Saturday, September 6, 2014

Alaska-made film takes aim at salmon farming



People are starting to take notice of the dangers of fish farming! A Fishy Tale already has 895 views on YouTube as of today! (Sat, 9/6 4:23pm AK time)  Not even a month has gone by since the films release and the film has reached 895 people - 895 people who now understand the threat of open-net salmon farms to Alaska and how environmentally devastating it has been every place open-net fish farms have been placed.

Take 56 minutes and 24 seconds out of your life and learn why you should care about open-net fish farms. Learn why it matters if people eat farmed salmon. This is your chance to help stop the madness. Watch the film and share it with everyone you know.

Plus, listen to the song I wrote and recorded just for A Fishy Tale, "Stir It Up". There are actually a lot of great songs on the film's soundtrack that were written by a great friend Dean Aloise and his band. I could never thank him enough for his contribution to this project. "Sometimes Dreams" is another great tune that plays while I'm picketing in D.C.  Plus - more great music along with this riveting film! How about watch A Fishy Tale right now!

AND, check out this great article about A Fishy Tale from the Bristol Bay Times. Thanks Jill Homer for believing enough in this cause to help me spread the word.

Alaska-made film takes aim at salmon farming, by Jill Homer - Bristol Bay Times

Monday, June 23, 2014

"Let it be known that I raised the warning flag long before fish farms ever came to Alaska."


What a thrill to finally start seeing this dream come to fruition. Word is starting to spread about this important issue of saving our wild salmon! 

Thanks to the Alaska Sporting Journal and Chris Cocoles, my story is in June's edition out in shelves now! Go grab a copy - but if you don't have the magazine where you live, I posted the online story here.

“People may say I’m overstating my case and I’m exaggerating; fine. Let it be, but let it be known that I raised the warning flag long before fish farms ever came to Alaska.” 
 - Sara Pozonsky, The Fight Against Farmed Salmon, Alaska Sporting Journal, June 2014

I often wonder about what makes people get wildly passionate about things. What is it that drives you crazy to the point that you just have to do something about it? What has to happen before you decide to act?  Let me encourage you to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in whatever world you live. Why go to the grave without even trying? Your realm of influence may be small, but it is impossible to tell how huge that influence can be as it spreads among people. Your light shining in the darkness goes much further than you think!  

So what is it that you care about?  Poverty - your garden - local city zoning issues - your local schools - world peace - your kids - social issues?  

Whatever it is, YOU can make a difference. Our world is filled with people who are content to just stand by and complain about everything.  Step out there and create change. Live life with NO regrets. Just go for it and do what you can to make the world a better place.

Why do I care about farmed salmon and it's threat to the last remaining wild salmon populations in the world? Why am I so passionate about this issue? Besides the overwhelming evidence of catastrophic environmental impacts caused by open-net fish farms, I try to explain in A Fishy Tale, why it matters to me and to so many other Alaskans.

This film may get nowhere and maybe it won't cause the change I hoped, but I'll be damned if I sit by and do nothing without even trying. Yes, I'm fighting a huge giant, but what the heck, miracles have happened before with just a small sling and a stone! 


I can't wait for you to see the film - but in the meantime, read the article and get a taste of what this is all about! 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Brazen seafood ecstasy in Homer, AK

I RECENTLY MADE a last minute road trip for dinner with a couple of girlfriends to Homer, AK. This drive is beautiful anytime of the year but on a clear day you can see the spectacular mountain range almost the entire length of the trip. None of us knew which restaurant we were going to for sure, but knew it was perfect timing to hit the jackpot of fresh seafood. It's SPRING in Alaska - ushering in all sorts of fresh seafood goodness to our docks! Alaskans are so blessed to live in a state abundant with fresh fish!
Girlfriends Jenny, Melodie and Me!
We settled on Cafe Cups in Homer. I hadn't been there in years, and frankly, I couldn't remember anything about it. Was it a coffee store? Wasn't sure, but my traveling mates assured me it was yummy. Our determining factor for any restaurant was that it have a full bar and great seafood.  After positive confirmation of Cafe Cups as a great dining destination from a nearby store owner, we pranced in the front door with high hopes of a great dinner. We were SO NOT disappointed.

