The environmental paparazzi

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Only a week into their hunt, the crew of the R/V Martin Sheen has already started down the path of illegal surveillance, harassment, and invasion of those working on salmon farms in BC.

Stalking farm workers, prying into their public and personal lives, taking pictures with telephoto lenses, intruding into private property… Operation Virus Hunt is pure paparazzi.

Morton and some of the crew of the Martin Sheen - the environmental paparazzi.

Farmers have not been contacted to ask permission to enter farm site tenures – instead employees have been barraged with cameras, scuba divers, paddle boarders attaching GoPro cameras in the top netting of nets to capture video, and even drones flying overhead.

This blatant invasion and harassment directly violates the mantra of the group's leader – Alex Morton – to conduct audits in a “non-harassing” manner, and to “not go where they aren’t wanted”.

No, those words are best left for the photo-ops and sexy press releases, because without a doubt, the activists aboard the R/V Martin Sheen are doing just the opposite.

In no other setting would it be socially acceptable for complete strangers to surround your home – yes, these employees live on-site year-round – and violate your privacy at your place of employment. Workers on the farms have never been asked if they would like to be invaded by these activists, and furthermore, they were not even aware these things would be happening at their farm sites.

No other “researcher” or “scientist” would be acting this way. Real scientists, aiming to prove or disprove a hypothesis, would NEVER treat research stakeholders like this. There is a complete abhorrent lack of respect for the other people involved and it should be found totally unacceptable by the public and her supporters alike.

“Guys… this really looks bad”, said Morton yesterday on her blog about pictures she took of farm-site employees inside their residences.

Pictures she took of employees through windows of their residences. It is so ridiculously inappropriate it almost comes off as satirical.

But no satire here. This is what the “biologist” Alex Morton is currently doing with her millions of dollars in funding – invading the privacy of Canadian citizens and taunting them on her blog.

And she goes even further to insinuate that farmers are actually doing something wrong in order to explain why they were “hiding from view”.

What looks bad, Ms Morton, is a crew of activists crawling all over private property, violating people’s homes and workplaces with cameras, drones and GoPros.

It’s no wonder employees didn’t want to come out and talk. Why would anyone subject themselves to the ridicule of a professional activist when they are just trying to do their jobs?

Furthermore, based on the violent and aggressive history of the very society that funds this operation, why would anyone subject themselves to possible threats or intimidation?

And whether or not employees were “hiding out” is another presumptuous allegation.

Maybe they were watching the fish feed on the state-of-the-art camera systems farms use to observe and regulate feed levels - something that one who claims to know so much about the industry should have realized.

To the uneducated, the barrage of photos being posted online can be spun to mean anything they like – it’s social engineering at it’s finest. However, let’s hope a majority of people with critically thinking brains will be able to discern them for what they truly are: misrepresented pictures taken by seriously desperate activists who are showing their true colours.

On her blog, Morton also accuses the industry of being afraid of the public. A statement that literally couldn't be further from the truth. Salmon farmers in BC host hundreds of public tours. In fact, anyone can call in and request a tour - not a problem! Farmers want to show the public the real truths about the industry and are unequivocally welcoming and proud to showcase their farms.

But these aren’t members of the public. These are eco-terrorists flying a wannabe pirate flag.