Sunday, 29 December 2013

Most Stringent FIsh Farm Laws in the World, Dec 29, 2013

One of the claims that fish farms like to make is that the country they operate in has the most stringent environmental laws in the world regarding aquaculture. It is typical for these claims to be made in many different countries at the same time, hence, the claim is not true as the laws of every country are different.

For example, the claim has been made in Chile, Scotland, Norway and Canada at the same time in the past year. If you follow fish farm news, Chile is acknowledged as one of the most unsanitary fish farm areas in the world and as recently noted in December 2013 posts on this site, the annual escapes are typically 1 million fish, with a max of 4.4 million fish per year. This includes pristine water in Patagonia. Very sad.

And Chile still has not been able to go free of the ISA that caused a $2 Billion loss in 2008, even though their method of dealing with the problem goes to lengths to downplay that the disease is present in one farm or another, or many. If you follow or you will find such articles regularly. Here is one for Dec 2013:

Read the article: CHILE 

Wednesday, December 04, 2013, 23:00 (GMT + 9)

The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) preemptively restricted the activity on a salmon centre of Macrozone 6, where positivity to the infectious salmon anemia (ISA) virus was detected.
Under the risk-based monitoring sanitary survey periodically performed by the authority, ISA presence was found in a cage belonging to the centre Arbolito, located in the ACS 18B, in the north of the Aysen region, near Melinka.
This centre belongs to the firm Southern Cross Seafood.

Given what is indicated in the ISA Monitoring and Control Programme, the centre was classified as being "undeterminably confirmed," pending sequencing. These data will be released within the next 72 hours.
Meanwhile, Sernapesca is conducting surveillance inspections in the affected centre and in the area.

After the 2007 crisis caused by ISA spread in several farms in the country, Sernapesca developed a contingency protocol in four main stages: early detection, outbreak containment, bio-safe harvesting and effective communication to all stakeholders, who are both internal and external to the industry.

From the industry they explain that the ISA virus can not be eradicated, "but it can be handled." And they make it clear that this case is not dangerous, as the farming centre is small: it only has about 180,000 fish, while an average centre currently has about 900,000 fish, Diario Financiero reported.

Related article:

Here is a claim I found for Dec 23, 2013 for the USA, saying it has one of the most stringent laws - commonly the claim is 'the best in the world' etc.: 

Not all aquaculture is created equal, but aquaculture in the United States operates within one of the most comprehensive regulatory environments in the world. Projects that are sited in US waters must meet a suite of federal, state, and local regulations that ensure environmental protection, water quality, food safety, and protection of public health.

This is fish farm communication's spin.

Sea Lice Kill 34% of Wild Salmon Smolts - Ireland, Updated Dec 29, 2013

Cermaq Mainstream lost 15% of its farmed fish to lice in Chile in the last year. In Norway, the annual sea lice loss is pegged at $170 Million in farmed salmon, and $30 M in Scotland. Here in BC, the same companies are still fighting the notion that lice kill wild Pacific salmon fry.

Here is a 2013 paper that show that sea lice kill 34% of wild Atlantic Salmon smolts in Ireland: 

The new paper demonstrates that the impact of sea lice on wild salmon causes a much higher loss (34%) of those returning to rivers in the west of Ireland, than the 1% loss suggested heretofore in the Jackson paper. The new study entitled “Comment on Jackson et al. "Impact of Lepeophtheirus salmonis infestations on migrating Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., smolts at eight locations in Ireland with an analysis of lice-induced marine mortality" is published by Krkošek, et al. (2013) in The Journal of Fish Diseases. It points out fundamental methodological errors made by Jackson et al. (2013). Following a re-analysis of the same data, it shows that it incorrectly concluded that sea lice play a minor, perhaps even negligible, role in salmon survival and that this finding emerged following three fundamental methodological errors.

This new paper conducts  a re-analysis of the data with the findings departing substantially from those reported and interpreted by Jackson et al. (2013), and in previous publications that drew on some of the same data (Jackson, et al. 2011a;  2011b).  Whereas Jackson et al. 2013 assert that sea lice cause 1% of mortality in Atlantic salmon, the correct estimate is actually a one third loss (34%) of overall returned stocks.

The new paper gives the example that if, in the absence of parasites, final adult salmon recruitment is 6% of smolt production, then the effect of parasite mortality reduces that recruitment to 4%.  According to interpretations used by Jackson et al. (2013), that is a change of 2%.  However, the overall effect is that it reduces the abundance of adult salmon returning to a river from, say, 6,000 down to 4,000; this 1/3 loss of salmon returns could have significant conservation or fishery implications. Krkošek, et al. 2013 emphasise that their purpose is not to downplay factors other than parasites that may also have a large influence on marine survival of Atlantic salmon. They do however highlight that parasites can and, in this case, clearly do have a large effect on fisheries recruitment, irrespective of apparent changes in overall marine mortality over time, and with important implications for the management and conservation of wild salmon stocks.

Chile: Millions of Escaped Farmed Salmon, Updated Dec 29, 2013

This post documents the high number of escaped fish from fish farms in Chile. The same Norwegian companies that operate in BC operate in Chile. Cermaq Mainstream, for example, lost 15% of its stock to lice in Chile in the last year. In Norway, the sea lice loss is pegged at $170 Million and $30 Million in Scotland. Here in BC, the same companies are still fighting the notion that lice kill salmon fry.

