FIN IN THE NEWS: Shatner makes plea for B.C.'s wild salmon population

Actor calls on Canadians to back new regulations on fish farms to prevent pathogen spread Amy Minsky, Canwest News Service

Actor William Shatner made a plea Thursday for Canadians to get behind an NDP-led effort to protect British Columbia's wild salmon population by imposing new regulations on fish farms. The cause affects Canada's people, fish and agriculture, he said, speaking at an Ottawa news conference via telephone from Los Angeles "My rage is against the companies that have no conscience about what they're doing. The bottom line is the only thing they think about," said the actor, famous for his role as Captain Kirk in the original Star Trek television and movie series.

"As a father and a grandfather, who wishes that my offspring get to see the same thing I did, the wildlife and the wilderness, brings me to talk to you this afternoon." The Ottawa event was attended by marine biologist Alexandra Morton, B.C. First Nation Chief Bob Chamberlin and NDP fisheries and oceans critic Fin Donnelly, who earlier this week introduced a private member's bill that would require Pacific salmon-farming industry to move its operations into closed containment.

Many fish farms off the B.C. coast use open-net pens in coastal waters. That practice causes "pathogens to explode among the wild salmon," as germs transfer from the farms, said Morton, a scientist and fierce opponent of salmon farming. Shatner said his interest in fish farming started about two years ago when he was filming for Boston Legal on Vancouver Island, and saw that wild salmon was crucial to the survival of animals and plants, both on land and in the sea.