"At first, the focus was on eradication of the disease,” Ouellette said. [CFIA]
"We've shifted gears to preventing the spread of the disease and no longer consider eradication as an option."
This means they have lost control of this influenza-type salmon feedlot virus. This turn of events is predictable as it has occurred in almost every region salmon feedlots move into. Most recently it occurred in Chile in 2007, causing the industry $2 billion in losses. Chile has no wild salmon to lose. The pattern is always the same. At first the virus appears controllable, and the industry, wanting to make as much money as possible before it goes deadly, ignores the power of this influenza-type virus and they allow it to mutate into a deadly strain. Then it rips through the industry killing their fish with no attention paid to what is happening to the wild fish outside the feedlots. The trouble wild salmon feedlots is they cannot quarantine, they cannot keep their diseases in their pens because they dump all their raw sewage directly into the ocean through the nets. They never shovel their manure, it pours over the wild fish like a blizzard carried by the tides.
Ominously, the last four ISA virus reports made by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to the Office of International Epizootics (OIE) describe the virus found in the farm salmon as new strain never seen before.
09/02/2012 - Southern Nova Scotia - "Similar to HPR6 with an additional 4 amino acids missing (Sequencing of segment 6 was performed - pending) Emergency harvest, official destruction / disposal" virus isolation reverse transcription PCR positive
19/06/2012 - Newfoundland - "The strain of ISAV has not been reported in the Atlantic region before; it is believed to be a result of contact with infected wild species" entire farm depopulated, did not affect other feedlots in the area, no reporting on the name of this strain. Concurrent with BKD.
12/06/2012 - Nova Scotia Partial sequence of segment 6: HPR not classified; North American this strain has not been previously identified in the Atlantic region - emergency harvest, disinfection of infected premises - concurrent with BKD
26/11/2012 - Newfoundland - "The identified strain have not been reported before. The population is infected with at least 2 strains of ISAV (non-HPR0) one is most similar to HPR6, the other does not demonstrate any particulate similarity to any previously described HPR type" Both considered North American, hypothesized it came from wild finfish. Vaccinated against ISA, 3.8 kg concurrent with BKD and lice infestation.
Despite the spread of a new strain of virus, the federal government agency in charge of the virus in eastern Canada, and the provincial government in charge of the salmon feedlots have decided to:
"... to allow fish, which are positive for infectious salmon anemia, to remain for half a year in their cages and then to be transferred to a different province for processing, points to a change in CFIA policy."
Government has decided to leave a previously unknown strain of the highly-infectious salmon influenza - type virus, which appears to be killing farmed Atlantic salmon in the same ocean where people fish for food. Furthermore, this suggests the salmon coming out of eastern Canada will be ISA virus contaminated. I don't know why the CFIA is not more concerned about people eating a new mutation of feedlot - origin influenza virus.
There have been statements by Dr. Larry Hammell of PEI that this virus will not harm wild fish, but I am not sure if he has tested this new mutation in herring and Atlantic cod:
"This virus doesn't infect other fish species. It certainly doesn't affect other animals that are even cold-blooded and found in these local environments and certainly it's not going that huge next leap to mammals or humans."
This could be the end of salmon feedlots in eastern Canada. If they have a new and deadly strain of ISA virus running the length of the Maritimes, on top of the drug-resistant lice which will serve to help spread the virus and weaken salmon, they are going to have to figure out how to get the U.S. to buy this, and how to get Canadians to eat this.
As well, if Atlantic cod are valuable to anyone in eastern Canada, I think you need to look into this closely. It may be OK to leave millions of ISA virus infected salmon in the water, but it also might be the last bit of abuse thrown at them by the governments of Canada before they vanish once and for all.
The United Fisherman’s and Allied Workers Union UFAWU published a newspaper called THE FISHERMAN. This publication chronicled the arrival of salmon feedlots onto the BC coast. Writers like Geoff Meggs extensively quote politicians and bureaucrats, policy documents and public consultation. It is a record of how government brought this industry in swiftly with no public consultation, in full expectation that it would take the place of the wild fisheries, do away with the common fishery resource, and require heavy foreign investment. They knew it existed outside the Constitution of Canada, because they could not figure out who owns the salmon inside the pens. The government gave the salmon farmers eggs from public hatcheries, even as those stocks were dwindling. They granted foreshore leases at a rate of one per day. They saw the conflicts with aboriginal title to fish, but plowed ahead regardless. They refused to assess environmental impact and they knew it would not make jobs.
The Social Credit government started this, but the industry continued to grow seamlessly when the NDP came into power. It made no difference, everyone stuck to the plan which openly stating “The days of common property fishing are over. ”
This was a cruel ambition that would affect hundreds of thousands of people throughout rural British Columbia on the coast and on the Fraser River watershed.