Now the escaped fish of Chile:

ABSTRACT: The exponential growth of the salmonid farming industry during the last 3 decades has created conditions for massive escapes of these exotic species into natural environments in southern Chile. Here, we review and update information about salmonid escapes from 1993 to 2012 and examine their potential environmental, social, and economic consequences. We estimate that more than 1 million salmonids escape each year from marine farms, mainly due to weather conditions and technical and operational failures of net-pens. While a decrease in the magnitude of escaped Atlantic and coho salmon has occurred during the last several years, escaped rainbow trout have not followed the same pattern. Rainbow trout have become a greater threat to native ecosystems due to their greater potential to establish self-sustaining naturalized populations. The main ecological effects of escapees are related to short-term predatory effects upon native fish, long-term effects linked to the likelihood of farmed salmon establishing self-sustainable populations, and disease and pathogen transfer to native fauna. More research is needed to identify and develop reliable indicators to estimate the impact of escapees at the ecosystem level in both marine and freshwater systems. An understanding of the mechanisms of coexistence between native fishes and introduced non-native salmonids may be useful to design effective management strategies aimed at protecting native fish from salmonid introductions. A precautionary approach that encourages local artisanal and recreational fisheries to counteract colonization and naturalization of salmon species in southern Chile may constitute another management option.  

Further down, from the same article:

The infectious salmon anemia virus has also been documented in salmon farms in Norway, Canada, Scotland, the USA, and recently in Chile, causing enormous damage to the industry and the local and national economy (Niklitschek et al. 2013). In Chile, the potential transmission of diseases from farmed salmonids to other taxa such as marine birds and mammals is yet unknown. However, preliminary evidence of skin lesions in dolphins has suggested a potential link to the salmonid aquaculture industry (S. Heinrich pers. comm.).

This is the first suggestion I have read that begins to document that some fish farm diseases are being passed to warm blooded animals, something that one would not expect because changing hosts of different temperature typically kills the infection; however, you will note the reference.

The graphs on production of farmed fish are good in this document from the main areas in the world. Unfortunately, Pacific and Atlantic production in Canada are lumped together, when they are 5,000 miles apart in different oceans and should not be conjoined.

In addition, look at the high concentration of farms in Chile and compare this with the 130 licences in BC.

From the Niklitschek article:

Chile is the second largest producer of farmed salmon in the world. After reaching a peak harvest of 631 000 tonnes in 2008, a severe sanitary and production crisis triggered a major legal and operational reorganization, and an imminent expansion of the industry into the Ayse´n Fjords System (AFS). This expansion has caused increasing national and international concern about its potential negative impact upon this pristine area, which holds a mosaic of unique ecosystems and three World Biosphere Reserves. This paper reviews and provides some upper bounds to potential impacts under two feasible production scenarios. It is concluded that severe but highly localized mid-term damage to the sea-floor bottom may affect up to 6200 ha. Although this surface area represents only 0.5% of the AFS, the high heterogeneity and limited scientific knowledge of local ecosystems increase the risks of damaging sensitive habitats, communities or populations. While additional inputs of up to 60 000 t of nitrogen and 8000 t of phosphorus can be predicted, the estimation of carrying capacities is a pendant and urgent task to be accomplished in this area. If current escape rates are not reduced, the average number of escaped salmon may exceed 4.4 million individuals each year, able to consume up to 6600 t of pelagic prey from local ecosystems. We recommend following a strict precautionary approach, not granting new farming leases until sufficient information about the risk and magnitude of these impacts is obtained and transformed into effective management actions. Key words: aquaculture, Chile, environmental impact, farming, Patagonia, salmon.

DC: In other words, the fish farm companies are trashing these world class pristine wilderness areas in Patagonia as they do in all of the areas they set up shop promising jobs and revenue. In Chile, during the ISA crisis in 2008, some 13,000 to 26,000 indigenous people lost their jobs.

In BC, after 30 years, the actual fish farm employment is only 795 jobs and GDP contribution is a very small $61.9 Million. They put out more sewage than the entire population of humans in BC. I will document this figure in a future post.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Harper Government Dismantling Canadian Government Science Resources, Updated Dec 26, 2013

This Tyee article is a very good summary document of many of the actions taken by the Harper Government (as Harper likes to call it) to dismantle our federal government science capability that Canadians have paid and continue to pay for:

It starts with the issue of closing the science library in Winnipeg, and then goes on to list toward the bottom many of the other steps the Harper Government has taken in the past year or so. Such items include gutting the Fisheries Act of environmental clauses, doing the same to the Environmental Protection Act. firing scientists and other actions.

If you look back in these posts, the Royal Society put out a stinging indictment of the government's lack of action on our three coast oceans in 2012:

Friday, 20 December 2013

Key Document: Cohen Commission Website, Updated Dec 20, 2013

You can find the Cohen Commission Website at:

DFO sent the address on my request, after I found no document on their site about having archived the site.

Cohen has been stored on Archives Canada website. Do use the URL as I spent a long time on the site looking for the website and found only scattered documents, perhaps 1% of the Cohen documents.

