Mark Hume on Alexandra Morton’s Quixotic Battle Against Salmon Farms


Read this profile by the Globe and Mail’s Mark Hume of marine biologist Alexandra Morton’s decades-long struggle against the Norwegian open net salmon farming industry. (April 20, 2012)

Alexandra Morton sits at her kitchen table and tries to ignore the e-mails pouring in to the laptop open in front of her. She is looking out the picture window at Rough Bay, which is tranquil this morning, reflecting a vivid blue sky and the snow-capped mountains of northern Vancouver Island.

 “That’s where I want to be,” she says wistfully, as if the sea, which washes ashore 10 metres from her tiny cabin on Malcolm Island, is somehow unreachable because of the life she has chosen.

Her idea of a perfect day is to rise at dawn and head out in her boat, Blackfish Sound, wandering until she finds a tide line where a rich seam in the ocean currents is marked by a ribbon of flotsam. Then she turns off the engine and drifts with a hydrophone hung over the side of the boat.

“You can hear herring. They sound like lemons being squished. You can hear the whisk, whisk, whisk of otter feet,” she says. “You can hear whales, and you can even hear the rocks rolling on the pebble beaches.”

But the days when she can escape to that idyllic world are few, says Ms. Morton, who is tied to her computer, afraid that if she rests, she may fail at her self-appointed task of removing open-net salmon pens from coastal waters.

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