DFO should leave PR to fish farms, say Greens

communications plan presented at the Cohen Commission shows that the Department
of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is focused more on promoting fish farming than on
its mandate of protecting Canada's waters.  The Green Party of Canada is
appalled to learn the extent of DFO's collusion with the aquaculture industry,
including creating spin that makes fish farming sound environmentally-friendly
and downplaying science to the contrary.  "This evidence shows
outrageous bias-instead of regulating, DFO is promoting and defending the fish
farming industry," said Green Leader Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf
Islands.  "The responsibility for wasting taxpayers' dollars to run
PR for fish farms most likely lies with the bureaucrats' political masters, but
we need to get to the bottom of it.

communications strategy also attacks environmental groups for having a self-serving
agenda, suggesting they are raising awareness about fish farms in order to
support their fundraising efforts.  "This allegation against environmental
groups is outrageous," said May. "No one in their right minds would
dedicate their lives to stopping the destruction of our oceans just for kicks -
these people work incredibly hard and for very little money. That DFO would
promote this denigration of citizens is completely inexcusable."  The
strategy goes on to attack journalists as biased and suggests that the public
is confused and apathetic.  "It is disgusting that this
communications strategy was considered a viable way to proceed," said May.

The Green
party recalls the parroting of DFO talking points against the David Suzuki
Foundation and salmon activist Alexandra Morton in a September 2010 Globe and
Mail column by Margaret Wente.  "We need to know who promoted this
boosterism over regulation, how much was spent to assist the multinational fish
farms, and how many journalists received their talking points from DFO. The
House Committee on Fisheries should hold emergency hearings into the
matter," said May.

Greens are calling for an overhaul of aquaculture policy in DFO.  "We
demand that DFO do its job to protect fisheries and leave pro-industry public relations
to the industry. They can afford to do their own PR," said May.

Director of Communications