Here, from Feb 7, 2012 is an example of the documents regarding the deficiencies of ISA testing regs:

A Critique on Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus Detection Capabilities of the Canadian Fish Health Protection Regulations S.A. Goldes, MSc. 2011


Atlantic salmon eyed eggs have been imported almost yearly into British Columbia during the period 1985 until 2010 from a number of countries including the USA, UK , Iceland and also from Atlantic Canada (BC Atlantic Imports). Source aquaculture facilities, except for more recent imports from Iceland (where the definition of lot was not achieved, however the rest of the procedures were the same) were certified free of specified piscine pathogens of concern according to testing protocols mandated in the Canadian Fish Health Protection Regulations (CFHPR). Immediately prior to shipment, eyed eggs were disinfected according to the CFHPR iodophor disinfection protocol. Certification and iodine egg disinfection together are the pillar’s of Canada’s defense against the introduction of exotic piscine diseases such as Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA). In order to protect British Columbia’s wild aquatic ecosystems and aquaculture industries these measures must provide a high level of security. Close scientific examination of these regulatory measures however raises concerns that in‐practice, these measures fail to provide the high level of protection required. This discussion focuses on issues with (1) ISA detection using cell culture, (2) sample size, and (3) iodine surface disinfection, however there remain many other weaknesses.



Here is the first paragraph of the article. Pretty damning stuff:


Infectious salmon anemia was first reported in Norway in 1984 (Plarre et al., 2005), coincidentally one year prior to the first importation of Atlantic salmon eyed eggs into BC from Scotland in 1985. Atlantic salmon eyed eggs were imported into BC almost yearly from the UK from 1985 to 1993, despite the fact that Norwegian ISAV epizootics were ongoing and also with the knowledge that detecting ISAV by cell culture was not possible (Mjaaland et al., 1997). Thus during the early years of Atlantic salmon imports (1985 to 1995) the Canadian government understood that the CFHPR protocols were incapable of detecting ISAV. At that time it was naively thought that ISA was limited to Norway alone and that Scotland was sufficiently distant. Later this assumption was proven erroneous, because shortly after ISAV cell culture became possible in 1995 (Dannevig et al., 1995a; Dannevig et al., 2 1995b), ISAV was detected in: New Brunswick in 1997 (Mullins et al., 1998), Scotland in 1998 (Rodger et al., 1998) and Maine, USA in 2001 (Bouchard et al., 2001), as well as several other countries. It is also worth mentioning,
that despite the devastation ISA has caused aquaculture elsewhere, ISA is still not listed in the current CFHPR as a pathogen of concern. The CFHPR specifies that the...

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

DFO Aquaculture Licencing - Posted December 18, 2013

While DFO has yet to respond to the Cohen Report, and took the site down (it's location is next to impossible to find, now) it is moving ahead on licencing regulations for in-ocean fish farm licencing. Cohen said the responsibility for fish farms should be lifted from DFO and DFO should get on with protecting wild salmon in BC. This regulation work was very poorly advertised for those of us who would respond. Here is what I said. You might like to email DFO yourself:

Dear DFO:

BC residents overwhelmingly want fish farms out of our pristine ocean and on land.

You should be transitioning these old-tech dinosaurs to on-land, closed, recirculating systems. We don’t want them fouling our pristine ocean anymore. You need to pay attention to this as the only way forward for these multi-billion dollar Norwegian derivative companies is to: get out of the water, or go back to Norway. The issue is how soon you make a change.

The most recent symposium on closed containment was in Virginia this past September, 2013. Tides Canada maintains a link to the plus fifty presentations. They are even doing closed containment science in Norway for Pete’s sake:

For my list of 65 different on-land fish farm systems, comprising more than 8,100 actual on-land fish farms around the world see:

You need to get on the right side of this issue and eliminate fish farms from BC water. There are about 100 Million wild salmon in BC in a good year - this is not Atlantic Canada where there may be perhaps 2 Million wild Atlantics. Famed salmon have never been placed in waters with Pacific salmon before. I would guess that from California all the way around to Korea, the total is 1 Billion. You are placing all of these wild salmon at risk from fish farm diseases – 10 species of salmonids.

You should close the industry. Your own science person Kristi Miller showed in Cohen evidentiary hearings that Clayoquot Sound farmed chinook had 25% rates of both ISA and HSMI. That is more than 100,000 diseased farmed salmon per farm. There are only 501 wild chinook left in Clayoquot Sound – this is your own number – and the Kennedy Lake sockeye run collapsed more than 20 years ago.

You need to get fish farms out of the water. This small licencing fee of $1 Mil revenue is very small potatoes compared with what we in BC lose to your intransigence, and that Cohen told you to stop doing. By the way, where is your response to the Cohen Report more than one year later, when he said you should not be supporting farmed salmon anymore and should concentrate solely on wild salmon?

DC Reid

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Mainstream – Slaughtered fish Money, Clayoquot Sound – Updated Dec 7, 2013

In response to Grant Wartkentin’s post about taxpayer-funded slaughter payments to Cermaq Mainsream for its Clayoquot Sound fish that had IHN, here are some quoted segments of his post: 

If Reid had done a 30 second Google search for "Cermaq financial statements," he would have found the actual amount of compensation we received in the public Cermaq quarterly financial reports, particularly for Q4 2012

The number you are looking for is on page 7 where it states:"Mainstream Canada received a compensation of NOK 15.4 million following the mandatory culling of the Millar site due to an IHN outbreak in July 2012."
That's roughly $2.8 million CAD, a far cry from Reid's imaginary number of $35 million. The market value of the fish which were culled, if they had grown to harvest, would have been at least 10 times that amount. 
Hopefully Reid will correct his mistakes, since his whole premise, and his numbers, are completely fabricated nonsense. 
In response: yes, it has been a long time since I have accepted anything a fish farm says without doing independent research. I lost belief in fish farms when they neutralized a Jan 9, 2004 Science article showing that farmed fish had high levels of PCB’s, cancer causing chemicals and persistent organic pollutants (1). The post on this read like a Hollywood movie script (2,3,4).  The same Albany university group has been publishing on the chemicals in farmed fish in the years following their Science 2004 article, and Norwegian scientists have also published on this in 2013 (5).

