Posted by: marineharvestcanada | February 26, 2010

Sleeping is easy when you’re proud of your work and its quality product

Courier-Islander, Published: Friday, February 26, 2010

I wish to respond to Len Sumner’s recent letter to the editor concerned about me getting a good night’s sleep (Wild Pacific Salmon or employment, Feb. 19).

I’m a salmon farmer, so I guess that gives me the right to respond to your questions. First off, I am helping those “huge Norwegian corporations” raise a high-quality salmon product on a year-round basis which is both nutritious and delicious. I’m not sure what you have against Norwegians – they’re actually very nice people. During an era when global human expansion is setting unprecedented numbers, we must look to alternative methods to provide the food to satisfy the masses. Unfortunately during recent decades, man’s furious race to harvest the seas for this reason (as well as for monetary gains) has resulted in a shortage of biomass inhabiting the oceans. Man has impacts on every portion of the food web and this of course has detrimental impacts on every living organism everywhere – the sea is no exception.

The culturing of living organisms is not a new practice, it is done in every country on most continents. As we supply protein to feed people, we are accepting the challenge of raising salmon to help alleviate the pressures on the wild stock so that they may perhaps return one day to their historical levels. As you are probably well aware, the pink salmon that were once classified as endangered and at risk for extinction sure did not listen to the doom and gloom reporting that seemed to occupy every newspaper in the last number of years.

Speaking of working for huge corporations, unless you are independently wealthy, or own a small business, you too Mr. Sumner are likely part of a bigger picture answering to a shareholder somewhere. The people being well-funded to ask salmon farming companies the critical questions also answer to their big brothers. The world has grown so big and the political and social layering of classes is widening all the time so it is inevitable to believe that we all have questions that we have to answer for the person waiting on the next rung up the ladder.

I do sleep well at night knowing that I work in an industry I believe in, work with people I can be proud of, and produce a quality product that has health benefits, is delicious, and well sought after. I would not continue my career if I did not believe in it. After six years of post-secondary education, and 12 years working experience, I could do many other things, but pride myself on being a salmon farmer! My job is nowhere near important enough to me if it meant I was jeopardizing any wild species let alone the icon of the coast – the wild Pacific salmon. It’s not a question of “wild salmon or employment” – aquaculture helps sustain both.

I hope this provides the answers you were looking for. It likely won’t because you may have your mind already made up, but I suggest you take the opportunity this summer to take a tour of a working salmon farm to see for yourself the level of pride and true stewardship we as salmon farmers take to provide a healthy and sustainable product.

George Nichols

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