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An Open Letter from Alexandra Morton to Federal Fisheries Minister Regarding Missing Fraser River Salmon

Alexandra Morton and boat
Dear Fisheries Minster Shea:

I am following the news that DFO is reporting 11 million sockeye salmon have vanished. The magnitude, social impact and trajectory of this fishery failure is on a par with the collapse of Canada’s Atlantic cod. Scientists have published on what went wrong within DFO to allow the cod, one of earth’s most abundant food resources to collapse. They identified political distortion of the science as a critical factor. They argue the public was not accurately informed as the collapse was underway.

( Hutchings, J.A., Walters, C., and Haedrich, R.L. 1997. Is scientific inquiry incompatible with government information control? Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 54: 1198–1210. )

This brings me to several recent comments in the media attributed to high-ranking DFO employees. Bary Rosenburger, DFO area director for the Fraser, describes the Fraser sockeye collapse as unexpected and that DFO doesn’t know what happened (Globe and Mail, Aug 13, 2009). But the next day he goes on to say it does not look like fish farms are responsible (

Pacific Salmon Foundation Community Roundtables

Pacific Salmon Foundation logo
The Pacific Salmon Foundation is developing a proposal that aims to identify probable causes of declines and to identify strategies to improve the production of Coho and Chinook stocks in the Strait of Georgia. They will be hosting 6 community meetings to inform the public about this proposed initiative, and to gather information regarding ongoing community initiatives, observations and ideas with respect to changes that have been noticed in the estuarine and marine environments of the Strait of Georgia.


Joggins Fossil Cliffs
QUÉBEC, Quebec, July 7, 2008 -- The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, today welcomed the designation of Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Nova Scotia, as Canada’s newest World Heritage Site. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee made the announcement at its annual meeting, which is being held in Quebec City this year.

“This designation came about due to the hard work of many concerned individuals in Joggins who, along with the Government of Nova Scotia, have done a tremendous job demonstrating the tremendous value of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs,” said Minister MacKay. “The fossil forests of Joggins are unique, and I’m very proud that this site has joined this exclusive club known as World Heritage Sites.”

Shaw Communications (Victoria) To Support BC Parks 100th and Wild Coast Projects!

Black Bear grazing on roadside vegetation.

Yesterday was a very exciting day for the Wild Coast project. Daphne Goode and Mark McAmmond from the local Shaw cable station offered to assist with our public education and social marketing campaign with the in-kind airing of 30 sec. public service announcements, and possibly a 1:30 min. informational piece (you can actually convey alot in either of these two spots). 

They have also agreed to assist with our BC Parks 100th project with in-kind air time, not just to local communities but province-wide, and maybe even into Alberta and Ontario!

With the letters of support I'm waiting to receive in the next few hours, I'll be able to leverage the necessary partnerships and financing to realize the vision at the core of each project. 

The New Social Ecosystem and Saving the Real World Wide Web

Old Growth Douglas Fir forest, Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

It's intriguing, isn't it, how quickly social media and citizen journalism are revolutionizing communication and, by extension, education. I firmly believe that we who wish to preserve as much of the Real World Wide Web as possible must learn how to work with them. They are enabling the emergence of a fundamentally different social ecosystem. One in which people who care about something can come together across time and space to share their mutual passions; these people some commentors have called "tribes."

What many of these tribes are seeking is leadership. They are often looking for guidance as to where to direct their energies. With respect to the environment, and in particular, with respect to the protection of wild species and their habitats, we can provide some of that leadership if we learn how to work with social media to engage, educate and empower individuals and organizations in doing the right thing.

In fact, I'm convinced we must learn out of a deeply-felt sense of responsibility and to remain relevant. To lose relevancy is to become disconnected. A very scary place to be. And yet many great organizations are facing this prospect.



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