My investigations should result in the actual dollar figures paid for slaughtered farm fish all across Canada, but an estimate is the best that can be done now because fish farms are not transparent. I researched the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and other sources to come up with what seems a reasonable approach – you can see it in the last post. So, until I have independent verification of the amount, my $35 Million estimate stands for now – I have noted Wartkentin’s claim of $2.8 Million. Should it or another figure prove to be the more likely than my current estimate, I will amend my figure.

Let me give you an example of non-transparency. A year ago, my research into fish feed showed that some companies were using chicken and other land animal faeces in fish feeds. I checked on Cermaq/Mainstream’s fish feed company EWOS and found that among other things, they were using, as they put it, feather meal. This means chicken feathers. So if you eat a farmed fish, you could be eating chicken feathers. These have been shown to contain multiple chemicals in them, for example, fluoroquinolines. I would not eat a farmed salmon.

I sent a note to EWOS asking them if they used chicken faeces and/or animal faeces in their fish feeds. I did not receive a response. I asked six times, and received no response. If I had been EWOS I would have wanted to be sure no one in the world thought I was using faeces in EWOS feed. So it is still not clear whether chicken faeces or other animal faeces are in EWOS feeds.

One other thing, Mainstream actually had IHN virus at three Clayoquot fish farms: Millar, Dixon and Bawden. Wartkentin does not mention this. And Grieg had IHN at Culloden in the Sechelt. In 2001 to 2003, 36 fish farms in BC had IHN, killing some 12,000,0000 farmed fish. Were these compensated for at today’s figure of $30 per fish this would mean $360 Million. Canadian taxpayers don’t want their tax money going to foreign multi-billion dollar corporations. In this case the company is owned, currently, 59.2% by the Norwegian government and the people of Norway.

The final thing I would add is that the tone of Wartkentin’s notes is not professional. If I were Mainstream/Cermaq I would not let him speak this way, or I would let him go.

1.       Science, Jan 9, 2004. This is the article that fish farms neutralized: This Albany (Hites et al) group has gone on to author many reports on chemicals in farmed fish in the years since 2004, including chemicals that cause cancer.

2.       This is the link to the article David Miller wrote on about the fish farms. It details a story that doesn’t seem real, one that would make a Holllywood script. After reading this, you will probably come to the same conclusion that I did:  I never believe anything a fish farm company says unless can independently verify the claim:

5.    See the table Norwegian scientists referred to in October 2013, on chemicals in farmed salmon. The chemicals in farmed salmon are about a factor of 10 times all other commonly consumed meats. The table can be found here:



Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Fish Farm Companies Make Taxpayer Money from Diseased Fish - Updated Nov 25, 2013

The article by me was first published by the Common Sense Canadian a week ago. It was responded to by Grant Wartkentin who works for Mainstream. His response is on their website. I stand by what I have said, and do not agree with his assessment of what the fish-site post says about Mainstream losing money when they had disease. As the supply of fish went down, prices rose in the US, but in BC fish farms, their sales to the USA will go down because their parent company, Cermaq Mainstream and the other Norwegian firms had a 26% tariff rescinded to the US market, and now the parent companies of BC fish farms will be out-competing their own corporations in BC.

Please note that Wartkentin did not object to my estimate that Mainstream received $35 Million of taxpayer dollars from the CFIA for their slaughtered, diseased fish. This leads me to suspect that they received even more than my $35 M estimate.

Fish Farms Get Rich on Our Money

You might think the multi-billion dollar fish farm industry was a licence to print money. You’d be almost right, but not for the reason you might think. Marine Harvest, Cermaq Mainstream and Grieg Seafood comprise 90% of BC’s farmed salmon industry and Marine Harvest operates in 22 countries. What you don’t know is that taxpayers, meaning you and me, pay big money to them when their fish get diseases and have to be slaughtered.

Once the Canadian Food Inspection Agency detects a reportable disease, it issues a slaughter order and the fish are destroyed. Then the CFIA sends a very large cheque to the fish farm. This taxpayer cheque compensates them for disposable items like infected nets, cost of transport and offloading, cost of sequestering diseased carcasses in perpetuity, and disinfecting all other items that came in contact with the fish, including the boat that transported them. In addition to all this, the commonly accepted extra payment for each fish is up to $30. This figure really comprises an average payment because of all the other costs mentioned.

You’d think they would have insurance for losses, but my conversations with a marine insurer tells me they have difficulty getting insurance because they lose so many ‘crops’ to – wait for it – disease. So why are we, the Canadian taxpayers, paying these foreign, multi-billion dollar corporations?
Fish farms like to say their fish get diseases from wild salmon because the latter don’t get sick, as if that’s a justification for cash. Not so. A recent PHD dissertation from Norway showed that the problem with farmed fish is that they are stressed (1) – the cages are overcrowded. This results in high output of the stress hormone cortisol and that weakens immune systems in farmed fish, thus they get disease. They actually change benign viruses into infectious killers.

