alex - Two Norwegian Salmon Farming Companies in Court Next Week


Mail from Dr. Alexandra Morton 
 - Two Norwegian Salmon Farming Companies in Court Next Week.

 Marine Harvest will be in Port Hardy Provincial Court for sentencing for illegal possession of wild salmon and herring. And Cermaq (Mainstream) will be in court trying to sue Don Staniford for his effort to get salmon farms out of the ocean.
Marine Harvest - Port Hardy, Wednesday January 18 9 am
In June 2009, young wild salmon were seen spilling onto the dock in Port McNeill as live Atlantic salmon were unloaded from a vessel into a truck. The farm salmon were being transported to a hatchery to strip their eggs, but Marine Harvest did not have a licence to possess the wild salmon which had been presumably scooped out of the sea pen with the Atlantic salmon. Bill Mackay of Mackay Whale Watching picked up some of these fish and gave them to me for identification - they were pink salmon. I pressed a charged under the Fisheries Act, and for the first time ever the Department of Justice (DOJ) took over a private prosecution and moved forward with the case. More generally when the DOJ takes over a private citizen's case they stay the charges. The DOJ required Fisheries and Oceans Canada to actually lay charges against Marine Harvest for illegal possession of wild salmon, as well as, a second report involving juvenile herring. The trial did not proceed, Marine Harvest spokesman, Clare Backman is quoted in the Times Colonist saying the "the company will plead guilty in court Jan. 18. He said there are two counts of incidental bycatch, but he could not elaborate further on the case until after the legal proceedings are concluded."
(Times Colonist, Oct 23, 2011).
The salmon incident originated at the Marine Harvest salmon feedlot called Potts Bay, Midsummer Island at the mouth of Knight Inlet and the herring were taken from the Marine Harvest Arrow Pass feedlot - both in the Broughton Archipelago.
If you can attend the Port Hardy Court House at 9 am on Wednesday January 18, please do. We know fishermen are heavily fined for illegal possession of one salmon - it will be interesting to see how the courts respond to Norwegian salmon farm by-catch of wild BC fish.
If you are concerned about wild fish being killed in salmon feedlots and have information on wild fish in farm salmon or salmon farms, please send pictures and reports.
Cermaq (Mainstream Canada) Vancouver, Monday January 16 10 am
Also next week the Norwegian salmon farm company Cermaq is attempting to sue Don Staniford for publishing graphics that compare salmon farming to the tobacco industry. Don has been working to protect wild salmon from salmon farms for almost 20 years. He has gone to investigate the industry around the world including Chile, Norway and Scotland. Don has met with the CEOs, gone to the share holder meetings, met with scientists, has pressured environmental organizations not to succumb to industry pressure, he has been tireless, fearless and incorruptible. When Cermaq tried to silence him "Staniford responded one minute past the deadline and with another cigarette-like-package graphic that read "Norwegian Owned" and included an image of a raised middle finger and the words "Salmon Farming." article Don has worked for several environmental organizations in the past but is going solo on this. Don needs funds to go toe to toe with a company whose largest shareholder is the Norwegian government. If you can help please do.If you can attend the opening day please show support for this brave man at the Court House at Hornby and Nelson 10 am, the exact court # will be posted in the lobby that morning. It was revolting to watch the eye-contact darting back and forth between government employees on the stand at the Cohen Inquiry and the salmon farming representatives. They were huddled together in the hallways. The industry told us their fish would be tested, but appear to have changed their minds after the hearings. The people who are reporting on and challenging this industry in court are taking personal risk and need your help.
Don lice small

Your presence and your money are crucial. If we want wild salmon it is up to us to act now.


Follow all the donations flowing into this unique cause HERE



Help us Help Don Staniford



Help us support Don Staniford - he rally deserve every penny you can spare to fight for the future of wild salmon. 
So no matter what amount you can spare, then please use this direct link to make a donation - if you care about the wild salmon stock this is a really important donation, maybe the most important one you'll ever make.



January 10, 2012

Sick, Sick, Sick


Sick, Sick, Sick - I could kill these guy's SLOWLY and I

would enjoy it - really disgusting!!! - spread this movie so

they'll never rest anywhere. 


I'm SO fucking mad right now!!!!!!

