Tuesday, 30 September 2014

$93 Million for Diseased Fish

You will know that I did an FOI in early 2014 to find out the millions paid to fish farms in BC and Atlantic Canada. The CFIA would only confirm that it paid money for two years. Oddly, the $93 million covers the same time they did the search for me. And then I found out that the Telegram in St. John's had found, when we compared lists about $50.5 Million for fish farms for diseased, dead fish.

So it is very odd that the CFIA has given three different figures, and said categorically to me that it stopped making payments after only two years, and would not tell me who had paid the money before or after. The FOI was further held up because a fish farm had an injunction against release of the figures to me - for ten months - that's how untransparent fish farms are. They have lawyers working behind the scenes very frequently to prevent the public finding out figures, stats, and disease info. Standard practice.

See: https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=1880129387856188740#editor/target=post;postID=2671296788933545164;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=21;src=postname.

This is taxpayer money and I have never talked to one taxpayer that wants to give our tax money to multi-national, billion dollar fish farms that could solve the problem forever by putting fish farms on land in recirculating systems. They refuse, so we should refuse to pay them for diseased, dead fish.

Oh, and if you read the other post, in Atlantic Canada alone, fish farms have been paid for diseased, dead fish some $135 Million since 1996, for ISA. The CFIA and DFO currently say there is no ISA in BC, but their own scientist, Kristi Miller, in Cohen Commission testimony, said that farmed chinook in Clayoquot Sound showed 25% had ISA and HSMI. Little wonder that in five streams the total number of wild chinook in Clayoquot Sound in 2012, DFO's own figures, only 501 counted chinook.

With about 125,000 chinook per farm infected, its little wonder why, in a poorly flushing sound, there are virtually no wild chinook. Oh and the sockeye run for the Kennedy was wiped out in the 1990s and has not come back.

And DFO wants to rewrite the laws, an Aquaculture Act, so that fish farms don't have to mention any of its sewage and other effluent. And DFO is currently trying to allow more fish farms in Clayoquot Sound. Very sad.

Here is the Blacklock's Reporter text on the $93 Million for diseased, dead fish:

$93M Paid For Diseased Fish

Health Canada paid $92.7 million to compensate aquaculture firms for diseased fish, the highest figure cited to date. The department’s Canadian Food Inspection Agency disclosed that payments dated over three years to salmon farmers in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador.

Authorities previously reported “over $84 million” was paid to industry; the higher figure was cited in Inspection Agency documents tabled in Parliament. All compensation was paid for destruction of fish stock with infectious salmon anemia and infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus.

Companies that received payments were not identified. Three Atlantic facilities operated by Cooke Aquaculture Inc. were quarantined in 2013 following an outbreak of salmon anaemia, a virus lethal to fish species but rated harmless to humans. Some 3700 tonnes of salmon were destroyed at two Cooke facilities in Newfoundland & Labrador, following a similar virus outbreak at the company’s salmon farm in Shelburne, N.S.

“The industry has had the outbreaks and was paid more than $90 million,” said MP Malcolm Allen, New Democrat agriculture critic who requested the data. Inspectors said they had no cost-benefit analysis of compensation paid to aquaculture companies “since the decision to order animals destroyed is made on a case-by-case basis”; “When deciding whether an infected population should be ordered destroyed, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency takes into consideration the consequences of not ordering destruction,” the agency wrote. “Consequences could include disease spread from the infected premises to other aquatic animal populations or the establishment of a disease in an area that was free of the federally-reportable disease.”

The agency also reported that effective December 31 it will enact new provisions of its National Aquatic Animal Health Program to track all movements of salmonids and shellfish, including monitoring of their “disease status” by region and province. “I don’t see any reason not to do that already,” said Allen, MP for Welland, Ont. “There is no magic about the December 31 date in legislation as far as I am aware.”

Regulators will also monitor the “disease status” of Atlantic and Pacific coastal waters used by fish farmers, and impose “movement controls” in regions deemed at risk: “The East Coast will be declared infected with infectious salmon anemia and the West Coast will be declared infected with infectious hematopoietic necrosis and the disease response to these specific diseases in areas declared to be infected will be changing,” the agency reported to the Commons.

Pamela Parker, executive director of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, said members were unaware of the timing: “We had some awareness it was being considered but we had no knowledge the decision had been made,” Parker said.

Bill Taylor, president and CEO of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, said disease monitoring of wild salmon has been in place in British Columbia waters with a similar program proposed for Atlantic fisheries. “Originally this program was supposed to be initiated and underway in 2013, and here we are in 2014 and it’s still not underway,” Taylor said. “If you are farming your fish in the open ocean your biosecurity will never be 100 percent.”

The report to the Commons was Inquiry Of Ministry no. 501, dated May 13 but only now tabled in the House.

By Kaven Baker-Voakes
$93M Paid For Diseased Fish | Blacklock's Reporter

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