How much product is lost to disease? One third to one half of all aquaculture products in the world are lost to disease every year, some $35 - $49 Billion (2). I started a Freedom of Information request to the CFIA and DFO to find out just how much we taxpayers in Canada pay to these billion dollar foreign corporations. I have been waiting 10 months now with no answer, so, let me give you a reasonable estimate.  

Overall, my expectation is that the cross-Canada disease total will come in at several hundred million taxpayer dollars over the past decade for BC, NS, NB and recently NL. Here in BC, Cermaq Mainstream’s Dixon Point and Millar Channel 2012 IHN slaughters would have paid them, in my estimate, about $35 Million of our cash. That’s so much money that it moved this boom/bust business into positive earnings before interest and taxes (i.e., EBIT), when it lost money the year before – and only made money this year because of having  disease.(3). They’ve had a decade of problems before (4).
See, November 8, 2013:

Mainstream Canada reported an EBIT pre fair value and non-recurring items of NOK 43 million, an improvement from a loss of NOK 26 million the previous year, even though volumes sold declined from 5,600 tons to 4,400 tons. EBIT per kilo was 9.6 NOK. Good prices in the North American market and the IHN outbreak last year are the main factors behind the improved result. (5).
So Mainstream lost money when they didn’t have disease and made money when they did have disease – because you and I paid them. And they shipped far less fish, oh and a third farm, Bawden Point (8), posted a weak positive for IHN – but they were quickly harvested and sent to humans to eat. This should not be the case. Do complain, as I did, to Gail Shea, Minister of DFO,
On another aquaculture front, you may be even more unhappy to know Shea announced $400 Million in gifts to the aquaculture sector in Canada last week(6).  That’s a lot of dead, diseased fish. I have asked her for $400 million be given to the commercial, sport and processing sectors in BC that provide 600% more in contribution to gross provincial product than fish farms. I’ll let you know.
And fish farms in BC have been losing money. Mainstream lost money in 2012(4). Marine Harvest has lost money in the last few years, too, largely due to Kudoa a fungal disease that cost them $12,000,000 in 2012 – and just prior, in 2011, things were so bad they laid off 60 employees – right before Christmas. Nice guys.
Kudoa results in myoliquifaction that makes farmed fish into mush. Would you buy salmon you had to put in a container with a spoon? Oh and then there is Grieg. They got IHN too, last year, in their Cullodon site in Sechelt. Fortunately we did not have to pay for that as well. Grieg is also the company that had to pay a fine of $100,000 for drowning 65 - 75 sea lions in their Skuna Bay nets in 2010 - they tarted up that site to sell to the unsuspecting in the USA as environmentally-sustainable, organic farmed salmon. Where is PETA when you need them?
Grieg has also been losing money (7):

“In Canada, the company cut losses, with a negative ebit [sic] before fair value adjustment of the biomass of NOK 2.71/kg, compared to a loss of NOK 8.22/kg in the same quarter of 2012.”
And the kicker? Cermaq is owned 59.2% by the government and thus the people of Norway. Why do we give another government our money for their killing our fish in our ocean rather than raising their fish on land in closed containers? This does not make sense.

Ask Shea for BC’s $400 million. We can spend it on habitat restoration, something DFO has been sadly remiss about in BC for decades. This year’s total DFO habitat projects for BC is a measly $900,000, only 2.6% of our own money Ottawa sent to diseased fish farms in BC.


22.   Kibenge document of fish farm diseases:

44.    Cermaq’s other disease problems in Clayoquot Sound in the last decade:

55.    Mainstream did a write down of Dixon Bay for $4.5 Mil for biomass insurance purposes. Millar Channel is the other farm slaughtered.

99.    And Cermaq/Mainstream lost money in Finnmark to disease, too: “The PD [pancreatic disease] outbreak in July had a negative EBIT impact of NOK 25 million for the Finnmark operation - See more at: 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Key Document - Land-Based Closed-Containment Fish Farm Science 2013, Updated Nov 3, 2013

International Summit on Farming Fish in Land-Based Closed-Containment Systems.

140 participants from 14 countries met in West Virginia in September, 2013 to share expertise on growing fish on land with recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) for the sake of the sustainable fish production and food security. 

This is the Tides Canada weblink for the 50 plus presentations:

This is a major collection of current science on closed containment from around the world and I suggest you go take a look at some of the presentations. This is a wonderful collection of papers, and is a credit to both Tides Canada for assembling all this work in one place on the web, and to the Save Our Salmon group for being involved.

This is the SOS link:

It is clear that fish farms will have no choice but to move to closed containment RAS systems that eliminate the problems caused by in-ocean net-pens, such as spilling raw sewage into pristine oceans, diseases, parasites, chemicals, escaped fish, genetic issues with wild fish, passing disease and parasites to wild salmon and killing them. The latter is a big issue in the Pacific Ocean as 10 species of wild salmonids, and other species, are threatened, from California to Korea. 

The NGO Save Our Salmon sent Chief Bill Cranmer, SOS President Eric Hobson and Dr. Andrew Wright who presented on the ‘Namgis Closed Containment Project in order to help catalyze a shift to this more sustainable technology. The farm is located on land beside the Nimpkish River, Vancouver Island, BC. and aims to grow Atlantic salmon to market size and reap the benefit as a brand distinct from the open net-pen product that now sells for considerably less as most consumers in the western world now avoid buying it for the environmental damage it causes.

