Dear Minister Ashfield
I would suggest you stop treating us like fools. Your attached letter is grossly inadequate. Download Initial Request for 2011-001-03100.pdf (440.4K) Show us your Moncton test results because your lab is the only one that cannot find ISA virus. I would also suggest you stop obsessing over the quality of the River Inlet samples and go out and get your own samples. You have an entire department at your disposal.
Yesterday I received yet another set of positive ISAv results for salmon of the Fraser River. Download Report231111.pdf (15.9K)
You can stop calling the 1st Norwegian tests a "negative" result. Be more accurate and call them what they are - a weak positive. Download Report 021111.pdf (22.0K) You can't wave a magic wand and make black white.
I want to see Dr. Gary's Marty's PCR results. Don't just tell us he tested 5000 fish and got a negative, you need to tell us what segment and what probe, we need details because you are risking our fish with your actions.
As for Dr. Laura Richards, she personally petitioned to waive the Canadian Fish Health Protection Regulations in 2004 so Atlantic salmon eggs could pour in from an unapproved hatchery. That is why her words are meaningless to me. Download 2004 Fish Health1.pdf (2176.3K)
There is no reason BC would not have been contaminated by ISAv. Your department left the door wide open! You did not include ISAv on the hatchery import forms, likely because no one can actually sign a document saying there is no ISAv in Atlantic salmon eggs - the virus is that widespread. Your department did not even make ISAv a reportable disease in salmon farms, even as the same companies as use BC waters triggered a massive ISAv epidemic in Chile. This is unconscionable.
Shame on you. As we face grave uncertainty over introduction of the most lethal salmon virus known, you give the salmon farming industry a million dollars to go to trade shows so they can peddle their wares while we pay for the consequences.
In my opinion, Mr. Ashfield you, predecessors and key members of your department belong in court for reckless behaviour risking the most generous gift the people of British Columbia receive every year. You are not here to see communities of people, whales, eagles, bears come to life when the salmon come home. They are much too valuable to be risked by vacuous statements by the likes of you. Either stand up strong and fight for our fish or step down Mr. Ashfield.
Hundreds of British Columbians go into the rivers every year to fight for the wild salmon. We work for the wild salmon because we understand their value and we are not going to let you take this away from us. As hundreds of thousands of sockeye salmon died every year in the Fraser River, before spawning, your department would not give your own scientists the money to find out why and when they came up with a very strong theory you starved them further for funds and locked their voices away from the media. And yet you throw money to the foreign owned salmon feedlot industry.
Please resign and take your senior Pacific Region staff with you. Remove the Pacific Biological Station from political clutches so that they can do the work that needs to be done. We need some people at the helm who want wild salmon to survive and you sir have shown no such ability. Step away from our fish.
Dr. Alexandra Morton