Friday, 16 February 2018

PRV in 100% of Escaped Salmon - Up to 260,000

Cooke's Cypress Island escaped fish in WA has tested 100% for PRV. The farm had 305,000 salmon, 260,000 escaped.


Here is what the Wild Fish Conservancy in WA has to say:

"Contrary to agency claims, escaped Atlantic salmon were infected with a highly contagious and harmful virus

Lab results show 100% of escaped Atlantic salmon tested were infected with virus of Norwegian origin.

Wild Fish Conservancy (WFC) regrets to announce test findings that confirm long held fears about the nature of Atlantic salmon aquaculture in Puget Sound. This week, WFC received test results from an independent lab at the University of Prince Edward Island."

This would be the Fred Kibenge lab that the CFIA attacked at the OIE after they were unhappy with his Cohen Commission testimony, showing that government, like fish farms, attack their critics.

"WFC contracted the lab to test heart, gill, and kidney tissue samples obtained from 19 Atlantic salmon collected after the massive Cypress Island net pen escape last August. The 19 fish were donated to WFC by commercial, tribal, and recreational fishermen, and were caught in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the site of the Cypress Island escape, and 50 miles up the Skagit River.

Independent lab results demonstrate that 100% of escaped Atlantic salmon tested were highly infected with Piscine Orthoreovirus (PRV), and that the strain of the virus is of Norwegian origin.

PRV is known to be a highly contagious and debilitating salmonid virus, and is proven to be the causal agent for heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI)disease.1 HSMI causes a crippling onset of symptoms in salmonids, symptoms that would either kill or render a wild fish incapable of surviving in natural conditions. HSMI has caused up to 20% mortality in Atlantic salmon net pens in Norway.2Significant mortalities from HSMI have also been reported in farmed Atlantic salmon in Scotland and Chile. 1,3Recently, HSMI has been reported in farmed Atlantic salmon in British Columbia.3"

The facts are that 80- to 90-% of BC farmed salmon have PRV, meaning they should not be in the water. And, if you can believe it, DFO, Minister Dominic LeBlanc, is suing Alex Morton in BC, on appeal, so as to continue using PRV infected fish, because the industry has no other fish.

Both Kristi Miller and Alex Morton have shown PRV in wild BC salmon. Kristi Miller's lab is one that confirms that PRV causes HSMI.

"Peer-reviewed scientific literature demonstrates a high likelihood that Atlantic salmon net pens infected with PRV will amplify the virus and spread it to wild salmon. PRV survives well in sea water, and is known to spread out long distances from farms.4 The spread of PRV from farmed Atlantic to wild salmon has been well documented, and a 2017 BC study demonstrated that significantly more wild salmon were infected with PRV if they had been exposed to salmon farms than if they were located far away.2"

And: "As PRV builds up in a salmon’s red blood cells, the virus may reduce the amount of oxygen cells can transport to the fish’s muscles,6 lowering the fish’s performance. For a wild fish, reduced performance means a reduced ability to capture prey, evade predators, and swim upriver to spawn"

This is the Viral Signature work of Miller, and was released during the Cohen Commission showing that up to 90% of runs infected with PRV failed to reach the spawning grounds or reach it and be unable to spawn. 

And: “Based on the results of this sampling,” Dr. Gayeski said, I estimate that more than 99.9% of the 260,000+ fish that escaped from the Cypress Island net pen are infected with PRV."

And a government agency in WA decided, just like the BCMAL testing facility in BC, along with Dominic LeBlanc:

"Yet during a January 30th press conference announcing a state agency investigative report into the Cypress Island spill, a spokeswoman for WDFW, who acted as incident commander and co-authored the report, contradicted the report’s own findings, stating: “The released fish... were healthy at the time of release. Of the escaped fish, there was no disease. No endemic bacterial, viral, or parasitic (including sea lice) pathogens were detected at the time of release.”8

Amy Windrope, North Puget Sound Regional Director"

This is what governments do all around the world, and in WA, it is for 80 jobs, that's all, with Cooke claiming a total of 180 with the spinoff/multiplier jobs. Peanuts and not worth defending.

I add to this by saying: this is the kind of case that shows 'hubris' on the part of government, in this case, the reverse, meaning the science means the opposite and there is no reason to take fish farms out of the water.

Not so surprisingly, the WFC was pretty angry with the government person: "“I’m outraged,” said Kurt Beardslee, executive director of Wild Fish Conservancy. “The Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound net pens originate from Norway, and we now know they are highly infected with a harmful virus from Norway. I’m outraged this disease is being amplified into our public waters, and I’m outraged our state agencies are willfully misleading the public. When the public finds out about this atrocity, they will be outraged as well. Wild salmon are the environmental, social, economic, and cultural cornerstone of this region, we can't afford to put them at greater risk. We need to take corrective actions and remove this dangerous industry from Puget Sound before it’s too late.”

Amy can't have it right that the fish have no PRV, but governments often make the semantic claim - happens at BCMAL all the time - that the fish  may have PRV, but that is not the same thing as having a disease, HSMI, which is true. However, you don't get HSMI unless you have PRV.

The WFC press release concludes:

"The lab work presents another stunning revelation, finding the strain of PRV present in 100% of the tested samples to be of Norwegian origin. This discovery raises immediate concerns as to whether Cooke Aquaculture is placing infected Atlantic salmon into open-water net pens in our public waters.

In British Columbia, a recent lawsuit provided that many BC salmon farms are being stocked by salmon infected with PRV. 9 In one instance, British Columbia’s predominant Atlantic salmon net pen company conceded that 5 out of 6 of their hatcheries were infected with PRV.

Considering the multitude of scientific studies that demonstrate PRV from open-water pens will likely spread to and harm wild fish, WFC is deeply disturbed by the disease’s apparent ubiquity among escaped Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound, and incensed by WDFW’s willingness to obfuscate the existence and harmful nature of the disease. Even moretroubling is the possibility of the virus being imported into public waters from an outside source, as lab results seem to suggest."

This is why I argue that asking for science is a manipulation. Cooke has already said the government text on Cypress is factually incorrect, they don't have competent people, and science needs to provide an answer. As you note, science is being used in this case. I think  that is unfortunate because Cooke will argue, no, there was no disease, the science doesn't say that and... we need more science.

Then five years goes by and then they say, the science doesn't say that, and... we need more science.

Let's hope the bill to phase them out is passed into law without the Legislature mistakenly asking for science.

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