Starting off the dinner, we decided upon our wine and ordered a steamer pot of fresh seafood. It arrived just how I like it - with glorious amounts of wine, butter and garlic, and every kind of Alaskan seafood crammed in the pot. Crab, clams, mussels, shrimp, halibut, salmon, cod... just everything. It was absolutely luscious.

I was so happy and impressed with the restaurant already I had no idea what could possibly top my joy and lift me to the heavenly realms. I had ordered one of the evening specials - Clams, shrimp and salmon sauteed in mandarin orange-champagne cream, tossed with fettuccine. Oh-My-Word.  It was crazy good and wildly delectable. I cannot tell you how divine that orange champagne CREAM sauce tasted with the seafood! If you've ever seen the movie Chocolat, it was like the scene when they're all silently eating in ecstasy. Yes, that was me. Pure bliss.

But wait, there was more! The other special of the night we shared was fresh caught halibut and cod. A serving of BOTH was included in the dinner with a side of pasta and vegetables. There is nothing like fresh caught seafood. Fresh Alaska halibut and fresh Alaska cod is just out of this world! I love halibut, but I was reminded of the wonderfully moist and buttery flavors of Alaska cod. What a terrific fish for a very affordable cost.  Both fish were exceptionally prepared - not overcooked, done perfectly.

I called down there today to see what was on the special list for dinner tonight. Today - FRESH ROCKFISH and KING SALMON! Oh my goodness, more ecstasy being pulled out of the oceans every day here in Alaska! The great thing about Cafe Cups is their desire to place fresh caught seafood on the menu every night. I love this place. I plan to head there again tomorrow night.

If you get to Homer in the near future, stop by Cafe Cups for dinner! You won't be disappointed. But for all of those out there who can't drive to Homer for dinner, you can always order wild Alaskan seafood from Wild Alaskan Salmon Company at www.SEABEEF.com. You can make your own glorious seafood dishes anytime you want. Our seafood is fresh and coming in every day!

Bon Appetit!
Dinner at Cafe Cups

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The making of a documentary...

Come to find out, SO MUCH MORE, goes into a making of a documentary than I ever dreamed! Having zero experience with movie-making and going on a whim of my friend/young director, it all seemed like a great idea three years ago. There are a few things I didn't consider before agreeing to this project, but mainly what a huge character building experience this would be.

1) I've never part of or witnessed more crazy arguments than with the friends of mine who are working on this film. We are all passionate and dramatic people, with a flare for being stubborn and a know-it-all. What a test to our friendship!  I cannot thank them enough for their ability to stay in there and complete this film. Hopefully, when it's all wrapped up pretty in a nice DVD, they'll be happy we started and finished the project.
Tea at the Empress Hotel, Victoria British Columbia
2) I absolutely HATE asking people for money, and this entire film has been funded by myself and sympathetic people whom I've begged and harassed. I didn't realize when agreeing to this project that I would be the person financially driving and responsible for this film. Some donors are actually interested in the topic of stopping evil open-net fish farms, but most are just kind enough to throw some cash my way to get me off their back. Regardless of why people have donated, I could never thank them enough for their support. It is remarkable that these generous donors believed in me enough to trust me to deliver a documentary worth spending their money on. (I'm still raising money, by the way! You can click here to donate.)

3) I am learning that it's hard for the creative and brilliant people working on this film to stick to deadlines - especially when I keep sending changes AND they're working for just the hope that they will one day get paid.  (hard to understand)  But, the good news is that A Fishy Tale is slowly coming together and there is a building confidence that it will be done very soon. Progress is being made!