Three issues that the fish farm giants suggest why they don't want to use RAS on land are: cost of electricity used, carbon footprint and capitalization. Presentations show that heat pumps reduce the power of electricity used by a factor of ten for on-land systems. They also show that when the raw sewage spillage is taken into account that net-pen in-ocean operations have a carbon footprint ten times that of on-land systems. As for capitalization, the Standing Committee on Closed Containment, of the federal Canadian government, recommends programs for making capital available. 

But until the government legislates fish farms out of the ocean, they will not move. This is an issue like airbags in cars. Car manufacturers said it couldn't be done for competitive cost pressure reasons. The government legislated airbags into cars and now every car in the world has airbags. As soon as BC removes site licences, the farms will be out of the water in 60 days.

As fish farms are a net negative to the BC economy, if they move back to Norway, BC still comes out far ahead in Gross Provincial Product and revenue from the sport, commercial and processing sectors in BC. In an upcoming post, I will detail the numbers. Some are staggering, for example, my first estimate of the cost of raw sewage spilling into our pristine ocean, a cost that the citizens of BC bear, exceeds $11 Billion, with the industry revenue size of only $469 Million, and the very small GPP contribution of only $61.9 Million, and only 1700 jobs (this is a BC Stats econometric, multiplier number, and I accept it as accurate. But I have collected the actual job numbers in this very small industry and it was only 840, after Marine Harvest let 60 staff go just before Christmas in 2011. Marine Harvest in particular has a Kudoa, myoliquifaction problem, and lost $12 Million of its stock in 2012. In 2013, MH Norway notes only 400 Canadian employees in their published numbers).

Thursday, 31 October 2013

IPN - Fish Farms Cause Disease, Oct. 31, 2013

Fish farms have long been shown to be vectors for disease, but a recent PHD shows how stress causes reduced immune response and allows viruses to mutate, killing most of the farm. 65 Billion viruses per hour spill into surrounding waters and kill wild stocks.

Note: IPN means infectious pancreatic necrosis, a fatal disease.


Gadan discovered that stress lead to increased production of the stress hormone cortisol. This affects the immune system of the fish and weaker immunity makes them more susceptible to infections. The fact that stress can trigger an outbreak of IPN is corroborated by the experiences of many in the field.

"For the first time, she was able to prove that when infected salmon fry were exposed to stress, otherwise benign variants of the IPN virus changed into pathogenic viruses. In other words, stress lowers resistance, increases the "production" of IPN virus in the fish's internal organs and can lead to benign viruses changing into pernicious variants of the virus."

Farmed fish are always under stress in net-pens because of crowding. That is why one third to one half of all aquaculture products are lost to disease. Fish farms like to say that wild fish give them diseases as they are not affected by those diseases. This is wrong because wild fish are not under the stress that penned Atlantics are. This is the issue of saying that nature has a problem, when the only problem apparent is the stress caused by farmed fish in cages. They need to be on-land in recirculating closed systems.

Fish farms shed 65 Billion viral particles per hour into the surrounding water. In a conservatively estimated 2 knot tide, this means those particles being spread to 12 nautical miles in a six hour tide. Then, when the tide turns the other way, the continued leaching of viruses from the fish farms is carried another 12 nautical miles in the other direction. This means that in half a day viruses can be found in 24 nautical miles of ocean, infecting wild fish as they are carried along.

It is easy to understand that in a closed Sound - most fish farms are in bodies of water with one closed end - say Clayoquot Sound, why there are only 501 wild chinook left in six streams, and why fish farms are the likely final cause of extirpation of the Kennedy Lake sockeye run, once the most important commercial harvest on Vancouver Island, BC.

The fish farm explanation is a communications strategy that may convince those with little experience in fish farm issues. The much more believable conclusion, however, is that wild fish do not spread, say IHN, because there are no wild salmon left anymore in Clayoquot Sound. The fish farms have killed them all.

Do recall that Miller's science showed 25% of farmed chinook in Clayoquot Sound had ISA and HSMI in her Cohen Commission testimony. DFO is doing nothing about this problem other than passively watching wild BC salmon die.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Cohen Commission Report - One Year Later, Oct29, 2013

Cohen Commission One Year Later

You may have thought the Cohen report was a stone dropped through DFO leaving not a ripple. You’d be right. Google DFO Cohen Commission and what you find is everyone else in the country commenting loudly but diddly from DFO. Go directly to DFO and search, and the result is virtually the same. Page after page of nothing about the Commission – a year of silence so far.

At the time, DFO swamped the Commission with 500,000 documents. But after Cohen completed the intended sessions, the first result for the Atlantic Ocean fish farm disease ISA was demonstrated in two wild sockeye fry from Owikeno Lake, Rivers Inlet. Then one contentious document DFO failed to give Cohen was leaked: a study showing ISA in dozens of wild BC salmon, co-authored by Molly Kibenge, then with DFO in Nanaimo.

Cohen reopened the hearings and the full extent of fish farm diseases cascaded out. The science experts Miller, F. Kibenge and Nylund were interviewed. Miller’s work noted literally hundreds of thousands of fish with ISA and HSMI in Clayoquot Sound farmed chinook and SLV phenotype ‘viral signature’ back to 1988 in Fraser sockeye. Today there are only 501 wild chinook in Clayoquot and up to 90% of some Fraser sockeye subcomponents die of pre-spawn mortality.

