The Cohen Commission's rules of confidentiality prevent me from talking about certain documents, but I am forwarding recent media that is in the public domain and not subject to confidentiality. This needs your response. I don't know what ISA virus is doing in BC. Was it always here? Is the avirulent strain here? Did the Norwegian companies import it? Why are farm salmon dying of the lesions of ISA virus? Are salmon farms amplifying it, allowing it to mutate and infecting wild salmon?
What I do know is government has not said anything that reassures me that they are taking the steps to answer these questions. ISA virus was not lethal to salmon in Norway until salmon feedlots gave it the conditions that caused it to become deadly. Increased virulence occurs wherever genetically similar animals are crowded into the feedlots. The unique thing about salmon feedlots is that they pour all their untreated waste, including mutating viruses, directly into most of the wild salmon of the south coast of BC because that is where government let them put their farms.
If the leaked document really says 100% of one run of Fraser sockeye tested positive for ISA virus, we have two very big problems. One, Justice Cohen instructed DFO to provide all documents relevant to the health of the Fraser sockeye and this was not one of them. Two it means we are repeatedly finding this virus in wild salmon stocks that are mysteriously vanishing, such as Rivers Inlet sockeye and salmon dying of unknown causes just before spawning.
If it is true that Fisheries and Oceans withheld information about a virus known to have spread everywhere Atlantic salmon are being farmed I think:
1 - DFO should be suspended from managing salmon farms
2 - a volunteer board of scientists, First Nations and others with deep commitment to maintaining wild salmon should step forward to oversee the ISA virus response
3 - Every hatchery should contact me about how they can test for ISA virus, because I know all those volunteers do not want to amplify this virus. I know you have been told not to give me samples, but I can help you do this yourself. Why wouldn't you want to know? Checking for disease in dead wild salmon is not a federal offense.
Whether or not a criminal investigation should be initiated will have to wait until we hear testimony at the Cohen Commission's special hearings on ISA virus on December 15, 16, 19.
I want to thank ALL of you for your comments and donations and to the dedicated volunteers out in freezing weather who continue to take the highest quality possible samples from the salmon that have died after and during spawning in rivers throughout BC. We are working with two of the best ISA virus labs in the world and my deepest thanks to them as well as they are suffering verbal attack. Those researchers will be appearing at the Cohen Commission special ISA virus emergency hearings. They are traveling very long distances and I am deeply thankful.
Before you look at the ISA virus articles you should also know the industry is failing on the world market and firing people because they cannot afford to raise as many Atlantic salmon. We need to ask if they are a viable industry worth the risk?