Campbell River, British Columbia -
04/28/2010 - The Pure Salmon Campaign today called for the resignation of Geir Isaksen, CEO of Cermaq, one of the world’s two largest producers of farmed salmon. The campaign filed a shareholder resolution requesting that the Board of Directors consider a detailed succession plan for Cermaq’s CEO and will deliver the demand later today at Cermaq’s Canadian headquarters in Campbell River, British Columbia.
“Cermaq has refused to take even modest steps to deal with problems caused by its open net cage salmon farms,” said Bartlett Naylor of the Pure Salmon Campaign. “We’re left with no other choice but to ask for new management.”
Cermaq management underestimated the virus outbreak that led to the collapse of the Chilean farmed salmon industry. Instead of responding quickly to the massive outbreaks of infectious salmon anemia in Chile, Cermaq continued to release juvenile salmon into its open-net cages, where many fish became infected by the highly contagious virus. The resulting fish losses translated into a plummeting stock price.
In British Columbia, peer-reviewed published scientific studies found that high concentrations of sea lice at salmon farms pose real threats to wild salmon. Earlier this year, Canadian scientists called for the emergency closure of farms in wild salmon migratory routes, such as the Wild Salmon Narrows, to address the collapse of the Fraser River sockeye. Even though other major producers of farmed salmon, including Marine Harvest, acknowledged the problem caused by sea lice and agreed to fallow certain farms in key migratory paths, Cermaq has refused to take any precautionary measures and close even a single farm.
“It’s very hard to watch these little fish hatch every year and then go by these big salmon farms and be destroyed,” said Alexandra Morton, renowned British Columbia-based biologist who has been published in several peer-reviewed journals including Science. “Their bodies are full of holes. They’re bleeding. Sometimes, the lice are attached to their eyeballs.”
The Pure Salmon Campaign has joined with Morton and other organizations in the “Get Out Migration,” a rolling demonstration that reaches Campbell River today where they will deliver the demand today for Isaksen’s ouster at Cermaq’s Canadian headquarters.
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Salmon Aquaculture Reform campaign.