Deconstructing Dinner
Deconstructing Dinner is a podcast/radio show that broadcast between 2006 through 2011 with a brief return of a handful of episodes in 2014. Almost 200 episodes are available on topics ranging from corporate consolidation, animal welfare, urban food production and the local and good food movements. With host Jon Steinman.
Norway, British Columbia III (Farming Atlantic Salmon in the Pacific)

In October 2008, host Jon Steinman was toured around a salmon farm along with delegates of the 2008 conference of the Canadian Farm Writers Federation. The tour was sponsored by the Province of British Columbia's Ministry of Agriculture & Lands and the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA).

The farm is owned by Marine Harvest Canada and located off the shore of East Thurlow Island - about a 45-minute boat ride from Campbell River, BC. The farm is home to 500,000 Atlantic salmon.

On this part III of a multi-part series on salmon farming along the BC coast, Steinman poses some probing questions to the tour guides.

Helping balance the positive and promotional role of the BCSFA and the Province, the episode will also hear from Alexandra Morton of the Raincoast Research Society. Morton is one of the most vocal critics of open-net salmon farms and played a pivotal role in helping introduce the long-standing and contested debate of whether or not salmon farms are harming wild salmon populations.

Morton was given the opportunity to respond to the comments made on the tour by the guides. Of interest are the number of startling discrepancies that were discovered between what conference delegates were told versus what Morton has discovered through her research.

It was a timely tour to embark upon as it was only days earlier when Morton was in BC Supreme Court in Vancouver challenging the legal and constitutional authority of the Province to regulate salmon farms in the marine environment. Morton, alongside a group of petitioners, argue that the regulating of salmon farms in BC waters should constitutionally be within the purview of the Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. This episode will introduce this case, which is currently awaiting a decision.


Alexandra Morton - Scientist/Researcher, Raincoast Research Society (Echo Bay, BC) - While studying orca whales up until the 1990s, Alexandra watched as the salmon farming industry appeared in the Broughton Archipelago where she calls home. As she observed the arrival of industrial salmon farms, the whales she studied disappeared. She believed the cause was salmon farms, and when 10,000 pages of letters to all levels of government failed to elicit meaningful response, Alexandra realized that she would have to scientifically prove that salmon farming had driven out the whales and caused epidemic outbreaks of bacteria, viral and parasitic infections in wild salmon. By partnering with international scientists and in some cases commercial fishermen, Alexandra has documented the loss of the whales, thousands of escaped farm salmon, lethal outbreaks of sea lice, and antibiotic resistance near salmon farms.

Paula Galloway - Member and Community Relations, British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) (Campbell River, BC) - The BC Salmon Farmers Association was established in 1984. The Association is the voice of the province's salmon farming industry, a forum for communication, a vehicle for lobbying, and a point of contact for stakeholders and the public. Prior to her role with the BCSFA, Paula worked with EWOS - an international feed company serving the aquaculture industry. EWOS is owned by Norway's Cermaq.

Bill Harrower - Manager of Regional Operations for Aquaculture Development, Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Agriculture and Lands - (Courtenay, BC) Aquaculture is a significant contributor to the provincial economy, and most aquaculture jobs are located in coastal communities. Farmed salmon is B.C.'s largest agricultural export product. Bill Harrower has worked with the Department since the 1980s.

Barb Addison - Manager, Big Tree Creek Hatchery, Marine Harvest Canada (Sayward, BC) - Big Tree Creek is one of five hatcheries currently being managed by the company. It's in the process of a $3-million expansion.


Direct download: DD012209.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:45am EST

Norway, British Columbia II (Farming Atlantic Salmon in the Pacific)

In February 2006, Deconstructing Dinner aired an episode that explored salmon farming off the coast of BC. Three years later, we're revisiting the topic and creating a new multi-part series of the same name.

While the structure of the industry has not changed much over the past three years, public opposition has remained strong. Catherine Stewart of the Living Oceans Society believes this opposition has been pivotal in keeping the growth of the industry at bay. Stewart suggests that this static growth is much to the chagrin of the Liberal government who had announced that the industry would increase 10-fold when they came into power in 2001.

As part of the Norway, British Columbia series, highlights will include a tour of an Atlantic salmon hatchery near Campbell River and a salmon farm off the shores of East Thurlow Island. Featured throughout the series will be interviews with industry, government, and conservation groups. The controversy surrounding the placing of an 'organic' label on a package of salmon will be explored alongside the prospects of genetically-engineered salmon entering into BC waters.

On this Part II, we'll learn of expansion plans at one of the hatcheries of Marine Harvest Canada - the largest aquaculture company operating in BC. As the industry has been running into many barriers to get new farm sites approved, we'll examine whether this expansion is a sign that the industry is getting prepared to grow? With an election looming, activists believe that a re-elected Liberal government will pave the way for a string of rubber-stamped site approvals. There are currently many applications before the Province requesting amendments to production limits and along with the history of over-production violations within the industry, open-net salmon farm opponents like the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR), are deeply concerned.

The broadcast will also explore the Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) outbreak that has caused massive restructuring in Chile's salmon farming industry. With the virus popping up in Scotland in January 2009, British Columbians should be left to wonder whether ISA will hit BC next?


Catherine Stewart - Salmon Farming Campaign Manager, Living Oceans Society (Vancouver, BC) - Living Oceans Society is Canada’s largest organization focusing exclusively on marine conservation issues. They are based in Sointula, a small fishing village on the Central Coast of British Columbia. Prior to her role with Living Oceans, Catherine worked with Greenpeace for seventeen years, holding the positions of Regional Director and oceans and forests campaigner.

Clare Backman - Environmental Compliance and Community Relations, Marine Harvest Canada (Campbell River, BC) - Marine Harvest is one of the world's largest aquaculture companies and is based in Norway. Their Canadian division is the largest aquaculture company operating in the Province of British Columbia. With 75 farm licenses, the company produces more than half (55%) of the total production of farmed salmon in BC.

Barb Addison - Manager, Big Tree Creek Hatchery, Marine Harvest Canada (Sayward, BC) - Big Tree Creek is one of five hatcheries currently being managed by the company. It's in the process of a $3-million expansion.

Other Voices

Jay Ritchlin - Director Marine and Freshwater Conservation, David Suzuki Foundation (Vancouver, BC)

Ian Roberts - Communications, Marine Harvest Canada (Campbell River, BC)

Bill Harrower - Manager of Regional Operations for Aquaculture Development, Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Agriculture and Lands - (Courtenay, BC)

Direct download: DD011509.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:07pm EST

Food System Retrospective and Outlook w/Brent Warner

Deconstructing Dinner launches our 2009 season of programming with a restrospective and forward-looking presentation by Brent Warner of Farmers' Markets Canada. Brent was recorded in October 2008 speaking to delegates of the annual conference of the Canadian Farm Writers Federation (CFWF) held in Courtenay, British Columbia.


Brent Warner - Interim Executive Director, Farmers' Markets Canada (Sidney, BC) - FMC has been created to help connect Canadian consumers to their local farmers and to address the needs of farmers' markets across the country. Brent is a former Industry Specialist in Agritourism/Direct Marketing with British Columbia's Ministry of Agriculture & Lands. Brent is a horticulturalist who has also served as the Secretary of the North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association.

Direct download: DD010809.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:51pm EST