Dear Minister Ashfield;
On October 25 you published a letter in the Vancouver Sun saying the ISA virus has not been confirmed:
Below is an email forwarded to me today from a member of the public from the bcsalmonfacts.ca website. When you visit this site you see it is sponsored by:
The BC Salmon Farmers Association
In the email below, the author with an email address from this site says: “Regardless of proof, this news is of concern to BC salmon farmers. Although this particular strain of ISA is of a non-pathogenic genotype (non lethal), the Atlantic salmon is quite susceptible to certain strains of ISA.”
Minster Ashfield, how does the industry know this is the “non-pathogenic genotype” ISA virus?
The bcsalmonfacts.ca email author seems not only assured that this is ISA virus, but also has more information about this than appeared on the Kibenge report. Is this information coming from your Moncton Lab? Please confirm whether the federal government knows if the ISAv genotype found in the two Rivers Inlet sockeye salmon is of the non-pathogenic strain.
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2011 19:55:25 -0700
Subject: Re: Contact Us Form
Hi Toby, the goal of this website is simply to present the facts and create discussion about salmon aquaculture in BC. And yes, we believe that by giving people the chance to discuss the benefits and risks about BC salmon farming that it will improve perception of our business.
We disagree that the Cohen Commission “showed how scientists were being suppressed”. We can only assume that you are referring to Dr. Kristi Miller, and would suggest that you read the Cohen Commission transcripts on the days when Dr. Miller testified. http://www.cohencommission.ca/en/Schedule/Transcripts/CohenCommission-HearingTranscript-2011-08-25.pdf#zoom=100
Regarding the ISA, researchers at Simon Fraser University allege the Infectious Salmon Anemia virus (ISAv) has been discovered in two juvenile sockeye salmon taken from the freshwater river system of Rivers Inlet area. The test results are now being verified by the CFIA.
Some activist individuals and groups have been quick to finger BC farmed salmon as a vector for this disease, but it’s very important to note that BC farm-raised salmon has been thoroughly tested for the presence of the ISA virus. Almost 5000 samples have been tested over the past 8 years right up until last week. All tests have been negative – that is, no ISA has been found in BC farmed salmon. http://www.commissioncohen.ca/en/Exhibits.php?num=15 (exhibit #1471)
Regardless of proof, this news is of concern to BC salmon farmers. Although this particular strain of ISA is of a non-pathogenic genotype (non lethal), the Atlantic salmon is quite susceptible to certain strains of ISA. Studies have shown ISA is of low risk to Pacific salmon “Pacific salmon species are at relatively low risk should ISA spread to the west coast of North America” (Rolland and Winton 2003). http://www.commissioncohen.ca/en/Exhibits.php?num=15 (exhibit #1464)
So, knowing that BC farmed salmon are not the source of the virus we encourage researchers to learn more about what was potentially discovered and how, if it is actually present in juvenile sockeye, it may have spread to BC. For more information: http://www.salmonfarmers.org/update-suspect-findings-isa-british-columbia
The most recent update (October 21st) from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Minister of Agriculture and Agrifoods Canada confirms that these initial ISA test results are now being verified by federal officials through established processes. Concerns over proper testing protocols have also been brought into question. Please see this article for more info: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/media/statement-declarations/2011/20111024-eng.htm
Lastly, like any good farmer, BC salmon farmers will grow our fish wherever we can viably meet the needs of our fish and our business – be that on land or in ocean. To reads our statement on “closed-containment” farming, please see this: http://www.bcsalmonfacts.ca/forum/#!/752208e9b5
BC Salmon Facts