Now this is an interesting turn of events.
Dr. Craig Orr, who has made a career out of being a scientific gun-for-hire and media go-to guy for negative quotes about salmon farming, is complaining that the new Integrated Management of Aquaculture Plan advisory committee just isn’t fair.
Orr is quoted as saying he thinks environmental groups should have more than three seats at the table, otherwise they will just be “shouted down.”
“All we’re saying is, make it fair,” he said. “Have some (federal fisheries) scientists, have some academics, have some NGO scientists.”
But that’s exactly what the committee has, Dr. Orr. how is it not fair?
The current make-up of the advisory committee already has more environmental group representation than regional districts, yet they are not complaining about fairness. The committee has seven First Nations representations, and seven salmon farm company representatives, which makes perfect sense because it’s all about the Integrated Management of Aquaculture.
How is this not fair? Does Dr. Orr think the First Nations and salmon farm companies should give up some of their seats so environmental groups, who have no direct stake in managing aquaculture, should be given equal footing?
Besides, isn’t it environmental groups who have the tendency to “shout down” anyone who disagrees with them? How did BAMP turn out? How did CAAR’s partnership with Marine Harvest turn out? The ENGOs got mad, took their ball and went home when they found they couldn’t shout and bully the salmon farmers at the table to bend to their will.
These are projects in which Dr. Orr participated. Maybe he doesn’t like to participate in groups where he doesn’t have control over the Talking Stick all of the time.
Or perhaps Orr simply isn’t qualified to sit on the committee, since he’s published more papers about East Coast birds and rabbits than he has about aquaculture in B.C.
Either way, it doesn’t matter because despite his complaining, Orr says he isn’t going to participate.
But Orr said his organization has decided not to participate in the committee. He said he’s been involved in similar processes in the past where “things get blocked.”
“We don’t want to get into an arena where that advice is going to go into a black hole or just give us ulcers,” said Orr.
That’s right. It’s only OK to participate in committees where “things get blocked” for the salmon farmers, and where advice from salmon farmers goes into a “black hole” and where salmon farmers get ulcers.
This response shows that when some salmon farming opponents are denied their bully pulpit, they really aren’t interested in participating and collaborating to help make things better. They just want a platform to berate and condemn the things they hate.
That’s not science, and doesn’t belong at the IMAP advisory committee table.
If the Hutterites can’t do it, no one can.
We heard this week that the much-vaunted Miller Hutterite Colony land-based salmon farm in Montana has failed, after only two years.
That was just long enough to get out one harvest — if there even was a harvest, we haven’t heard.
What we have heard is that they are shutting down and selling off all their recirculation equipment.
It’s all for sale, if anyone is interested.
This is interesting news not because we are trying to gloat. We’re not. It’s just that if anyone could have made land-based salmon farming work as a real-world, viable commercial-scale operation, it would have been the Hutterites, because Hutterites work for free. They live in a communal lifestyle and don’t pay wages. There were no wage and labour costs associated with this facility. Given that profits for land-based salmon farms are extremely slim, with fluctuating salmon prices enough to drive them into the red in a blink, having no wage and benefit costs for employees could have made this more viable.
But clearly after experimenting with this system the Brethren decided it wasn’t going to work for them.
Maybe someday someone will make it work, but people keep trying — and failing.
Perhaps it’s time for land-based salmon farm promoters to stop promoting unrealistic dreams as magic bullet solutions, and realize that conventional salmon farms are here to stay.