4) I have had more sleepless nights than I can count stressing over this project. My poor husband has dealt with every emotion from me  - sobbing, venting, anger, elation, impatience, and depression. I cannot wait until it is over. Neither can he. Neither can my team. We're all going to find the biggest bottle of champagne ever made and toast to surviving it all and making an awesome documentary!
Picketing in Washington D.C. against NOAA
Having said all of that, I can honestly say that I am super proud of A Fishy Tale. What a testament to an underdog fighting the giant! I've flown all over North America getting interviews, picketing, visiting fish farms, speaking at community events, filming fishing communities - anything and everything I can do to help educate the public about the cost of allowing open-net fish farms in America.
Jerry Vantrease and I discussing the importance of wild salmon to Alaska
Someone told me yesterday that they were a supporter of fish farms because it placed less of a demand on wild salmon. I can understand his point, (barely) but we have got to change the way fish farms are currently going about their business. If we truly MUST farm salmon to meet the world demand, we have got to go about farming in an environmentally sound way. We have to insist on closed containment systems. We must be assured the fish are fed a healthy diet. We must demand a change in the poisons and toxins given to the fish to help stop the spread of disease among the fish.

We are a LONG WAY from being able to farm fish responsibly - not even close to doing it in a sustainable way, despite the crazy advertisements we see coming from the fish farm marketing campaigns. As long as they are farming in the ocean and as long as they are feeding fish toxins, we're not only killing our wild salmon and the entire ecosystem surrounding the fish farms, but we are slowly killing ourselves.
Grossing out over the fish farms
A Fishy Tale is my story of taking a stand against the insanity our federal government insists on. The odds of making a change are practically nil.  But I'm not standing quietly by while watching our oceans and our prized wild salmon be destroyed.

You can help my fight by calling your Congressman to help support Alaska Congressman Don Young's Bill HR 574 - To prohibit the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce from authorizing commercial finfish aquaculture operations in the Exclusive Economic Zone except in accordance with a law authorizing such action.

And, of course, you can always donate to the cause and help me finish this film and pay the folks who so desperately need paid!   :)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Please support A Fishy Tale




As you may know, I am making a documentary called, A Fishy Tale, which exposes the dangers of fish farming and the devastation it causes to our oceans and wild salmon. All filming has been completed and we are now in the editing phase. However, a film of this magnitude and level of importance needs the funding to get the attention it deserves.

To this date, we have raised $19,000 but spent $28,000. With that, we have visited Washington D.C. and interviewed two U.S. Congressmen. We flew to British Columbia to interview marine biologist experts and film the fish farms there.  We’ve interviewed Alaska’s own politicians, we’ve been out to Bristol Bay, across the Kenai Peninsula and down to Halibut Cove to interview Alaska fishing experts. We’ve covered it all and told our story, but we need money to finish the final editing and get it distributed.  We need an additional $20,000!

We’ve all heard about the environmental threats of oil, coal & gas companies, but few ever talk about the greatest overlooked environmental threat of our time – FISH FARMS.
There is no place since the beginning of fish farming, that fish farms haven't harmed and destroyed the wild fish stock. FACT: Everywhere there is fish farming, wild fish are rapidly depleting, and in many places - gone.[1]

I’m sure you already know, that in addition to the elimination of our wild fish, our oceans are being destroyed by fish farms. Massive amounts of toxins kill everything that lives below these open net cages. In open net-cage farming, the use of mesh nets means there is no way to prevent waste feed, which are laced with antibiotics and pesticides, and fish feces from passing directly into the ocean.

NOAA, (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the same government agency we trust to protect our oceans, is giving a green light to aquaculture (fish farms) off the Gulf of Mexico and the coastal regions in Alaska are prime locations for salmon farms.  In fact, NOAA recently released a report in December 2013 entitled, Coastal ocean aquaculture can be environmentally sustainable, [2] which basically gives the thumbs up for fish farming in America. NOAA, it seems, has become the fish farmers own public relations firm.


