Author: Jeff Chatterton
The rapid growth of aquaculture has brought with it increased focus on the industry, by both the media and environmental activists. Widely distributed media stories on the aquaculture industry have alleged loss of native fish species, invasion of non-native species, the use of “harmful” colorants, and dangerous levels of PCBs in farmed salmon.
In FRAMING THE FISH FARMERS: The Impact of Activists on Media and Public Opinion about the Aquaculture Industry, the third paper in AIMS’ How to Farm the Seas series, author Jeff Chatterton examines this media coverage to determine the extent to which these reports reflect reality or are the product of journalists relying too uncritically on advocacy groups for information about aquaculture and its impact.
Mr. Chatterton says that “To achieve long-term business growth in Canada, the aquaculture industry must not allow itself to be a mere target for its adversaries; it must take the initiative by becoming an active and visible source of answers and solutions to legitimate concerns about the industry and its environmental impact.”
He adds, “An important part of that is knowing when and how to respond to critics as problems arise; making industry representatives available to the media on a timely basis; being aware of the nature of the industry’s adversaries; and thinking creatively, not only about how to present the industry favourably but also about how to “counterpunch” against the often spurious agendas of its adversaries.”