#ProtectWildSalmon Art Workshop Recap


Art & Activism Series

CAGJ’s Art & Activism speaker and workshop series explores the connection between art and movements for social change. Through five guest-artist presentations and two art-making workshops, we inspire creativity, build relationships, and rouse the artist-activist in all of us. Learn more here. 



Last Saturday, we met at the CAGJ office for our second “Art & Activism” workshop. Many new folks from different organizations joined, all gathering to #protectwildsalmon. Block Corporate Salmon organizer Sai Ahmed opened the workshop with a lesson on industrial aquaculture. 

Julie Searle, poet, educator, and organizer, facilitated a beautiful poetry-writing workshop with prompts like: “What questions do you want to ask a salmon?” and “How do you know a salmon is a salmon?” 

David Solnit, anti-war and climate artivist, taught us how to paper-cut screen print. We created a school of cardboard salmon to be used in future actions, using paper-cut printing and painting. We transcribed our poetry on the salmon: “resilient”; “rep BCS”; “salmon people”. 

The group made signs with David and Morgan Brown’s salmon art. For these, we used photo-emulsion screen-printing. Morgan arrived at a magical moment, right when we were about to start screen-printing their design! Check out more of Morgan Brown’s art in Our Food, Our Right. Morgan Brown is a Queer Indigenous Tsimshian Ukrainian Mother and Native Plants First Foods Advocate and Educator. They also facilitated May’s Art & Activism meeting, which you can watch here.  

The Issue 

We’re excited to use our art in future actions responding to the  privatization of the ocean via the AQUAA Act, and GMO salmon. GMO salmon was the first genetically engineered food animal, approved by the FDA in 2015. Currently, AquaBounty Technologies is growing GMO salmon in two land-based facilities. The product is being distributed for certain in Canada and may be circulating in the U.S. food market. In 2022, BCS released a whistleblower report exposing consumer and worker safety violations in AquaBounty’s Indiana factory. Additionally, a federal court found the initial FDA approval of GMO salmon to be unlawful. The court ordered the FDA to completely rewrite its Environmental Assessment, whose review was published for public comment in winter of 2023. 

Despite evidence that AquaBounty’s production of GMO salmon is unlawful and creates unsafe working conditions AquaBounty is rushing permits to build a new facility in Ohio. In addition to monopolizing local economies for corporate profit, AquaBounty’s GMO salmon sets a precedent for future GMO animal production. Since the initial approval of GMO salmon, the FDA has already greenlighted GMO pigs and cows. This precedent is dangerous, considering the unknown effects of GMO salmon on human health and potential transgenic pollution in the event of escape from the facility.

GMO salmon breeding and competing with wild salmon would decimate our already dwindling wild salmon populations. Wild salmon are not only a keystone species, but have been stewarded by Indigenous people since time immemorial. Salmon are a sacred animal, providing a critical food source and cultural meaning. 

Block Corporate Salmon summarizes: “Ultimately, GE fish made in a lab is an unacceptable affront to Indigenous knowledge and sovereignty and forces society to take part in a human experiment.”

How can you support the movement to protect wild salmon? 



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