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“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers

22. Fish Farms Threaten Health of Consumers and Aquatic Habitats


Mother Jones Magazine
November / December 2001
Title: Aquaculture’s Troubled Harvest
Author: Bruce Barcott

PEW Oceans Commission Report on Marine Aquaculture, 2001
Title: Marine Aquaculture in the United States: Environmental Impacts and Policy Options
Authors: Rebecca J. Goldburg, Matthew S. Elliott, Rosamond L. Naylor

Faculty evaluator: Bill Crowley
Synopsis by: Anthony Sult, Adam Cimino

Farmed fish provide one-third of the seafood consumed by people worldwide. In the US, aquaculture supplies almost all of the catfish and trout as well as half of the shrimp and salmon. In the early 1990s, the fledgling aquaculture industry was hailed as a remedy to the problem of marine over-fishing and the subsequent decline in jobs for fishermen. Unfortunately, aquaculture’s harm to people and surrounding environments may be greater than its highly anticipated benefits.

A recent Canadian study found that a single serving of farmed salmon contains three to six times the World Health Organization’s recommended daily intake limit for dioxins and PBCs. A salmon farm of 200,000 fish releases an amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and fecal matter roughly equivalent to the nutrient waste in untreated sewage from 20,000 to 25,000 people. Farmed salmon (usually called Atlantic or cultured Atlantic salmon) are genetically modified to be larger and have a 50 to 70 percent higher metabolic rate. When these super-fish get into the wild they compete unfairly for food resources, causing an increased rate of starvation among wild fish.

There is also a wide range of chemicals used in aquaculture, including antibiotics, parasiticides, pesticides, hormones, anesthetics, minerals, and vitamins. The use of these antibiotics is a health risk for fish as well as people, since it promotes the spread of antibiotic-resistance in both human and fish pathogens.

Canada is a major target for salmon farming. At first, salmon farms were welcomed for the jobs they would bring. Within a few years, however, large foreign corporations bought out many of the smaller operators. As the new operators took control, farms expanded and anchored their net pens in places where wild salmon smolts rested and fed on their way out to sea. Shrimp fishermen began pulling up traps full of back muck – a gooey mixture of feces, excess antibiotic-laden fish feed, and decayed salmon carcasses that had drifted out of the pens.

Other problems persist. Piercing acoustic sirens have been installed over salmon pens to keep seals and sea lions away, the noise has caused killer whales to flee the Canadian archipelago. To rid their fish of sea lice, farmers dose them with ivermectin, a potent anti-parasitic known to kill some species of shrimp. Farmed fish contracted antibiotic-resistant stains of furunculous, a fatal disease that produces ugly skin ulcers; wild salmon that migrated past their pens also contacted the disease. Said one Canadian fishing guide, “I’ve been catching salmon up here all my life. I’d never seen a fish with a lesion until the farms came in.”

Glen Neidrauer, a game warden who patrols the archipelago for Canada’s department of Fisheries and Oceans, said,” I can appreciate the values of the jobs, but why would you jeopardize a place so pristine? We’re not just talking fish. All the birds, bears, and sea mammals depend on the wild salmon. I wonder how long you can mess with that until they finally don’t return.”

COMMENTS BY ERVAND PETERSON, PROFESSOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES, SONOMA STATE UNIVERSITY: Human numbers continue to grow exponentially and feeding ourselves is an ever-expanding venture. The oceans today are experiencing impacts never before seen. Evidence of overfishing’s impacts continues to mount. Aquaculture has been the industrialized technology employed to grow and harvest numerous aquatic resources.

For the past 40 years, beginning in Norway, salmon have been farmed in ocean pens. Environmental regulations in Norway have driven many to the Western Hemisphere. Today the inlets of British Columbia are caged off for the farming of salmon – Atlantic salmon to be accurate. Despite promises to contain the fish, an estimated 40,000 to 1 million have escaped and are spawning in streams native salmon use. Other impacts that have been documented show “dead zones” immediately adjacent to the salmon pens. A pen of 200,000 fish produces as much fecal waste as a city of 64,000 people.

We have seen this problem before with land grown livestock. Swine farms are notorious for their environmental impacts. Now we are seeing these impacts from aquaculture in the US and Canada.

UPDATE BY AUTHOR BRUCE BARCOTT: This is merely one answer to the question that will dominate both environmental and consumer reporting in the next decade: What’s in our food?

In the case of farmed salmon, the answer is too many antibiotics and a legacy of polluted marine waters. I came away from the story fairly hopeful, because this is an issue where individual consumers, not bought-off politicians, hold the power. The equation is simple, if strangely counterintuitive: Eat wild salmon to save wild salmon. Because the farmed stuff is junk, through and through.

In early 2002, the Canadian government lifted its 7-year moratorium on expanding British Columbia salmon farms. Multinational corporations could add 10 to 15 new B.C. farm sites every year, effectively doubling the industry’s footprint over the next decade. Chile continues to dump below-market-price farmed salmon into the U.S., driving down worldwide prices and making it nearly impossible for Alaskan wild salmon fishermen, who operate sustainable, well-managed fisheries, to make a living. Meanwhile, Canadian researcher Michael Easton published a study in May 2002 that found elevated levels of PCBs in British Columbia farmed salmon. “Depending on whether you are a child or not,” said Easton, “you would be advised not to eat farmed salmon more than once a week.”

Before you get active on this issue, the best thing you can do is eat the stuff. Try a farmed salmon side-by-side with the real wild thing. You will become well informed with every forkful. Best info, pro and con, starts at Canada’s David Suzuki Foundation ( and the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association websites (

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