Friday, 27 January 2017

ISAV in BC - But DFO, CFIA and BCMAL Can't Find Disease, Updated Jan 29, 2017

This is the article that has found the worst fish farm disease ISAV - infectious salmon anemia virus - in BC, Canada. Subsequently, the BC testing system, DFO and the CFIA all protested it wasn't true, but Virology journal dismissed these claims. And, of course, you will recall that DFO and the CFIA colluded to find a testing system that would return no disease in BC, and decided the BC testing system would be the best to let a contract with in 2016. This is fraudulent, Justin and Dominic.

Note that the CFIA used the Atlantic Canada ISA variant and found no disease, but this just shows the CFIA made an error in all their testing, because the ISAV in BC is from Norway, meaning Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg Seafood are the recipients of eggs from Europe.

Here is the article:

Here is the abstract:

"Infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) virus (ISAV) belongs to the genus Isavirus, family Orthomyxoviridae. ISAV occurs in two basic genotypes, North American and European. The European genotype is more widespread and shows greater genetic variation and greater virulence variation than the North American genotype. To date, all of the ISAV isolates from the clinical disease, ISA, have had deletions in the highly polymorphic region (HPR) on ISAV segment 6 (ISAV-HPRΔ) relative to ISAV-HPR0, named numerically from ISAV-HPR1 to over ISAV-HPR30. ISA outbreaks have only been reported in farmed Atlantic salmon, although ISAV has been detected by RT-PCR in wild fish. It is recognized that asymptomatically ISAV-infected fish exist. There is no universally accepted ISAV RT-qPCR TaqMan® assay. Most diagnostic laboratories use the primer-probe set targeting a 104 bp-fragment on ISAV segment 8. Some laboratories and researchers have found a primer-probe set targeting ISAV segment 7 to be more sensitive. Other researchers have published different ISAV segment 8 primer-probe sets that are highly sensitive."

They tested more than 1100 fish - both farmed (bought at market - because fish farms have to give their agreement for farmed fish to be tested), and wild Pacific salmon, a very grave finding.

Here are the results:

"Seventy-nine samples were “non-negative” with at least one of these tests in one or more replicates. The ISAV segment 6 HPR sequences from the PCR products matched ISAV variants, HPR5 on 29 samples, one sample had both HPR5 and HPR7b and one matched HPR0. All sequences were of European genotype. In addition, alignment of sequences of the conventional PCR product segment 8 showed they had a single nucleotide mutation in the region of the probe sequence and a 9-nucleotide overlap with the reverse primer sequence of the real time RT-qPCR assay. None of the classical ISAV segment 8 sequences in the GenBank have this mutation in the probe-binding site of the assay, suggesting the presence of a novel ISAV variant in BC. A phylogenetic tree of these sequences showed that some ISAV sequences diverted early from the classical European genotype sequences, while others have evolved separately. All virus isolation attempts on the samples were negative, and thus the samples were considered “negative” in terms of the threshold trigger set for Canadian federal regulatory action; i.e., successful virus isolation in cell culture."

Note that the final sentence deals with the semantic issue of there can be ISA viruses, but not ISAV disease, if the strain cannot be grown in isolation. The problem is that the virus never was in BC and now is shown to be here, a result of egg imports from Norway, etc.

Of course, all we BC residents care about is the wild fish, and thus these are extremely disappointing results, and none of DFO, CFIA and BCMAl are willing to say the virus is in BC. The problem with that is that it takes an outbreak of disease that floods BC wild salmon water with trillions of virus particles every day.

Fish farms like to say, 'there is no disease', but when disease is discovered, they say, 'golly gee, I guess we have ISAV, and we'll just have to learn to live with it.' This ignores the point that it is the wild fish we care about, and fish farms should have all been on land decades ago to avoid killing real fish.

These are the results from the article:

"This is the first published report of the detection of ISAV sequences in fish from British Columbia, Canada. The sequences detected, both of ISAV-HPRΔ and ISAV-HPR0 are of European genotype. These sequences are different from the classical ISAV segment 8 sequences, and this difference suggests the presence of a new ISAV variant of European genotype in BC. Our results further suggest that ISAV-HPRΔ strains can be present without clinical disease in farmed fish and without being detected by virus isolation using fish cell lines."

But the government still carries on with its conflict of interest with fish farms saying the disease is not here. The problem is the government, and the reasons are above: they couldn't find ISA (and PRV, ie., HSMI); they have colluded not to find it, and they let a contract with the BC MAL system only because they felt sure that it would not find disease. 

Are you listening Trudeau and LeBlanc? Or is Ottawa too far away from the billion or more Pacific basin wild salmon?


  1. Thanks DC Reid for the information and update on ISAv and outtakes and links to the Virology Journal article.

    Do I understand this correctly? The government acknowledges there is ISAv on the west coast, and the presence of this virus causes the ISA disease. But until the virus becomes identifiable as reaching "the disease" stage, the government will not officially report the presence of ISAv?

    And, is the Canadian government still allowing the salmon farm industry to import Atlantic Salmon eggs from European countries with ISAv presence?

    But, that is not getting to the real issue, which is that wild salmon cannot survive and thrive with the presence of open-net salmon aquaculture no matter what precautions and best practices are put in place.

  2. Yes. There is the semantic issue between ISA virus being present and the disease being declared – ISAv - when fish are dying from the disease, and ISA can be cultivated, grown, sequenced. This is an OIE regulation.

    The reason for the distinction is that, for example, humans can often be exposed to diseases, like TB, but if you don’t catch it, there is no disease, and healthy people don’t catch TB. However, particularly in BC, the testing facility, BCMAL, is loathe to say there is any problem, and criticized the 2016 ISA paper by Morton et al, for example, 80% of farmed fish have PRV, but BC MAL says problem, what problem, there is no problem, no disease. Which is unacceptable because HSMI that results from PRV is the third highest killer in the world.

    The behind the scenes problem is that DFO and CFIA tried to test for ISA – they have been shown not to have very good labs – and could find no ISA. But they tested the Atlantic Canada version of ISA. Dumb. Morton tested for the European strain of ISA brought here in egg imports. DFO/CFIA fraudulently hired BCMAL to test for ISA, as they searched for a lab that would bring back a negative response.

    The recent Morton paper, showed PRV percentages of wild fish, and that those who have to migrate up rivers further, die along the way. BCMAL says there is no problem. PRV is not a disease.