William Shatner has become an unlikely ally to British Columbia's wild salmon population by helping support a new bill that would require the Pacific salmon-farming industry move its operations out of coastal waters and into closed containment.

The move is seen as a preventative measure against sea lice, which have been blamed for the decline of the species in the wild.

Shatner spoke via phone for five minutes at a news conference organized by Canada's New Democratic Party, sponsors of the new bill.

“Salmon feed and nurture not only the animals that are on the land but the sea as well, and the plants and trees and shrubbery," he said. "The fauna and the flora of the British Columbia river shores and rivers are nurtured by the salmon. Without the salmon, they die. And when they die, [there is] a huge dent in the tapestry of nature in that area. It is a basic species that must be saved.”

Ironically, Shatner has yet to actually read the actual bill being introduced.

“But my opinion is that anybody who is trying to do something about as basic a species as salmon must be listened to,” he said. “And if something positive can come from Mr. Donnelly’s bill, I urge everybody within hearing to help with it.”

The 79-year-old first became aware of the plight facing Pacific salmon while shooting an episode of his Emmy award-winning series "Boston Legal". The episode, shot on the northern part of Vancouver Island, featured the problem of sea lice on salmon stocks, and Shatner said he was educated about the fish.

"As a father and a grandfather, (it's my) wish that my offspring live to see the same things I did, the wildlife and the wilderness," he added.

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