Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Salmon News

The $64,000 Question

Morton's group gets cash boost  to continue salmon monitoring

Staff/Voice file photo


o you like using plastic? If so, you'll be helping our salmon.


 Visa and VanCity have joined forces to create a special fund which gives back to BC communities for projects that support a range of environmental initiatives focused on creating a sustainable food system.

According to a release on Monday, Visa says that every year, a portion of their Vancity enviro™ Visa's profits are given back to communities through the Vancity enviroFund™.

"We would like to thank our cardholders for working with us to help grow and promote a viable and sustainable local food system and for supporting environmental initiatives we can all benefit from," says Jean-Marc Handfield, Vice President Payment Solutions and Member Services Centre. "We believe our enviro ™Visa card is an innovative product because as our members spend on the card, they are actually helping to bring local and organic food to their communities in a variety of ways."

"So far this year, $250,000 has been distributed in grants to support 21 farmers' markets throughout British Columbia. The remaining $750,000 will fund 12 organizations and a variety of projects that provide British Columbians with greater access to local and organic food."

One of those twelve groups is the Pacific Coast Wild Salmon Society (PCWSS), headed by world-renowned wild salmon activist and scientist Alexander Morton, who will be receiving a $64,000 grant to help monitor the health of BC salmon.

The PCWSS is a Salmon Disease Awareness and Response Network for the Salish Sea, Fraser River who's focus is to ensure the viability of wild salmon as a food resource. Currently they are developing a program to link together the groups working to monitor salmon health and restore wild salmon populations, including First Nations, university departments and labs.

Morton told the Voice in an e-mail on Tuesday the VanCity funds will be used to test salmon throughout BC for European viruses associated with salmon farms.

"As we visit communities to do this testing we are teaching people how to take the samples themselves and in this way establish a network who are on the grounds in wild salmon habitat to monitor the health of the fish," says Morton. "Everywhere we go we find experts on the local salmon, people who have watched the salmon carefully, sometimes for decades. These are the people who need to be listened to, they hold the keys to unlock the mysterious collapses and rises that have made salmon impossible to predict. Salmon are so widespread, but so are the people standing guard over diverse stocks."

In the past, Morton has had to sell tee shirts in order to make ends meet and she thanked VanCity for their help adding that "we are moving all over BC attending various First Nation, commercial and sport fisheries to take samples that will be sent to the best and extremely expensive labs for analysis."

For more information, visit www.deptwildsalmon.org


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