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William Shatner slams open-net salmon farming in video from Ryan Reynolds' company


Canadian actor William Shatner has waded into the debate over open-net salmon farming with a profanity-laced video for Pacific Wild.

The video, which was uploaded to the conservation group's YouTube page Thursday, features 93-year-old Shatner reacting to the federal government' decision to extend the licences for salmon farms operating off the B.C. coast for another five years.

"You know, for almost a century I have been a kind, decent Canadian," Shatner says in the ad.

"But when I see what open-net farming is doing to the environment and wildlife, I just can't be Canadian about it any longer."

The legendary "Star Trek" actor then launches into a stream of bleeped-out expletives.

The video was created by Maximum Effort, the production company started by Ryan Reynolds, and also features a cameo from former Vancouver Canuck Kirk McLean.

The B.C. Salmon Farmers Association declined an interview request on the video Thursday, with executive director Brian Kingzett dismissing the clip as "childish and obscene."

"It's rude and insulting to all of the people and First Nations who are so committed to sustainably producing farmed salmon and jobs for Canada," Kingzett told CTV News in an email.

"We will be reporting this irresponsible video," he added.

The federal government previously promised to phase out open-net salmon farms by 2025, leaving some opponents of the practice frustrated when Fisheries Minister Diane Lebouthillier announced the licence extensions on Wednesday.

Critics have argued the farms can spread disease and lice to wild fish, though recent science indicates uncertainty over the risks.

Pacific Wild said the Shatner video is part of a campaign urging the public to sign "the most un-Canadian letter ever written for elected officials" demanding more urgent action. 

"After years of broken government promises, Canadians have had enough. It’s time for leaders to hear Canadians’ voices as raw and real as they are, and to respond with meaningful action now," executive director Karen McAllister said in a statement.

Officials said the extended licences will offer farmers a "responsible, realistic and achievable" grace period to transition to closed-containment or land-based facilities – though the industry has raised concerns that the technology necessary to do so will not be ready in time.

On Wednesday, the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association said five years was an "unrealistic" period for making such a major transition.

"This focus on unproven technology jeopardizes the sector’s ability to fulfill agreements with rights-holder First Nations and will cause further harm to our communities," Kingzett said in a statement responding to the announcement.

With files from The Canadian Press Top Stories

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