A friend wrote to say that she enjoys my blog because it is so real. She ‘feels’ what I am going through. Every day.
I wish it were so. I am not that honest. I leave stuff out. I ‘often clean up my act’ – somewhat. Sorry.
Today I wrote a long piece on Fish Farms. Had some radical elements in it. It would have been read as blasphemy, I am sure. I asked Sal. She said, “Well, it is good but I am pretty sure that half the readers will hate you and the other half will think you mad! You may wish to hold off on that one.”
“Yeah. You are right. I kinda knew that. Maybe ravens and dogs, eh? Damn.”
But, after reading my friend’s comments, I feel as if I am letting her down if I don’t publish it. So, you may think me mad but………here goes:
Fish farms are industry and, like all industry, they renovate, refurbish, modernize and improve their operations, systems and equipment. Or, try to, anyway. There is not enough real innovation going on in my estimation. I want them to be a NOT-so-negative impact on the environment. But they are trying.
Maybe they should try something new?
Sadly, their evolutionary steps so far are not good enough. Not only are they not solving the operational by-effects of pollution, disease and sea-lice, they are not doing so well in the marketplace either. Fish farm Capitalism-as-it-is-currently-done is not working for them. At least not in BC.
Having said that, you have to give credit where credit is due. And, if Marine Harvest was the standard by which every company inter-acted with the community, then there would be a lot less animosity directed at ‘big business’ overall. Marine Harvest – for all their faults – at least employ nice guys who are clearly trying their best. The staff is polite, considerate and responsive. I like them. As people.
The farming process? Well, not so much.
But they do listen. They do talk. They do their best with what they have (as per instructions from head office) and they are generous to the community. If they could lick the sea-lice and infectious disease problems, they would be loved. I’d form a fan club.
Even better: BC would benefit from a healthy fish farming industry. Key word: healthy – in every respect.
But the disease-thing and the sea lice-thing are big issues for us who live out here not far from such farms. I am sure the dillemma I see is similar to that of a vegan who lives next door to a really great guy who runs a humane, organic butcher shop. Hate the sin, love the sinner. That is where I find myself. Liking the bad guys.
To be fair, the bad guys, as I said, are not such bad guys. And I am sure that they don’t want disease anymore than the wild salmon advocates do. After all, their bottom line suffers when they have to trash a million fish due to an infection. And I can’t see that suffering sea lice infestations do their fish any good, either. In fact, they have treatment protocols employing chemicals to deal with it. They know sea lice is a problem. A problem amongst problems. They just haven’t solved them!
But..whachagonnado? Business is hard. To fix the problems they need the cashflow. To get the cashflow, they need to sell the fish they have. And the way those fish are currently farmed generates the problems. Literally – a catch 22.
Well, I think there is an answer. And it lies partly with government. But mostly it lies with the community. It is us. Instead of thinking of these people as the enemy, we have to partner with them. We have to invest. We have to own part of it. We have to work there. Basically, we have to ‘help’ them do the right thing.
And on a much bigger scale than it is done now.
Capitalism is all very good for innovation and motivation but, generally speaking, there is no chromosone included in that monster for morality and the common good. Capitalism only supports capital. It is that simple. So, to inject community values into a company, the community has to inject itself (by way of capital and labour) into the company.
The way to clean up Capitalism is to marry it.
As you might guess, I am inclined GREEN. And I am not alone. Most everyone I know has a green streak. But Green doesn’t get votes primarily because Green doesn’t seem to get business. If I ran Green, I would do so from a community-company-partnership basis. NOT 3Ps! Not just goofy talk! Real ownership. Real investing. Real money. Real people. Merge the values and the ambitions of both the company and the community into something more sustainable and healthy.
If I ran Green, I might stop complaining about them and ask the fish farm industry to help make a sustainable community work. Geez….such an idea might work with timber and mining, too. What a concept, eh?