Sunday, 27 May 2012

IHN in BC Salmon Farms, Updated May 27, 2012

Fund for Salmon Testing

It is testimony to how concerned BC residents are about wild salmon in a time when fish farms are not yet on land, and belief in government and government agencies is low, that we have so far given $27,000 to have Alexandra Morton test wild and retail farmed salmon at the OIE testing labs in PEI and Norway. I have given several times, including the money portion of my recent Art Downs Award for sustained environmental writing on fish farm issues. If you wish to donate, send a cheque to: Pacific Coast Wild Salmon Society or PCWSS, Box 399, Sointula, BC V0N 3E0

IHN in Farmed Salmon

IHN, a lethal Pacific salmon disease – that fish farms have also taken to the Atlantic Ocean – has been found in the UN Biosphere Reserve in Clayoquot Sound. It has been erroneously reported by fish farms and news, for example, CBC, CHEK and the Vancouver Sun that Pacific salmon are immune to IHN. Not so.

Claims in news releases from government, fish farms and conflicted academics need to be verified. Just Google: IHN in Pacific Salmon – you will be reading for days.

All Pacific salmon species and especially rainbows, meaning steelhead, are killed by IHN. The reason fish farms get more of it is the density of the fish. They are so close together they infect one another.

This disease is cyclical with 12 million farmed salmon at 36 farms dying in the 2001 – 2003 infection. The previous lethal cycle was 1992 – 1996. I can’t help wondering whether there is a connection between farmed IHN and Clayoquot Chinook and Kennedy sockeye that are in trouble. Megin steelhead?

Here is the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) summary info. It is fair on both sides of the issue:

Please don’t use my tax dollars to compensate billion dollar Norwegian derivative companies – their diseases come back and come back. Fish farms must be on land.

Don McRae and Fish Farm Disease

Our Minister of Agriculture is making changes to keep diseases from the public: to protect us and because the info is proprietary. And it will become illegal to talk about them. Don is setting transparency in fish diseases back twenty years. I don’t think disease is a patentable thing, and is not like those seven different herbs and spices Kentucky Fried Chicken likes to keep to itself. McRae is doing this at a time when 560,000 farmed fish are being destroyed for IHN, a second Clayoquot fish farm is testing positive and a Sechelt coho farm is testing 'weakly' positive. And, of course HSMI and ISA have also been found in Clayoquot farmed fish by Kristi Miller. At 25% that’s more than 100,000 fish per farm with those viruses. We need transparency. Wild salmon need transparency. Judging by all the emails I have read of intergovernmental sources for the early and later nineties, I’ll bet McRae’s staff is not very happy.


1. T Buck Suzuki Foundation: Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis (IHN) is a virus that affects both wild and farmed salmon. Sockeye, chinook, coho, rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon can all contract the virus, but Atlantic salmon are particularly susceptible. IHN is a virus and not a bacterial infection and infected fish are not treated with antibiotics.

2. This is the OIE summary info on IHN:

3. This article says that 80% of Chinook die while 40% of Atlantic salmon die from IHN. Up to 100% in juvenile rainbow trout, aka steelhead, die. No known treatment.

This Pacific disease was spread to the Atlantic by fish farms taking Pacific eggs there.

4. My summary: Atlantics die more than Pacific salmon because of the high density in the net – a practice that also spawns mutations of viruses. Not that wild salmon are immune to it. For example, wild Chinook, when raised in net pens at their higher densities also die from IHN.

5. News on IHN immunity in wild salmon.

*CBC: Marty concludes the farmed fish were infected by wild salmon which carry IHN, but have developed resistance to the virus.
*CTV: not a problem for wild salmon as they have built up an immunity.

IHN has been present in the waters of B.C. for hundreds of years and wild salmon have developed a resistance to it, though young salmon and sockeye can be vulnerable to it, according to fish virologist James Winton.

IHN has been present in the waters of B.C. for hundreds of years and wild salmon have developed a resistance to it, though young salmon and sockeye can be vulnerable to it, according to fish virologist James Winton.

*Van Isle Daily:  [IHN] is naturally carried by Pacific salmon, trout and herring, which have developed a natural immunity, but can cause high mortality among Atlantic salmon.

Mainstream Canada says that IHN is endemic to wild Pacific fish, and does not affect them in low concentrations.

*CHEK: Laura Jensen says that IHN is a Pacific virus that doesn’t affect local salmon, but Atlantics are highly affected.

The IHN virus is naturally carried by Pacific salmon, trout and herring. Studies show wild Pacific salmon have a natural resistance to the virus and very rarely suffer ill effects from it….. Since Atlantic salmon are not native to the Pacific coast, they have not had hundreds of years to develop a natural immunity to the virus, like their Pacific cousins.

6. IHN 2001 outbreak: And they found two different isolates of IHN, meaning mutation occurred.

And the previous cyclical infection was in 1992 – 1996.

7. Don McRae making fish farm diseases unreportable.

8. Miller on ISA in Clayoquot: The direct reference in the Cohen Commission transcripts from Dec 15, 2011 are: Page 112, lines 34 - 47. Line 39: Miller: "It was 25 percent."

9. Miller on HSMI in Clayoquot: The direct reference in the Cohen Commission transcripts from Dec 15, 2011 are: Page 113, lines 6 – 9, Miller: “We did find fish positive for the 8 pasendrial (phonetic) virus, which is thought to be causing HSMI.”

Then Are Nylund goes on about how lethal HSMI has been in Norway.

End notes. Not part of article:

"This is code red," said Laurie Jensen representing the Norwegian-owned company Cermaq (owners of Mainstream Canada). "So we are just going to depopulate. We will lose money. It's in the millions."

This is another saving of on-land systems: no disease losses in the millions, and diseases are cyclical, meaning they come back over and over.

The last infection: “Between August 2001 and June 2003, 36 Atlantic salmon farms in BC contracted IHNV," stated the paper.  "This constituted over 50% of all Atlantic salmon seawater farms in the province. Over 12 million farmed Atlantic salmon died or were culled as a result of the epidemic.”

Mainstream Canada spokesperson Laurie Jensen says the company is expecting the blow-back. [getting nets out of water]

"I’m sure some of our critics will try and make this an issue and they will try and use any kind of unusual activity to create confusion and a food safety issue," Jensen says. "But it’s just not an issue."

I sure wouldn't buy a farmed fish - for many reasons - but one with viruses. I think not.

And this really is an issue as the issue is always wild Pacific salmon. It may already be too late to save all the salmonids in the Pacific ocean. I sure hope not.

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