Our Alaska Congressman Don Young has introduced Bill HR 574: Protecting our Oceans, Coastal Communities, and Consumers from Factory Fish Farms.  It is very important this bill gets heard and passed in Washington D.C. but it has only a small chance unless awareness of this issue is brought to the public. Congressman Young clearly states in the film, “NOAA wants to eliminate the fisherman.”

In A Fishy Tale, Clem Tillion, probably our states foremost fish expert, explains how federal waters merge into much of Alaska’s fishing waters and would be devastating to our wild salmon fishery. Alaska does have a ban on fish farming, but the U.S. government can put fish farms in it’s own federal waters, which would likely devastate our wild salmon.

British Columbia residents are currently in the fight of their lives, trying to stave off the increasing amount of fish farms that are surrounding their coasts. The fish farms have devastated their wild salmon fishery. In most places, their wild salmon are gone.  Unfortunately, the Canadian government sees the enormous amount of money fish farming brings to their overall economy and has opted to trade wild salmon, and the livelihoods of the fisherman, for the dependability of farmed salmon.

The United States is following their lead and has set an aggressive goal of increasing aquaculture to 1.1 million metric tons per year of fish in America - The U.S. currently produces from aquaculture 340,000 tons of fish per year.[3]  They want a 70% increase!

NOAA claims a compelling case can be made for growing more seafood in the United States. While the worldwide amount of wild-caught seafood has stayed the same year to year, there is a dramatic increase in the amount raised through aquaculture. The United States is the leading global importer of fish and fishery products, with 91% of our seafood originating abroad – half of which is from aquaculture. Driven by imports, the U.S. seafood trade deficit has grown to over $11.2 billion annually.[4]

“Encouraging and developing the U.S. aquaculture industry will result in economic growth and create jobs at home…Sustainable domestic aquaculture can help us meet the increasing demand for seafood and create jobs in our coastal communities,” [5]  - NOAA

Unfortunately, as we have shown in our film, fish farming does not create jobs, nor does it grow the local economies. It wipes out coastal villages and takes away the livelihood of lifelong fisherman and depletes the prized resources the First Nations people depend on.

An endeavor of this size is impossible without financial support of friends. This message is too important for it not to be heard. I've started a new online fundraising campaign with GoFundMe to help pay the last of the editing fees I need to finish the film. You can donate by clicking the link at the top of this post.

Please give what you can - Even $20 will help make a difference!  Or, if you own a company and are interested in corporate sponsorship, we have great opportunities for you to get involved.  

Thank you!!



[1] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070919225321.htm
[2] http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2013/20131218_aquaculture.html
[3] http://davehakes.com/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/10_year_plan_for_the_noaa_aquaculture_program.pdf
[4] http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/aquaculture/aquaculture_in_us.html
[5] http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20110609_aquaculture.html

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fukushima fears relieved!

Glad to read this following post today - let's hope we can put this fear behind us and trust that our oceans and seafood are safe!  (Click HERE to read the story in it's original form or read it below) Only time will truly tell the impacts caused by Fukushima, but as for now, it seems there is no need to stop buying Wild Alaskan Seafood Woohoo!!    - Sara Pozonsky


Half-Lives And Half-Truths Discovering the truth about five of the most widespread myths of the Fukushima disaster  

By Dan Fumano, The Province

The Japanese earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 is still being discussed three years later, particularly in relation to the catastrophic meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Faced with a lack of available official information on Fukushima and its effects, millions have tried to educate themselves on the Internet. People's Facebook feeds are suddenly awash with alarming news and confusing YouTube videos. Some have even sworn off seafood. Almost three years after the meltdown, there has been a recent tidal wave of Fukushima stories - some true, some half-true and some outright falsehoods. Stories of men with Geiger counters strolling radioactive beaches in California, fearful warnings from respected public figures and toxic fish tales are spreading around the globe like plumes of radiation on the currents of social media. Are you freaked out by Fukushima? Are you not sure what to think? Neither were we, so we went to the people who should know, to separate the science from the science section.
Here are five Fukushima fears you may be wondering about, answered by the experts - including nuclear physicists, oceanographers, marine biologists, a public health expert, an internationally renowned energy analyst and a couple of sushi chefs.