I was living in a quietly prospering coastal community off the grid, beyond the highway systems, no phones, no ferry. We were self-sufficient. Salmon feedlots came at us out of the blue. They were an invasion. I have been operating on the premise that salmon feedlots must have been an honest mistake, an attempt to benefit places like Echo Bay. But the record below contained in THE FISHERMAN demonstrates otherwise. In this blog all text contained within quotation marks comes from THE FISHERMAN, everything within brackets [ ] are my additions. The bold text is my voice.
Today, there are less than 10 people left in Echo Bay, the school is closed, the fishermen moved away, the salmon-eating whales were driven out, sportfishing has been largely abandoned and there are 27 Norwegian feedlots. After reading the material below all I can see is that this was no mistake everything went to plan.
April 19, 1984, “More than 200 biologists, civil servant, fish market and hopeful entrepreneurs gathered in a penthouse ball room high above Vancouver last month to see the Science Council of Canada unveil a discussion paper designed to lay the groundwork for a Canadian aquaculture industrial development plan.”
‘We must act now or lose a commercial employment opportunity, task force member David Saxby told the gathering. Science Council representative, Ann Levi, urged all present to submit their [illegible] quickly because we want to get this industry launched as soon as possible.”
“The days of common property fishing are over.”
It was noted that Mowi [Norway’s dominant farmed salmon producer in 1984] “... was built on the strong financial backing it received from Norsk Hyrdo, the country’s major utility.”
“... the [Science Council] task force estimating that only one person-year of employment is generated for every 20 tonnes of production, it is clear that salmon farming of 30,000 tonnes of salmon would employ only a fraction of those now employed in the industry.”
“... some aquaculturalists see ‘traditional dependence on conventional fisheries’ as an obstacle to their plans for growth and development.”
“A major requirement is legislation to establish property rights in fish produced ...”
Report to the B.C. Science Council by Envirocon, “... aquaculture operations will never be a major employer...”
“Encouraged by the lack of restrictions on the industry here, Norwegians began to invest heavily in Sunshine Coast salmon farming. Not only could they develop lager farms here with less interference by the government, but they could use their Canadian investments to reduce their taxes in Norway.” Bright Seas, Pioneer Spirits
Right from the start, government was informed that this new industry was not going to make jobs, would require strong offshore investment and existed outside the Constitution of Canada and thus “property rights” for this industry would require new legislation. They openly discussed shutting down fishermen, replacing them with foreign – “owned” farm salmon. And below they recognized aboriginal title as a problem.
March 15, 1985 “High levels of foreign investment, heavy automation, costly government support, commitment to ocean ranching and privatization of the Salmonid Enhancement Program may all be necessary to build a B.C. aquaculture industry says the Science Council of Canada.”
The report calls for: “private ownership of the fisheries resource, a decisive move away from wild stock fisheries and creation of a highly-automated, highly concentrated harvesting and processing sector.”
“The Science Council tackles the fundamental issue of ownership of the fisheries resource head on, stating that the basic problem is ‘common property of the resource.’”
“At stake are staggering profits for those who wind up in control.” “Fishermen can be shut down to enhance wild stocks while aquaculture takes up the slack.”
“But the council warns that serious problems, including aboriginal title to fish, stand in the way of full development. It urges the consultation with Indian people to avoid claims that ‘future settlements may be jeopardized.’”
“...tax dollars should be funneled in through investment Canada, the council says.”
“...salmon farmers ‘feel the tide turning in their favor in the wake of the Fraser pledge to encourage the Federal Business Development Bank into the swim.”
Aug. 16, 1985 “... in Victoria the Social Credit government has embraced fish farming with open arms and is encouraging farms as fast as they can be set up. A financial package for potential farmers which would allow them to borrow up to $300,000 from the bank under a government loan guarantee is being considered.”
“As well there has been a hurried restructuring of the government agencies in charge of fish farming and the appointment of Jim Fralick as provincial aquaculture co-ordinator.”
“Both governments are unclear about the jurisdiction question since there is no law to indicate who should cover the area...Perhaps one insight comes from Ibec’s Scott, who said the province told him he didn’t need any federal permit to proceed.” “That type of attitude is prevalent in the province among one individual.” Hunter responds [George Hunter, DFO].”
“When questioned on the rapid rise in the number of fish farms and the foreign corporations involved, Hunter replied, ‘ Of course the industry is determined by the political structure it grows in and the kind of political structure we have right now encourages this type of development.”
That was a fascinating comment.
Aug. 16, 1985 “DFO, which has had its budget slashed by more than $100 million, is transferring already scarce resources and staff to this new industry. With the number of farms tripling this year and as many more waiting approval, even DFO admits more resources will be needed for fish farming.”