With this knowledge in hand, the focus of the most important recommendations in the 1200 page tome – 75 in total, pages 105 – 115, Volume 3 – came to centre on constraining and removing Discovery Island fish farms near Campbell River, and for DFO to relinquish its conflicting role of supporting fish farms and put its full effort into implementing the 2005 Wild Salmon Policy, and the 1986 Habitat Policy. The report says there should be a new western director general charged with bringing back Fraser sockeye:

Since then, the CFIA started a perfunctory job of looking at a few thousand fish, and saying it could not find ISA – this after Cohen testimony discredited its lab as not being able to find ISA. And DFO? It’s moved on to aquaculture. The performance measure, wait for it, is: A transparent regulatory regime for aquaculture in British Columbia and an Integrated Management Plan for finfish, and shellfish, by March 2014.

And the latest Norwegian related fish disease has just been shown to be present in BC wild salmon – PRV in Virology Journal, 2013. This may be worse than ISA, as it is the virus associated with heart and skeletal muscle inflammation – HSMI, developed circa 1999 in Norway. This is what those yellow pink salmon and the dying pre-spawn Fraser chum and sockeye are now being shown to have. Sadly, a large pre-spawn sockeye die-off occurred for the first time in the Skeena River in the past couple of months.

You can support the cost of testing all these fish, as hundreds of BC citizens, including me, are doing, on Alex Morton`s blog. She has this to say: ``The Commission changed my life, I am tracking three European viruses, publishing on them in top scientific journals and informing the scientific community.  Government is increasingly lagging behind and irrelevant to the science on salmon.``

I understand that Miller and Riddell (CEO of the Pacific Salmon Foundation), good smart people, will be co-authoring a report on fish farm/wild diseases. Unfortunately, for them and us, fish farms, DFO, and CFIA will be parsing the news releases.

560 Words

DFO’s aquaculture initiative: The British Columbia Aquaculture Program:

Three volume Cohen report:

DFO regarding BC Aquaculture: Sub-program 1.3.2 - British Columbia Aquaculture Program

Performance Measure. By March 2014: A transparent regulatory regime for aquaculture in British Columbia and an Integrated Management Plan for finfish, and shellfish.

 Whole-genome analysis of piscine reovirus (PRV) shows PRV represents a new genus in family Reoviridae and its genome segment S1 sequences group it into two separate sub-genotypes
Molly JT Kibenge1, Tokinori Iwamoto1, Yingwei Wang2, Alexandra Morton3, Marcos G Godoy456 and Frederick SB Kibenge1*

Sunday, 20 October 2013

65 On-land Fish Farm Systems, Oct 31, 2013

Go back and look at these previous posts.

This is the list of 65 different on-land fish farms comprising some 8100 on-land farms around the world that I have found:

This is a list of more on-land fish farms:;postID=254807261999628982;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=9;src=postname

These posts also contain the technical papers showing that on-land fish farms make more money than the Norwegian-derivatives do in the ocean with their high environmental cost.

Here is a new, and fair comparison of on-land recirculating system versus in-ocean net-pen. It says on land is cheaper:

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Cermaq Mainstream Owned by Norwegian Public - Updated Sept.24, 2013

Cermaq Mainstream is now owned 60% by the Norwegian government and hence the Norwegian public. Why are the Norwegian public exporting their diseases, environmental damage and sea lice problems around the world?

"Cermaq, 59.2 percent owned by the Norwegian state, said its second-quarter operating profit before adjustment for the value of fish stocks leapt to 229 million crowns from 60 million in the same period last year.

However, that was below analysts' average forecast of 262 million. Valderhaug said that while business was good in Norway and Canada, the company made a loss in Chile, in part because of losses to fish stocks there due to sea lice."


Cermaq lost 15% of their Chilean  stock to death by sealice. Meanwhile the Norwegian derivative companies are still putting out papers saying that sea lice don't kill salmon. In BC, Canada see the recent paper by Marty, Saksida et al on sea lice in the Broughton Archipelago.

So the Norwegians are affirming and denying sea lice effects in different countries around the world at the same time. Such contradictions are common.

Cermaq share price is: 101.0 Norwegian Kronen, and they plan to return to shareholders a total dividend of 4.5 to 5.0 billion crowns.

Shortly, I will be putting the stats together to show that fish farms are a net negative to the BC economy. This loss of 15% of farmed salmon in Chile can be rendered into an estimated dollar value in BC by multiplying: Millions of BC farmed salmon X .15 X $30 per salmon. The last value is the CFIA fee for a disease-infected salmon that is destroyed.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Critique: Mary Ellen Walling Letter to Victoria Times - Kibenge

This post contains three items: DC Reid article in the Times Colonist Newspaper, Mary Ellen Walling letter to the Times Colonist Newspaper, and my critique of Mary Ellen Walling's letter.

This is the DC Reid article:

Wild BC Salmon Lose Disease Doctor

A very important negative event occurred recently with the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) pulling Dr. Fred Kibenge’s status as the only disease reference lab in the western hemisphere for testing fish diseases, particularly, ISA from farmed Atlantic salmon.

I asked the OIE several times for the origin of the complaint but received no response. While news releases have pointed to complaints from other countries, the other factor is that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), discredited in the Cohen Commission testimony in December 2011, has made representations to the OIE to pull Kibenge’s status. In testimony they were cornered into admitting their interests are the export possibilities of the largely Norwegian-owned farms over natural wild salmon, a clear conflict of interest. Dr. Kim Klottins said the CFIA didn’t want to find ISA in BC. The video is not pretty.

