Salmon health will be the focus of lectures in Lumby today and Enderby Friday.

Salmon health will be the focus of lectures in Lumby today and Enderby Friday.

Salmon expert brings research to region

Dr. Alexandra Morton shares salmon research in Lumby and Enderby

  • May. 9, 2012 3:00 p.m.

Research into salmon will be front and centre during two presentations in the North Okanagan this week.

Dr. Alexandra Morton will speak today at 7 p.m. at the White Valley Community Centre in Lumby and Friday at 7 p.m. at the Enderby Seniors Centre.

She will share her latest research into salmon diseases found in farmed and wild salmon stocks.

Morton began her marine biology career studying captive killer whales at Marineland of the Pacific, in Los Angeles and soon realized she needed to learn more about their complex language and behavior.

In order to do so, she started observing the whales in their natural habitat in the Broughton Archipelago in 1979.

She wrote numerous research papers on the orcas, but when fish farms began to expand in the area in the late 1980s, the small community turned to her for help.

Her research then focused on the impact of these farms on wild salmon and soon her papers, published in leading journals such as Science, were warning that sea lice was spreading from the farmed Atlantic salmon to pink salmon.

Last year, Morton provided testimony for the Cohen Commission, a federal inquiry into the decline of the Fraser River sockeye. Her efforts resulted in the province releasing fish farm disease records.

Most recently, Morton has completed tests on farmed salmon purchased in Lower Mainland supermarkets.

The Lumby lecture is sponsored by the Okanagan-Shuswap NDP while the Enderby event is hosted by the Shuswap Environmental Action Society, Salmon Arm KAIROS and the Adams River Salmon Society.