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CONTRIBUTION · 7th September 2011
Alexandra Morton
I have spent over 2,000 hours over the past 9 months reading through the 500,000 documents submitted to the Cohen Inquiry and I have listened to and read the testimony of senior DFO who have been on the stand at the Inquiry. Today and tomorrow I am a witness and the proceedings will be live-streamed at

I can see how the Fraser sockeye got where they are today. I want to know if Salmon Leukemia is infecting the Fraser sockeye. I want to know why only the runs that pass salmon farms are collapsing and rebounding in unpredictable patterns. I don't see DFO accepting this responsibility. Dr Mike Kent - ex-DFO retracted ten years of his own work on this disease when he was on the stand. Then Dr Mark Sheppard, DFO said he does not think it exists and will never report it even when presented the clinical diagnosis. Dr. Marty BCMAL also does not think it exists even though he has reported the symptoms in 587 farm salmon. Dr. Saksida was on the stand yesterday she says it does exist. Dr. Miller, DFO is trying to confirm all this and DFO has taken away her funding to work on sockeye!!

This speaks to the chaos that has become status quo in sockeye management! I want to know ARE THE FRASER SOCKEYE DYING WITH BRAIN TUMOURS OR NOT.

I can see the fatal flaws within DFO. Our Federal Fisheries Department is no longer about trying to protect wild salmon. They are simply not doing that. Senior management in DFO are FAR more absorbed by trying to protect themselves and their unwieldy, archaic and disfunctional organization.

I want to be VERY clear, there are many dedicated, brilliant and hardworking people within DFO, but DFO treats them as the enemy within. DFO is suppressing, starving and abusing the best people they have.

DFO has a short window of opportunity here to come clean. As I have heard it on the stand, the fault here lies with the Provincial Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. DFO is guilty of gross negligence, but the Province of BC is guilty of hiding the diseases that appear to be brewing in lethal concert right now in the salmon farm feedlots that have placed in the most crucial and sensitive wild salmon habitat perhaps on earth - the Fraser sockeye migration route along Vancouver Island.

As fate would have it I was studying whales in a remote and incredibly beautiful wild place on the coast of BC, between Kingcome and Knight Inlets. When salmon farms arrived my community of Echo Bay welcomed them. We were so naive, it hurts to think back to the trust we placed in government and this industry. They were bullies and destroyed Echo Bay. My First Nation friends are standing toe to toe against the federal and provincial governments and these Norwegian corporations - unblinking. They don't want the trinkets the industry is throwing at them. They live in the wilderness and thus can still feel the pulse of the living world. Wild salmon run in their veins.

I have seen this from all sides. The industry and government cannot figure out who I am and hurl insults. They insinuate I do this for money. Well, I have news for them. There are things more powerful than money!

This is about the home I love. I follow in the tradition of the millions of women before me who have fought for the lands they raised their children on.