1.THE MAP OF DOOM
You may have seen this arresting image online. You may have even shared it on Facebook.
Wave map
This map, supposedly showing radiation spreading across the ocean from Japan, was one of the most widespread pieces of Fukushima (mis) information — it was also one of the easiest myths to debunk. We just went to the source.
The map was produced by the U.S. government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and spokeswoman Keeley Belva confirmed the map doesn't show the spread of radiation.
According to their website: "This image was created by NOAA's Center for Tsunami Research and graphically shows maximum wave heights of the tsunami generated by the Japan earthquake on March 11, 2011.
"It does not represent levels of radiation from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant." The map has become "an oceanographer's in-joke," according to Robin Brown, manager of ocean services for Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Two months ago, Brown gave a seminar to 40 oceanographers and showed a slide of the infamous NOAA map with the headline, "West Coast Fried by Radiation." The room burst out laughing, Brown said, but their chuckles were "tinged with a bit of sadness."
"I felt so sorry for NOAA," he said. "It's a bit of a cautionary tale about how your good work could possibly show up in a place you didn't expect."
The bottom line: Yes, it's a real map, but it doesn't show radiation.

2. IS IT SAFE TO EAT THE SUSHI?
If Vancouverites start talking about avoiding sushi, there must be something dramatic going on.
"I do get a lot of questions from customers," said Keith Allison, chef and manager of Sea Monstr Sushi in Gastown.
"On Monday, I had a customer saying, 'How's it been? How's that Fukushima thing going?'" Allison, who was born in Hokkaido, Japan, and raised in Vancouver, said he's noticed the rumours picking up recently, and when business slowed down in recent months, he wondered if Fukushima concerns could be a factor. Business is still OK, Allison said, but he's selling more vegetarian items and less seafood, even though most of the fish he uses is from B.C., not Japan.
Local scientific testing of seafood is being done. A team of scientists from Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association tested 70 pounds of tuna caught off the U.S. West Coast and found trace amounts of Fukushima radiation, but "nowhere near enough to be concerned about food safety."
The OSU's Delvan Neville, a coinvestigator on the project, said: "To increase their normal annual dosage of radiation by just one per cent, a person would have to eat more than 4,000 pounds of the highest (radiation)-level albacore we've seen."
Dr. Erica Frank, a public health expert at the University of B.C., has heard the fears around seafood and wishes the Canadian government would do a better job communicating with the public.
"My assessment is that right now, public alarm is greater than actual public health risk," she said, adding that she has been trying to get food-testing data from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for more than a year.
The CFIA conducted special tests in 2011 and '12 for radioactive material in domestically caught seafood. All those results, which are available on the CFIA website, were well below action limits, according to the CFIA.
The bottom line: There is no discernible Fukushima-related risk in eating seafood, especially if it's locally caught. If you want to be extra cautious, avoid fish from Japan.

