Sunday 13 May 2012

Fish Farms Infect Wild BC Salmon, May 13, 2012

Grant Warkentin, info officer for Mainstream Canada, recently wrote a letter to the Times Colonist newspaper. He said it is pure speculation without any scientific evidence that fish farm salmon diseases affect wild salmon, and that on-land, closed-pen fish farms are not technically feasible.

Here is my answer. You will note the references below the rebuttal:

Fish Farm Diseases

The letter to the editor from Grant Warkentin, Mainstream Canada says there is no evidence fish farm viruses are affecting wild salmon and the sockeye from the Fraser River – the Cohen Commission salmon.

I’d say there is lots of evidence. ISA, for instance, is an Atlantic Ocean virus of two strains that became a third and potent salmon killer when Norwegian fish farms developed it. Evidence of ISA – not a Pacific Ocean virus - has been discovered in BC by Kristi Miller, Fred Kibenge and Are Nylund. Miller, for instance, showed that 25% of Clayoquot farmed Chinook salmon have HSMI and ISA – Cohen testimony. Kibenge and Nylund, have found ISA in wild salmon, including salmon from the Fraser River.

Miller has the best equipment and Kibenge and Nylund are the two, and only two, world reference labs for ISA and fish farm diseases. Kibenge says this: Aquatic animal disease is part and parcel of aquaculture. His document [below] says one third to one half of all aquaculture product in the world is lost to recurring disease annually.

The BC fish farm disease tables, Exhibits 1497 to 1507, are on the Cohen record, August 23, 2011. You can read the occurrence of many of the dozens of viral, fungal and bacterial diseases in wild/farmed salmon. The records show 28 million farmed fish have died in the period 2002 to 2010 – from all causes. That’s a lot of dead fish.

‘Evidence’ is not the same word as ‘proof’. And this semantic difference is where fish farms often hang their hat. Proof of ISA comes when 100% of the sample’s genetic code is confirmed as, in this case, east Atlantic (presently about 90%) and when a viral sample is isolated. Miller’s viral signature work in Fraser sockeye shows the evidence of infection, including up to 90% die swimming up-river. Again, more work for ‘proof’.

Another wrinkle is that viral isolates are hard to establish. So there can be over whelming ‘evidence’ of disease in PCR and other tests, but no isolate, which is an OIE requirement. A third wrinkle is that, while not mentioned, DFO uses the Moncton lab under Gagne, to prove things. They have old equipment and December Cohen testimony said that Moncton methods were not good at finding ISA.

And there are those pesky 45 farmed salmon tested recently by Kibenge and Nylund, both finding HSMI in 44 of them. So there is lots of evidence. The remaining question is: were the retailed farmed fish grown in BC? Proof will come when the HSMI virus is coded and compared with Norwegian HSMI. And the public is so concerned we have donated $27,000 for testing wild salmon so far. I will give more: the cash portion of my Art Downs Award for sustained writing about fish farm issues. Cheques to: Pacific Coast Wild Salmon Society or PCWSS, Box 399, Sointula, BC V0N 3E0

Now, the comment that in-ocean, open-net farmed salmon will be necessary for long-term sustainable business in BC. Not really. Some fish farms, like those in BC, like to externalize their costs by using the ocean as a free, open sewer. Others don’t. I have a list of 46 different, mostly-closed, on-land fish farm systems comprising more than 8,052 actual farms around the world on land. So BC farms should be on land. This is like air bags in cars. Car manufacturers said it could not be done. But with a little legislation, all cars now have air bags.

582 Words


2. A current summary of fish farm and wild salmon disease in BC:

3. Cohen Commission hearings schedule:

In a televised interview (April 20, 2012) Dr. Gary Marty, the Provincial farm salmon veterinarian and Cohen Commission witness confirmed he found the virus [HSMI] in 75% of BC farm salmon he tested [in 2010].

5. Fish farms won’t be tested by Miller: Link to Miller Dec 15 Cohen comments that say BC fish farms backed out of having her test farmed salmon for ISA at the last minute.

So how can Mary Ellen Walling claim she is confident that the DFO/Provincial testing has confirmed BC farmed salmon have no ISA?

6. Week 1 Review of Cohen Commission [2011]:
*Disease and mortality data detailing specific sites and companies made publicly available for the first time ever for the years 2002 to 2010 (including 28 million dead farmed salmon and the diseases: Renibacterium salmoninarum Infection, Lepeophtheirus Infection, Vibrio (Listonella) Infection, Piscirickettsia salmonis Infection, Viral Haemorrhagic Septicemia Virus Infection, Aeromonas salmonicida Infection and Myxobacterial Infection)
*Genomic data collected by DFO’s Dr. Kristi Miller indicate that a potentially novel disease, possibly viral in origin “could account for the loss of 27 million salmon” [This means sockeye from the Fraser River].

Back to Clayoquot Sound and this new virus Miller discovered there. When she was invited to test Creative Salmon’s farmed Chinook salmon, Miller came up with two shocking findings: 1. A full 25% of these fish tested positive for ISAv (so there you have it – farmed fish in BC with ISAv, contrary to the claims of the Province’s fish health audit office and industry that after thousands of test over the years, they’re just sure it isn’t in their fish!); 2. A second virus known as piscine rheovirus – the cause of a deadly disease called HSMI (Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation). [this was the real shocker].

8. Miller on ISA in Clayoquot: The direct reference in the Cohen Commission transcripts from Dec 15, 2011 are: Page 112, lines 34 - 47. Line 39: Miller: "It was 25 percent."
9. Miller on HSMI in Clayoquot: The direct reference in the Cohen Commission transcripts from Dec 15, 2011 are: Page 113, lines 6 – 9, Miller: “We did find fish positive for the 8 pasendrial (phonetic) virus, which is thought to be causing HSMI.” Then Are Nylund goes on about how lethal HSMI has been in Norway.

10. Kristi Miller Power Point Presentation on Fraser Sockeye Viral Signature:

11. One Miller table on ISA in Clayoquot Sound farmed salmon:  Download Exh 2053 - 136a. Creative Salmon ISA Test Results.xls (39.5K). See columns AE, AF, AG. 25.53% ISAV. ISAV-P7 confirmed with sequencing.

12. Here is a list of the several dozen diseases that salmon get:

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