The CEO of one of Canada's prominent seafood companies has stressed the need for cooperation between the fishing and aquaculture sectors to combat unfounded allegations propagated by environmental organizations. Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke Inc., made this call during his address at the Responsible Seafood Summit in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.
Cooke emphasized the importance of unity, stating, "We must collaborate because we now share a common adversary. Environmental groups have increasingly targeted both wild fishing and farming. The sooner we consolidate our efforts into a stronger, united front to confront them, the better in my opinion."
He specifically highlighted Patagonia, a leading outdoor clothing retailer and gear supplier, for its substantial efforts in opposing salmon farming, which has, in turn, influenced government policies against the industry. Cooke remarked, "Large organizations like Patagonia have managed to sway governments, as seen in Chile, where they actively fund various campaigns."
To counteract the detrimental impact of misleading narratives plaguing the seafood industry, Cooke stressed the imperative for the aquaculture and fishing sectors to work together. He noted, "As an industry, be it aquaculture or fishing, we need to be extremely vigilant in disseminating our message."
Cooke also expressed concerns about the role of social media, where anyone can disseminate unverified claims. He lamented, "We live in an era where the significance of science is diminishing. Social media has given everyone a platform and a voice to the extent that scientific evidence seems to have lost its value, and that's truly regrettable."
Cooke strongly criticized Fisheries and Oceans Canada's move to restrict or eliminate net-pen salmon farming in British Columbia, likening it to a "horrendous" decision. He drew parallels with their experience in Washington state, where they faced a similar situation. He attributed the loss of their net-pen permits in the U.S. state to "environmentalists stirring up baseless allegations, neglecting the use of scientific evidence, and failing to showcase the facts."
In a world where the seafood industry faces mounting challenges from environmental groups and misinformation, Glenn Cooke's call for industry unity and a renewed commitment to scientific rigor serves as a rallying cry for all stakeholders.
Source: Nathan Strout (October 5, 2023). Glenn Cooke: Industry must unify to combat environmentalists’ unscientific claims. Seafood Source. https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/supply-trade/cooke-ceo-industry-needs-to-unify-to-combat-environmentalists-unscientific-claims