3. WHAT DID SUZUKI SAY?
One of the most dire and widely shared Fukushima warnings came in October from one of Vancouver's favourite scientific sons.
Dr. David Suzuki, speaking at the University of Alberta, said: "I have seen a paper which says that if, in fact, the fourth (nuclear) plant goes under in an earthquake and those (fuel) rods are exposed, it's bye-bye Japan and everybody on the West Coast of North America should evacuate," he said. "If that isn't terrifying, I don't know what is."
Suzuki's statements made waves. "David Suzuki's Fukushima Warning is Dire and Scary," read the Huffington Post headline.
The David Suzuki Foundation says the paper Suzuki cited was the 2013 World Nuclear Industry Status Report, a 140-page paper written by an international group of scientists who concluded that "the worst-case scenario" if the fuel pool of Fukushima's Unit 4 collapses again, is it could require "evacuation of up to 10 million people in a 250-kilometre radius of Fukushima." It's a frightening warning, but there's no mention of evacuating the West Coast. The Province reached out to the respected lead author of that report, France-based nuclear energy analyst Mycle Schneider.
"I'm indeed a little confused about David's statement," said Schneider. "To be very clear, I have never seen any credible source for a scenario implying the evacuation of the West Coast of North America. In fact, much of the attitude of people on the West Coast - like no more swimming in the ocean - seems utterly disconnected from reality. "I'm really, really shocked about the way it's being discussed in Canada. It's just totally insane."
Suzuki replied to The Province by email when asked to clarify his comments, saying his October statement was "an off-the-cuff response."
He said he knew his speech was being recorded, but didn't know it would end up on the Internet.
"I regret having said it, although my sense of potential widespread disaster remains and the need for an urgent international response to dealing with the spent rods at Fukushima also remains," Suzuki said.
The bottom line: According to nuclear physicists, there's never been a warning about evacuating the West Coast.

4. UNEXPLAINED OCEAN PHENOMENA
When sea stars (starfish) were found to be dying off in massive numbers off the B.C. coast, fingers were quickly pointed at Fukushima as the cause.
"Crazy talk," said Dr. Chris Mah, a sea-star expert and researcher at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Mah first broke the story of B.C.'s mass sunflower sea-star die-off in September 2013.
He said it's not clear what's causing the "starfish-wasting syndrome," but he listed several facts that make a direct relationship to Fukushima seem extremely unlikely, including the most compelling argument: starfish-wasting syndrome was recorded in B.C. three years before the Fukushima disaster. But it's not only sea stars. People have tried to link Japanese radiation to depleted salmon stocks, deformed whales and even a spike in miscarriages in the Pacific Northwest.
Robin Brown, a Sidney-based DFO oceanographer, is familiar with people's desire to explain surprising new phenomena.
"It's a very human thing to do. We see something unusual, and we try and match it up with something else unusual that happened at the same time," Brown said.
The bottom line: It may be our nature to want to explain the unexplainable by connecting events — but that's not how science works.

5. ARE OUR BEACHES FRIED BY RADIATION?
A YouTube clip made the rounds last month in which an unidentified man claims to find "shocking" levels of radiation on a California beach using a hand-held geiger counter.
The clip has now racked up more than 700,000 views, and caught the attention of the California Department of Public Health.
In January, DPH inspectors visited the same area.
The radiation levels found were close to those shown in the video, said California DPH spokeswoman Wendy Hopkins, but added those radiation levels are "due to naturally occurring materials and not radioactivity associated with the Fukushima incident."
Dr. Krzysztof Starosta, a nuclear scientist and associate professor at Simon Fraser University, explained that a geiger counter just doesn't work that way.
"What they've seen is natural radioactivity," said Starosta. "There's no way the geiger counter on the West Coast could detect anything remotely related to Fukushima." The DFO regularly tests sea water off of our coast, sending a vessel off Vancouver Island's western coast three times a year with scientists looking for isotopes of cesium-134.
"The important thing about cesium-134 is that you can be certain that it came from Fukushima," said Brown. "Because all other sources of cesium-134, primarily from weapons testing and Chernobyl, will all have decayed."
In June 2011, three months after the meltdown, no traces of cesium-134 were found. The following year, trace amounts were detected, but only at the westernmost testing point - 1,500 km west of Vancouver Island.
By June 2013, the Fukushima radiation was detected closer to the B.C. coast, but still well below the limits of human concern.
The bottom line: Measurable amounts of isotopes from Fukushima have travelled across the Pacific. But you will receive a more substantial dose of radiation during an airplane flight - from normal cosmic radiation — than swimming off the coast of Tofino.

dfumano@theprovince.com

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