OUR VIEW: Tonight on 60 Minutes – nothing new

We say: U.S. news show covers salmon farming fairly

There are many things to which the old adage “Be careful what you wish for…” applies and American television coverage is usually one of them.

But after the venerated television newsmagazine show 60 Minutes turned its cameras on the salmon farming industry on the coast of British Columbia and on the Campbell River area particularly, the conclusion has to be…okay. The report which aired on the CBS network Sunday was generally a balanced overview of the industry and it’s impact on wild salmon. British Columbians and, certainly, Campbell Riverites would have seen nothing new or groundbreaking in the report. The “usual suspects” were trotted out to give the debate a face: the controversial Alexandra Morton and the articulate Ian Roberts. Both personalities put forward their positions clearly.

Getting a glowing comparison was the State of Alaska which banned salmon farming 25 years ago, opting instead to go with salmon ranching – raising fish in a hatchery and releasing them into the wild to return on their own and be harvested by commercial fishermen. The result, 60 Minutes said, is a healthy wild fishery in Alaska compared to B.C.’s. which is apparently devastated. Our wild fishery is facing challenges but it’s not devastated, especially when you compare it to the Lower 48 states where it truly is devastated. The controversial points about salmon ranching were not touched on either.

And the Canadian government was left looking inept over the possibility of the presence of Infectious Salmon Anemia issue and any effort to prevent an outbreak.