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 Spinwatch.org 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:: http://www.spinwatch.org/index.php/issues/health/item/141-spinning-farmed-salmon-part-3-of-3