Video - Des petits chats pour la peche

January 8, 2012

Fierce fish farm opponent - Don Staniford.


I have to add that I really respect Don Staniford - simply because he is one of the few persons who have made fighting for a really important cause a way of life, something we all could learn a lot from.

Here is an article from Yahoo News describing his situation right now where he is facing a huge lawsuit from the Norwegian fish farm industry.


Fierce fish farm opponent remains defiant in the face of B.C. defamation case

By Keven Drews, The Canadian Press 


VANCOUVER - Don Staniford says he's never had a fist fight — not even during his most ferocious action as a rugby player in high school or as a soccer player at university in the United Kingdom.

Change the subject to B.C.'s salmon farming industry, though, and the British-born activist with long, curly hair is more than willing to take on the world's largest salmon-farming companies in the ring of public opinion.

His outspoken criticism has earned him an appearance at the Supreme Court of B.C. on Jan. 16 where he must defend himself against allegations from Mainstream Canada, the province's second largest salmon farming company, that he defamed the organization.

The case could cost him $125,000 if he loses.
The defamation case is the second Staniford has faced in the province since 2005 and the third major legal fight of his 18-year international campaigning career.
"It's definitely a stressful situation," said Staniford, who is a native of Merseyside, England, near Liverpool.
"It's obviously gearing up for a fight. It's not a physical fight but it's a mental fight."
According to court documents, the case focuses on anti-salmon farming campaigns Staniford initiated on or about Jan. 31, 2011.
In those documents, Mainstream Canada's lawyer David Wotherspoon alleges Staniford disseminated and published defamatory and false statements about the company under three titles: "The Salmon Farming Kills Campaign", the "Silent Spring of the Sea," and "Smoke on the Water, Cancer on the Coast."
The company's amended notice of civil claim includes published graphics that look like cigarette packages and include warnings like "Salmon Farming Kills Like Smoking."
The company argues Staniford also wants to frustrate the World Wildlife Fund's pending certification scheme for farmed salmon.
The documents state that when the company's lawyers demanded Staniford cease and desist and retract his comments publicly, Staniford responded one minute past the deadline and with another cigarette-like-package graphic that read "Norwegian Owned" and included an image of a raised middle finger and the words "Salmon Farming."
Mainstream Canada produces 25,000 tonnes of fish in B.C. every year and is a subsidiary of the Norwegian company Cermaq.
"These statements that Staniford has used are styled after those kind of health warnings as though the salmon farming industry and farmed salmon is so dangerous that they require a health warning and is going to make people sick ... That's what this case is about," Wotherspoon said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
The company's trial brief states it's seeking $100,000 in general damages, $25,000 in punitive damages and a permanent injunction to stop Staniford from writing, printing or broadcasting defamatory words against Mainstream.
Staniford said he won't back down and settle the case, no matter the costs.
He's going up against a formidable opponent.
Mainstream Canada, which is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, also operates in Chile, Canada, Scotland and Vietnam. The Norwegian government is a majority shareholder, said a company official, and its legal counsel is Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, which is, according to its own website, the "third largest Canadian-based law firm."
At trial, the company plans to call 10 witnesses, including Lise Bergen, it's parent company's director of corporate affairs in Norway, Ruth Salmon, executive director of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, and the executive director of the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association.
In contrast, Staniford said he is not currently employed and is being represented by Vancouver-based lawyer David Sutherland, who runs a two-person law firm.
Court documents state Staniford plans to call one expert witness — John Volpe, an associate professor at the University of Victoria — and "possibly others."
Staniford himself is a seasoned international campaigner not unfamiliar with court action and has said he earned an undergraduate degree in geography in Birmingham, England and a master's degree in environmental science from Lancaster University.
He said he became interested in the aquaculture debate while completing his degrees and then volunteered with the environmental group, Friends of the Earth Scotland. In 1997, he met the well-known B.C. anti-salmon farming activist Alexandra Morton at a conference in Seattle, Wash.
Staniford said he faced his first legal threat in 2001 from a Scottish salmon farming company, but no trial ever took place.
In 2002, he began working for the Salmon Farm Protest Group and won a British Environment and Media Award.
According to an Oct. 24, 2002 press release on the World Wildlife Federation website, Staniford "was a significant influence in persuading the Scottish Parliament to hold a formal inquiry into fish farming, has written a widely praised Friends of the Earth critique of fish farming in Scotland and uncovered proof that fish farm workers were being ordered to use illegal chemicals."
Staniford came to Canada in 2004 and in 2005 he took a job with the Tofino, B.C. environmental group, Friends of Clayoquot Sound.
In June of that year he issued two news releases that questioned Tofino's Creative Salmon Company Ltd.'s use of malachite green, an antibiotic and suspected carcinogen, on market fish.
Creative Salmon sued Staniford for defamation, and in January 2007, a Supreme Court of B.C. judge ordered him to pay $85,000 in damages in legal fees. But Staniford appealed and won a new trial. Then, the Supreme Court of Canada said it would not hear a subsequent appeal by the company.
At one point during the 2010 Winter Olympics, Staniford said he even tried to deliver a letter to the king of Norway during a hockey match in Vancouver.
When asked what motivated him to become an environmental activist, Staniford said he wasn't sure.
"It wasn't my parents," he said. "I don't know where it came from. I think it came from the gut somewhere."
But he added the matter comes down to his principles.
"I think there's a moral imperative and a duty, once you have that knowledge about salmon farming and its impact, to spread the message," he said.
"I think the onus is on researchers to be political, to be active and not just let that information rot on an academic bookshelf but to get that into the media and that really means being a campaigner."
Staniford said he has received financial support from West Coast Environmental Law, as well as citizens in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.
Among his fans is journalist, writer and angler Bruce Sandison, who was an angling correspondent for The Scotsman newspaper for 20 years and worked with Staniford in 2002.
He called Staniford's work ethic "quite extraordinary" and said the protester helped organize actions at supermarkets in Belfast, Edinburgh and London.
"One of Don's greatest abilities is the determination to ... research things," he said in a telephone interview from Scotland. "He seemed to be able to have the ability to put together a massive technical detail and make sense of it. He was very good and very committed."
But Laurie Jensen, a Mainstream Canada spokeswoman, said company and industry employees have come under personal attack from Staniford who has gone beyond "rational dialogue."
"He's crossed the line and he's done the same thing with accusing us that our product causes cancer," she said.
When asked if she agrees the court battle is a David and Goliath struggle, Jensen said the company is playing the role of David.
"I think we're on the righteous end of things in that we have to defend ourselves," she said. "If we don't, we do a disservice to our communities, our partners, our employees."
Mary Ellen Walling, executive director of the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association, said Staniford has made personal attacks on her and those attacks are hard to call "a respectful kind of dialogue."
"He doesn't seem to be interested in any kind of exchange of information," she said, adding that her association isn't funding any of the court action but wants to support people working in the industry.
Staniford remains defiant, standing behind his statements and his objective of shutting down the B.C. industry.
If he loses the court action, he said the company will find collecting the damages "like getting blood out of a stone."
"I am going to fight until the bitter end and win," he added.

