Friday, 25 November 2016

Fish Farms Attack Scientists

I came into the subject of fish farm environmental damage when I read about the fish farm industry, Norwegian firms operating in Scotland, going after a science paper by Hites et al of Albany New York University, published in the January 9, 2004 volume of Science. Industry 'neutralized' it completely.

I read the article by David Miller about what the fish farms did and realized everything that fish farms say is spin and that no statement should be accepted without being independently verified. I was stunned to think anyone other than big tobacco would do the things they did. You may be, too.

Here is a link to the Miller article on this site: You will find some other links of use in that post, too.

Well, it doesn't end there. Fish farms go after other scientists, too. Claudette Bethune worked in Norway for many years assessing the risk of eating farmed fish, working for the government, and the fish farms still went after her and she lost her job.

The document in which you will find the text on Bethune is: This is an important link as it is from an environmental NGO, The Green Warriors, from Norway itself, where the BC industry is from - Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood. It minces no words.

This 2011 report has a section on how fish farm companies go after scientists:

“Improper Pressure on Researchers and Veterinarians

The aquaculture industry strikes down hard on critical voices. Researchers that dare to denounce salmon farming experience problems, while aquatic veterinarians are pressed into ‘overlooking’ errors and defects.”

Here is the Bethune text:

The boldfacing is from the report: 

The Process Against Claudette Bethune

In January 2006, following findings of environmental toxins in Norwegian farmed salmon, Russian authorities complained of inadequate control on the Norwegian side. Claudette Bethune, Senior research scientist at the National Institute of Seafood and Nutrition Research (NIFES), went far towards confirming the Russian view that the monitoring of Norwegian farmed salmon is inadequate, making reference to the fact that only a few fish were tested for lead and cadmium levels (Ergo 2006a) Monitoring has not improved since then. In 2009, 50 farmed salmon were tested for lead and 50 for cadmium (NIFES 2010), while at year-end 2008 there were 300 million salmon in Norwegian fish farms (Statistics Norway 2010b). In 2007, the year after the toxins were discovered, NIFES chose to drop the testing of salmon for cadmium; not a single salmon was tested (NIFES 2010).

Claudette Bethune linked the cadmium-poisoned Norwegian farmed salmon to contaminated fish feed in Norway (Ergo 2006a); later her suspicion was confirmed (Vogt 2006). Nonetheless, NIFEs went against their own employee before any details had been uncovered. “The person in question does not work on this issue and lacks the total overviews of everything that has been done in relation to it. This easily leads to inaccuracies,” NIFES director Oyvind Lie said to NTB (2006a)

NIFES took the radical step against their own employee and issued a press release stating: “NIFES distances itself strongly from the contents of Claudette Bethune’s media initiatives, where she speaks on issues she is not an expert on nor is responsible for. This scientist does not represent NIFES’ scientific view on this issue. Consequently, Claudette Bethune’s statements are her own private opinions. NIFES is unaware of why the issue is presented like this and why Norwegian food authorities are unjustly slandered in this way.” (NIFES 2006). Although it later turned out that the content of Bethune;s statement was correct (Vogt 2006), no apology has been offered by NIFES. “I have put that issue behind me,” was all director Oyvind was willing to tell Aftenposten three months later (May 2006a).

Claudette Bethune was recruited to NIFES in August 2003 as an expert on seafood risk assessment. She was to write a report on the presence of brominated flame retardants, toxic substances, in fish for the Scientific Committee for Food Safety. The report was written but Bethune was not allowed to publish it. She was not offered any reason why (May 2006a) The withholding of this report conflicts with the statements that NIFES” shall make the results of its research known: (NIFES undated). Bethune informs Green Warriors that she was not allowed to present ‘any consumption advice or tolerable limits in fish as in the USA” (email 25 August 2010)

In March 2006, Bethune felt she was forced to resign from NIFES. “Officially I left of my own accord, but there is no hiding the fact that I was fired,” she stated (Korneliussen 2006).

It is not easy to stand up against the mighty aquaculture industry; as “Researchers who oppose the official view of their research institution experience harassment.” This is how the Norwegian daily Aftenposten summed up a letter from the Association of Marine Researchers (Havforskerlaget) in Bergen to the Norwegian Association of Researchers (Norsk forskerforbund), and it was confirmed that the letter on the background of the case surrounding Claudette Bethune (May 2006b).

“Grants and allocations of funds are currently governed too heavily by industrial policies and political concerns,” said Eriki Slinde, a senior research scientist at the Institute of Marine Research (May 2006c). Large sums are at stake when farmed salmon is the issue, and critical scientists are highly unpopular. Director Svein Berg of the Seafood Export Council (Eksportutvalget for fish) admitted that he had Claudette Bethune and others in mind when in 2006 he accused researchers that spoke of farmed salmon in negative terms of ‘acting as fifth columnists” (NTB 2006b).


If you are a scientist, fish farms will go after you if you publish scientific papers on fish farm environmental damage. It is surprising there is 100,000 pages of it out there.

So, it may be little wonder that DFO and the CFIA have conflicts of interest with fish farms - even though it should not happen.The proof, I would say, is in the references for my previous post, on Bill C-228 (the Liberals in Ottawa using DFO/fish farm spin to make things sound good) - collusion on the part of the Canadian government not to find diseases in fish farm and BC fish by selecting a testing system they think will return a negative response.

They settle on the BC testing system - that the public is supposed to trust, along with DFO and the CFIA. See:  See reference 8 in the post. This is why the public does not trust government in Canada. See:

And it doesn't end there. Fish farms have gone after critic Don Staniford as well as scientist Alexandra Morton in Canada - both SLAPP suits. See the index on this site for the Staniford posts. For Morton see this post from the CBC:

Make sure you look at the video of the GoPro on a randomly chosen fish farm in a randomly chosen pen. It shows obviously sick fish, illegal eating of wild fish, and obviously polluted seawater. 

And, it doesn't end there. During the Cohen Commission, four scientists recanted their work on fish farms diseases. This is on the record evidence. Why would they recant work? Why would a person who had been a DFO scientist recant his work once he had left? Go look at the Cohen transcripts.

Here is a Morton post on the proceedings:

Here is some text:

"Dr. Michael Kent (Director of the Pacific Biological Station 1988-1999, DFO) reported 100% of sockeye and chinook exposed to Salmon Leukemia became infected; and of those, 100% of the

sockeye and most of the chinook died.4

The chinook feedlot sites reportedly remained infected after harvest5. The epidemic raged through virtually all the salmon farms in the narrow passages of the Fraser sockeye migration route off Campbell River and also in the Broughton Archipelago. There was no response from DFO or the province of BC to protect wild chinook or sockeye from this lethal and contagious virus. The research of the time was extensive, thorough, compelling, and alarming."

Yet the work was recanted.