Dear Minister of Fisheries Keith Ashfield:
The Norwegian salmon farming corporation Cermaq, owned largely by the Norwegian government and called Mainstream in Canada, posted minutes of a meeting they had with their BC Corporate Team, Laurie and Grant, on April 12, 2011.
I have posted these minutes below. In this document Cermaq talks about how they are following Don Staniford on facebook and twitter because Staniford has been twittering about ISA virus "and how it originated from Norway."
Then, in the same paragraph they go on to say: "As this is very sensitive in BC we have to be careful what is commented upon in public in the time to come. We should avoid speculation about the situation in BC."
This company is operating in public waters, what "situation" are they attempting to keep from the public?
They go on to say that in Chile they are "supporting 80 football teams." In Chile ISAv came from Norway and has truly gone viral killing 70% of the 500 salmon farms, with no mention of how this is affecting wild fish.
Next Cermaq say "Growth strategy for Canada; increase biomass produced. This also requires "social license,""
They actually put quotes around "social license" suggesting it is something they are parroting.
Letting viruses escape into oceans, then funding local sport teams is like the Europeans taking everything they could from First Nations in exchange for worthless trade beads.
What "situation" is Cermaq talking about hiding from the BC public in the same paragraph as they worry about someone tweeting about ISA coming from Norway?
Just a reminder, ISAv is traceable like other influenza's such as Avian flu and H1N1 virus. If you choose to sit quietly, leave the door open to this virus, refuse to test every farm salmon facility (using chain of custody because no one trusts DFO or the province of BC), you should know that if massive mortalities begin, as they did in Chile after an incubation period, Cermaq, Marine Harvest, Greig and you are not going to be able to hide it from the public. Where will you dispose of tens millions of farm salmon, how will you defend the risk DFO allowed to wild salmon, herring and other species? What will your government tell the country about the fact they did not even make this a reportable disease, even as it spread around the world wherever Norwegian salmon farms operate?
It is going to look like someone in Ottawa propped the door open. I know DFO was aware of the risks of ISA for years because I have been informing them for years. The impact of ISAv has certainly been well known for some time. There is no excuse for not demanding reporting.
If ISA virus is in BC and starts killing wild fish, the "Harper government" will be blamed, the 1,250 salmon feedlot jobs in BC will be lost, wild fisheries of several species be at severe risk and no coast has ever gotten rid of ISA virus once it has shown up in salmon farms. If ISA is here these meeting minutes will suggest Mainstream knew about it and opted not to tell the public. If ISA is here do you think Mainstream's shareholders are going to stand by as another country goes down to Norwegian ISA? And then what? They go invest somewhere else and we lose everything?
I can only suggest the courts might show leniency if your response is swift and effective. Perhaps consult with ex-Minister of Fisheries John Fraser and the others who followed policy until Canada lost the North Atlantic cod. I wonder what they would advise? The BC First Nations of the Fraser River and elsewhere will have grounds for legal action, but these companies are protected from lawsuits.
The only way to stop ISA virus, if it is here, is to cull every infected salmon farm, hatchery and fresh water smolt site right now and pray it is not already spread to the wild fish.
If you want wild salmon plan to attend the Cohen hearings in Vancouver August 25 - September 9, yes these dates are very inconvenient but there is no substitute for seeing this for yourself.
You can donate via www.salmonaresacred.org