STOP SHARK FINNING - NOW!!!

STOP SHARK FINNING - NOW!!!

Watch this terrible movie and help us stop this insane madness!!

What kind of race are we humans - In my perspective we are a just f--ked up and very primitive, greedy and without any kind of empathy for other spices on this magnificent planet we are so privileged to be living on..... so sad, so very very sad to watch......




January 6, 2012

137 Species Rely on Pacific Salmon


Source: Salmon Nation - hosted by Ecotrust



137 Species Rely on Pacific Salmon¨


By Ed Hunt


In evolutionary terms, it seems counterproductive. Wouldn't it be better if each fish lived to rear its young, and perhaps even get a second shot at spawning?
It turns out that Pacific Salmon, in their own way, are providing for their offspring. When salmon swim upstream, they are returning to the waters where they themselves hatched years before — their bodies plump with eggs as well as the bounty of the seas.
After spawning, they leave their nutrient-rich carcasses behind. Many of the microscopic creatures that nibble on the carcasses eventually become prey for the next generation of fish. And so the parents nourish the young.
But salmon provide more than an indirect food source for baby salmon. At least 137 different species — from grizzly bears to gray wolves — depend on salmon for part of their diet. Even trees and plants benefit from the nutrients brought back by salmon from the seas.
It is awe-inspiring when you think about it. This mighty fish struggles up stream, jumping waterfalls, and its last act is sacrificing its body to ensure that the community that will raise its children will be thriving, teeming with life.
Which begs the question, what are we doing for our community, for the next generation?
Imagine what could be accomplished if we devoted our energies to the future the way that salmon do. Imagine if you will, a Nation of such salmon-people, leaping great obstacles to make a better place for their offspring and their ecosystem.

