Anti-salmon farming activists in British Columbia faced a setback as their radio advertisements, criticized for spreading misinformation about aquaculture, were removed from Canadian airwaves.
The ads, made by the advocacy group Wild First, claimed that wild Pacific Salmon were "on the brink of extinction" due to ocean salmon farms and called for their removal to protect wildstocks.
However, the claims made in the advertisements were challenged by the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA), which cited recent research showing a record-high abundance of wild Pacific salmon.
Brian Kingzett, executive director of the BCSFA, emphasized the importance of accurate information for consumers to make informed choices about their food.
"False advertisements by Wild First mislead the public... and undermine the significant contributions salmon farming provides to our communities, economy and environment," he stated.
Wild First's History of Ads
This incident isn't the first time Wild First's advertisements have been criticized for spreading false information.
Similar billboards in Ottawa were removed last December, reflecting a pattern of misinformation dissemination by the group.
Despite scientific findings suggesting minimal risk to wild fish stocks from salmon farming, activists persist in their efforts to influence policy decisions.
Tim Kennedy, President and CEO of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA), expressed satisfaction that the false ads were removed, saying, "In an age of misinformation, we are pleased that the right thing happened."
He also highlighted the economic implications of false claims, noting that they could harm British Columbia businesses and organizations associated with the aquaculture industry.
Wild First's commercials have also faced scrutiny for cherry-picking data and ignoring facts. Their previous efforts to attribute the worldwide abundance of Pink Salmon solely to closures of open-net aquaculture operations were debunked, as Pink Salmon runs were booming regardless of the presence of salmon farms.
As the federal government works on a transition plan for the salmon farming industry, legal challenges have arisen from various stakeholders, including First Nations, aquaculture companies and salmon farmers.
Notably, the Coalition of First Nations for Finfish Stewardship opposes the government's dismissal of scientific evidence.
"Our coalition is opposed to the federal government disregarding science and bowing to unfounded activist claims on salmon farming that, if heeded, will severely damage our communities, and deny our rights and title," the Coalition said in a statement.
Editing by Katherine 'Makkie' Maclang