Last month, the World Wildlife Federation held its seventh salmon aquaculture dialogue meeting at Simon Fraser University. That meeting, which brings together environmental and industry representatives, was scheduled to "focus on the relationship between regional or local Canadian initiatives on sustainable salmon culture." So some attendees found it curious that British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association executive director Mary Ellen Walling and provincial government aquaculture development director Al Castledine seemed a bit wall-flowerish during that meeting.
In an interview with Public Eye, Ms. Waling explained her association hasn't "been involved in any of the (World Wildlife Federation) dialogue. So it was my first meeting." And, "as it was my first meeting, I was there to listen. And I think there were some pokes taken at the association. And that's fine. That's just par for the course to be frank. For me, I've done a lot of work on the coast with a whole different range of stakeholders. And I think if you're new to a group it's important to listen more than you speak. And maybe this dialogue in B.C. would be a little further ahead if that approach was taken." That being said, though, Ms. Waling added that association members have been active participants in the dialogue meetings - include Marine Harvest Ltd.
But what about the British Columbia government? Why didn't they speak up more during the dialogue? Said agriculture and lands communications director Liz Bicknell, "It wasn't our forum. And we were not officially invited to participate...And you know that sometimes there are formal opportunities (to speak) and there are less formal opportunities. And by just sitting down and chatting (informally) with people you very often get more information or more things done and you have more of a success. And, in our business, listening as well is a hugely important piece of what it is we do. It's not just always talking. And the analogy I like to use sometimes is we have one mouth but two ears."