                                                            Get the poster! Featuring the fun artwork of Shannon Wheeler, 
and the above essay.Download here [1.4 mb]




New Winter 2012 Patagonia e-mag out now


The latest edition of the Patagonia e-mag is out now - check it out HERE

January 4, 2012

Biotech Firms Caught In Regulatory No Man's Land

Source to this article: NPR website


Biotech Firms Caught In Regulatory No Man's Land



by 



Companies making genetically modified animals face a regulatory morass in this country. It's not always clear which federal agency has responsibility for regulating a particular animal, and even when one agency does take the lead, the approval process can drag on for years.
The companies say this uncertainty means their technologies may die without ever being given a chance.
Take the case of the British company Oxitec. It has developed a genetically modified mosquito that the company says can be used to combat a disease called dengue.
Dengue is potentially fatal, and there is no treatment or vaccine. Dengue is not common in the United States, but it could be, because we have plenty of the species of mosquito that transmits it. There have been sporadic cases in Texas and Florida, so controlling this mosquito is crucial for keeping dengue out of the United States.
Luke Alphey, chief scientific officer of Oxitec, says the basic idea is very simple. The company has made genetically modified male mosquitoes that are sterile. When these modified males mate with normal females, there are no offspring.
"Over time, with periodic releases or successive releases of these sterile males, the target population will collapse," says Alphey.
No mosquitoes, no dengue.
Florida officials agreed to let Oxitec test its mosquitoes in Key West. So in 2009, Oxitec started asking which federal agency it needed to get approval from. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said, 'We're it,' so in March 2010, Oxitec submitted an application to import its mosquitoes from the U.K., and waited to hear back. And waited.
Finally, 18 months later, Oxitec heard back from the USDA. Bad news. The agency said, "We're not the right agency. Try the Food and Drug Administration."
How is it possible that it takes a federal agency 18 months to decide it's not the right one to regulate something?
"Well, the basic issue goes back to the problem of how the government first established oversight over genetically modified organisms," says Eric Hallerman, a professor of fisheries and wildlife at Virginia Tech. "There is no particular act that establishes government authority to do it."
Instead, in 1986 the Reagan White House decided to use existing laws, such as the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, as the basis of regulating genetically modified organisms. This has led to some strange circumstances. For example, for the purpose of regulation, the FDA considers a genetically modified mosquito to be a new animal drug.
But if Oxitec is frustrated, consider the plight of a Massachusetts company called AquaBounty. It has created a genetically modified salmon, a fish that is also a drug as far as the FDA is concerned. The salmon grows faster than wild salmon, something that could appeal to fish farmers.
AquaBounty has been trying to get FDA approval to market its salmon for more than a decade.
Hallerman was on a panel of scientists the FDA asked to evaluate whether the AquaBounty salmon were safe. In September 2010, the panel met and told the FDA yes, it would be OK to approve the salmon for sale.
"I was thinking at that time that they were going to come out with some sort of a decision sometime that winter," says Hallerman. "Well, here we are at the next winter."
The point here isn't whether AquaBounty's salmon or Oxitec's mosquitoes really are safe — there are some legitimate scientific questions about that. The point is that the companies are in a regulatory never-never land.
"It's sending a very strong message to the investment community and to people trying to develop innovative new products that there really is not a functional regulatory paradigm," says Ron Stotish, president of AquaBounty. Stotish says any answer would be better than none at all.
But even if the FDA does approve the salmon, there's yet another hurdle. Mark Begich, the Democratic senator from Alaska, isn't convinced the salmon is safe, and he says that approving it would threaten his state's wild salmon fisheries.
"We don't need to go down this path, and I believe that's a position we need to take," says Begich.
He has introduced legislation that would make it unlawful to ship, transport, offer for sale, sell or purchase genetically altered salmon or other marine fish.
If such a piece of legislation became law, it would, if nothing else, lighten FDA's workload.

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