You will have recently read in the TC that they tested several thousand wild salmon – not farmed fish, the source of the Atlantic Ocean diseases, ISA and HSMI – and announced they found no ISA in BC. That should be a good thing because the two diseases could well lead to the demise of all eleven Pacific salmonid species from California all the way to Korea. But it is not a good thing.

Drs. Miller (DFO, Nanaimo), Kibenge (PEI) and Nylund (the only other OIE lab in the world, in Norway), have found ISA in BC wild salmon. During Cohen they discredited the DFO, CFIA and the BC testing systems. The CFIA and DFO use the Moncton lab under Dr. Gagne, and the experts found its procedures don’t find ISA and its equipment is poor; this means a negative response for the worst fish farm disease means nothing. These doctors have found literally tens of thousands of cases of ISA in BC, dating all the way back to 1988.

For instance, Miller’s work showed 25% of Clayoquot Sound farmed Chinook had ISA and HSMI. This means 125,000 to 250,000 fish per farm. There are 22 farms in the Sound and wild Chinook numbers are at extinction levels – only 501 fish in six rivers. The Kennedy Lake sockeye run, once the largest on Van Isle, is no more.

The CFIA is a member on the OIE council which has members from many nations. Kibenge was the lab that found Atlantic ISA, (Nylund showed it was taken from Norway), in Chile. In 2008, ISA wiped out quarter of a billion farmed salmon, a loss of $2 Billion, with 13,000 losing jobs. The CFIA with its $740 million budget apparently wants to control the narrative with respect to farmed salmon diseases in Canada, and so Kibenge lost his status as the place where wild BC salmon have been sent most frequently for testing by concerned BC residents.

I read a scientific study not long ago that says fish farms cause a loss of 50% of the wild salmon/trout where they are introduced, and this includes BC. There are, for instance, only 6,000 wild Chinook spawners on the entire west coast of Vancouver Island. You will recall the Georgia St. coho fishery tanked in the 1980s. Then there are the Owikeno sockeye in the 1990s, etc. Fewer wild salmon translates into fewer jobs in BC Stats data, for example, commercial employment is down 50%. The largest sector, sport fishing, could likely employ more people, too. 

This is the Walling letter:

Re: “Loss of wild-salmon disease doctor will have major impact,” July 16.

(1)In the column, the actions of the World Animal Health Organization in pulling the infectious-salmon-anemia reference status at Dr. Fred Kibenge’s lab are presented as a negative. In fact, the organization’s decision should be viewed as a positive one. The organization conducted an audit with an international panel of scientific experts and found a series of weaknesses affecting the quality of diagnoses performed at the lab — which led to the unanimous decision by the general assembly of the organization to delist the lab.

(2). This news should reassure the public, as it shows that labs carrying international designations are held to high standards.

(3)It is correct that several thousand wild salmon were tested and no ISA was found. Thousands of Atlantic salmon have also been tested for ISA and those tests were also negative.

(4) ISA is a concern for B.C. salmon farmers — it has the potential to have an impact on our industry. That’s why our fish are tested and why we support ongoing wild- and farmed-fish monitoring programs.

(5). All the world’s oceans are connected, so it makes sense that viruses that have been found in other areas might eventually be found in B.C. That’s why ongoing monitoring of both wild and farm-raised fish is important so if a virus that causes disease, as not all do, does appear, it is found quickly and can be dealt with
Mary Ellen Walling
Executive Director, B.C. Salmon Farmers Association
Campbell River

Here is my Critique:

(1). The only evidence of complaint is the CFIA letter to the OIE. The CFIA told me only one other country complained.  And, of course, the CFIA, DFO and BC testing systems were shown to be deficient. 

(2). The Kibenge lab is the one that determined the Chile ISA infection and Nylund showed the ISA came from Norway. The subject only became public after Aqua Gen who transported eggs to Chile sued Nylund for bad science. They lost.

The big Norwegian companies have taken ISA to virtually every country they have gone to set up shop. The usual scenario is refusing to accept that ISA has been taken, with, once it is found, saying, well we just have to live with this. The problem in BC is the world's greatest salmon resource, the entire Pacific Ocean  is under threat of extinction, something that has never happened before.

Tragically, ISA is now in NS, NB and NL, as well as in BC - Miller, Kibenge and Nylund have found hundreds of thousands of cases of ISA in BC

(3). The DFO, CFIA and BC testing systems were all discredited by Miller, Kibenge and Nylund during the Cohen Commission.

(4). All the testing systems have been discredited. The BC public are right to be concerned with all wild salmon being killed by farmed diseases. Salmon farms can be eliminated from the ocean in two months by pulling their leases.

Also, the public is pretty appalled when I tell them that fish farms get reimbursed with taxpayer dollars - up to $30 per fish - by the CF|IA

(5). This is a classic fantasy generated by fish farms. Marine Harvest, Cermaq Minstream and Grieg Seafood, all Norwegian origin firms, are well aware that ISA, HSMI and other diseases are carried by imports of eggs and fry, both horizontal and vertical transmission of disease - not carried by the ocean tens of thousands of miles. That's just silly. 

Fish farms sure complain when environmentalists come anywhere close to their sites under quarantine, even though they are hemmorrheging 65 Billion viral particles per hour into wild BC salmon waters. 

Go read the article on how they neutralized a Science 2004 study that showed cancer causing chemicals and other persistent organic pollutants were in Scottish, and other country, farmed fish. It reads like a Hollywood thriller conspiracy blockbuster - link in several articles on this site. You will not believe any claim by a fish farm company ever again.

See Spinwatch link::