8 came back positive for the salmon heart virus (piscine reovirus)
7 came back positive for Salmon Alphavirus.
7 tested positive for bothThis is the first-ever report of Salmon Alpha virus in BC although there is a single report by Dr. Michael Kent, of the disease it causes, Pancreas Disease, in Atlantic farm salmon being raised in BC in 1987. The reason I asked the lab to test for these European viruses is because Dr. Gary Marty, the BC farm salmon vet, reported lesions in farm salmon that caused him to include Salmon Alphavirus in his reports to Mainstream and Marine Harvest on at a least 6 occasions from 2007-2009. He cites this paper. One of these cases was in the Broughton Archipelago in 2009 at the Mainstream, site Maude Island. Salmon Alphavirus is not a "reportable disease," but it is killing salmon and trout in Norway, Scotland and Ireland. Chile has requested that it be listed as a reportable pathogen and has also requested permission from the World Trade Organization to block import of eggs from regions with Salmon Alphavirus. I don't know how this virus got into these steelhead raised in Lois Lake BC near Powell River. The eggs were reportedly from the Trout Lodge . The Lois Lake facility reportedly rears imported Atlantic salmon eggs for Atlantic salmon operators in BC. recognized as serious pathogens of farmed Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout in Europe. SAV 1 is the causative agent of pancreas disease (PD). SAV2 is the causative agent of sleeping disease of rainbow trout. SAV 3 has only been detected in Norway (as of 2007) causing Pancreas Disease in Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout.
Pancreas Disease is spreading in salmon farms the length of Norway. Marine Harvest was recently instructed to slaughter an entire farm in Norway by June 20th (Intrafish June 8). There were 90 cases in 2011 and the virus has spread to 8 farms in northern Norway this year (Intrafish May 31, 2012). Salmon Alpha virus survives well outside the fish drifting through the water spreading the infection.
Chile became extremely alarmed when rumours of Salmon Alphavirus popped up there in 2008.
In 2009 Chile wrote to the WTO asking for permission to ban egg imports from countries known to have Pancreas Disease. This is a problem for countries trying to protect themselves from disease in Atlantic salmon eggs. Canada has expressed fear of trade sanctions if they refused to allow companies to import eggs even from hatcheries that do not meet Canada's standards. In January 2011, Chile made an application to the OIE to have pancreas disease listed as "reportable" but the OIE declined. Scientists and industry debate whether it can be moved in the eggs. (See page 13 of document)
Both Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout are susceptible to this disease. Sea lice, and other wild fish may spread the disease.
Where did these farmed steelhead come from?
Fairway Markets told us they source their steelhead from a trout farm in Lois Lake. West Coast Fish Culture (WCFC) reports it is a family owned business rearing 600 tonnes of steelhead a year in a hatchery and Lois Lake. The facility exists within Sliammon Territory. WCFC is one of the six members of the BC Salmon Farming Association.
In 2004, WCFC made a joint application with Marine Harvest for a marine farm site at Raven Bay, Texada Island, but stiff opposition from the Sliammon Nation, Texada Islanders and Georgia Strait Alliance blocked the application.
West Coast Fish Culture states it is not a “Certified Disease Free Facility.” The steelhead from this facility are a "recommended" Ocean Wise product.
In addition to raising steelhead, WCFC also raises imported Atlantic salmon eggs on contract to Atlantic salmon farm companies. In 2007, 1,000,000 Atlantic salmon eggs were delivered to West Coast Fish Culture (Lois Lake) Ltd, BC. (Dec 8 2009 email from an Icelandic hatchery to Cindy Wong at DFO).
I am at a loss to understand how the federal and provincial agencies tasked to protect wild salmon and manage farm salmon did not find any of these European viruses. The Provincial Ministry of Environment's Dave Narver, Harvey Andrusak, Earl Warnock and others were warning the Province of BC throughout the 1990s. Dr. Gary Hoskins of the Pacific Biological Station was warning the federal government in long detailed memos that the door was wide open for disease from Atlantic salmon eggs. Pat Chamut, the highest ranking DFO officer in BC tried to stop the Atlantic eggs saying they would bring exotic viruses, but he could not stop this either.
How is it, Dr. Stewart Johnson Head of Aquatic Animal Health for DFO, Pacific Biological Station that you never found salmon Alphavirus, piscine reovirus or the ISA virus? Stewart.Johnson@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Dr. Gary Marty I believe your work more than you do - you saw all these viruses, you were my guide to look for them but you turned the other way and now you fight me every step of the way. But I only confirm what you saw.
What about you Dr. Jones, you have been deeply involved in sea lice, ISA virus and salmon farming. Was there ever a niggling of doubt that viruses from the Atlantic might not be good for the Pacific? Was there ever a moment you considered speaking from your experience to safeguard the wild salmon that make life so abundant on this coast?
If you want to help -
Come forward with information about what is really going on, on these salmon farms
Donate to pay the lab bills at GoFundMe
Send a message to the supermarkets that you don't want to eat these viruses petition
Mr. Backman you testified under oath that no exotic viruses have entered BC in farm salmon. How is it possible labs are now finding one after the next only a matter of months later?
Dr. Mark Sheppard - how is it you briefed the Provincial Minister of Agriculture that ISA virus would have to come from the wild fishes because live Atlantic salmon eggs have never been imported to BC? How did all the Atlantic salmon get here?Download ISA Confidential BCP1001938.pdf (491.2K)
For decades I have been asking you and others to please be careful as you ploughed ahead despite the warnings and warning signs, pouring Atlantic salmon into BC through long snaking hoses.... Is that how all salmon will migrate in a few years from now? It is devastating to learn no care was taken at all. Below are the infected fish. Lets hope you have the next steps figured out, lets hope the wild salmon and steelhead are not dying of these European diseases as I write.
I cannot understand how you could do this, all of you. Is there no one among you with the guts to stand up right now and shoulder some of this? I don't see an honest effort to protect BC's wild salmon from farm salmon disease.If you want to help: Come forward with information about what is really going on in these farms Help us pay for these extremely expensive lab tests using the Go Fund Me at top of page Send a message to the supermarkets that you don't want to eat these viruses