“There was no consultation at all with the traditional users of the resource before fish farming was allowed. More recently the DFO allowed a foreign corporation to import Atlantic salmon eggs to B.C. without a discussion with the rest of the industry.”
“More than one million chinook eggs will find their way out of public hatcheries in 1985 to private farms. Is this the same DFO which is cutting back chinook fishing for the fleet and screaming about conservation problems.”
“The public was not asked if they wanted a foreign-invested industry to displace the commercial fishery that populated and fueled towns the length of the coast and on top of that, eggs the public had paid for, were going to go to this industry, not to the public fishery, even as that fishery was declining. If "the days of common property fishing are over” I suppose taking the fish away from the public was not a surprising move.
Dec. 12, 1986 “In 10 years the industry is likely to be mostly foreign-owned companies offering relatively few employment opportunities to the people of B.C. ” confidential memo, DFO aquaculture co-ordinator George Hunter who reportedly left DFO and took a job with a fish farm company shortly after this comment.
Amid prediction that diseases would be imported, there was evidence this was already underway. I lived among the Ibec feedlots and disease outbreak discussed below. Immediately furunculosis struck the local enhancement facility hard, but DFO assured me repeatedly it was just a coincidence.
April 18, 1986 "The Rockefeller-owned Ibec arm operation near Port McNeill has already imported eggs from a Scottish hatchery which provided eggs now blamed for a disastrous disease outbreak in Norway. ...Rob Bell Irving cited correspondence from veterinary inspector Paul Midtlyng disclosing that eggs certified as disease-free at the Scottish hatchery were responsible for an outbreak of furunculosis which threatened the stock at 28 [Norwegian] fish farms.” Bell-Irving’s point was that BC received eggs from the same hatchery.
While Canadians were supporting enhancement of public fish with their tax dollars believing they were increasing their public fishery, government was giving those eggs away to the private fishery they were trying so hard to create to replace the public fishery.
May 21, 1986 “In 1985, the department [DFO] supplied 3.8 million chinook eggs to the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association. DFO sold the eggs for one cent each, Hunter said, but the association resold the eggs to its members for seven cents each for coho and 12 cents each for chinook.” “We give the industry a kick start and when its up and running we get out of the business [Hunter].”
Sept. 19, 1986 Regarding zoning salmon farms away from wild salmon rivers to protect wild salmon from feedlot diseases. There was no research done despite enormous concern voiced by DFO’s own scientists (see my previous blog "Silenced") and others about the certainty that exotic disease from Atlantic salmon eggs was a high-risk threat to wild salmon. Not only that, a tiny salmon feedlot no go zone of one-half mile from salmon bearing streams was identified as a big problem for the salmon feedlots. “The one-half mile [no farm zone] was pulled out of the air” [George Hunter DFO’s head of aquaculture]. “He said DFO was on the verge of taking the recommendation to the province, where Halsey said the change would have a dramatic effect on fish farming. He said they would consider such a request seriously but would not have to necessarily implement it.”
“Despite Conservative party promises of funding for Phase 2 of the Salmonid Enhancement Program, there has been no funding. Millions of salmon eggs are being diverted from public hatcheries to fish farmers yearly... Most major farms are backed by foreign capital.”
“Farms in Norway are limited to an estimated 70 tons, but already in B.C. some farms can produce 300 tons and plans are on the board for farms which can produce 1,000 tons.”
“Only those with no interest in protecting the commercial fishery and the thousands of jobs in it would suggest we continue to let the farms grow at this rate.” John Radosevic (UFAWU)
“Halsey said the foreign ownership of the farms was not an issue for the provincial government.”
Feb 12, 1987 “Aquaculture egg purchases from the public hatchery system are skyrocketing, warned troller Bob Grant, while commercial catches of the same stocks are being cut. ‘If this continues there will be nothing left of the Salmonid Enhancement Program.”
“SEP is being reduced to producing a cheap supply of eggs for salmon farmers.”
“If we’re not careful we won’t have a common property fishery in this country. We will be privatized out of existence” Bill Procopation UFAWU.
“Since 1980 more than 23 million chinook eggs have gone to the farmers. The greatest number of eggs, however have been coho which totaled more than 40 million during the same period.”
“So far in 1987 the farmers have received 494,000 steelhead eggs.”
“Estimates suggest that there are 5,000 eggs in each chinook on average and 2,500 eggs in each coho. Using these figures, more than 2,800 chinook and 5,000 coho reached the hatcheries, but were used for fish farmers.”
In 1988, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Canada and British Columbia to further benefit the feedlots. It includes a disturbing guarantee to BC wild fish as food for the feedlot salmon, along with public hatchery eggs. Where is all the food coming from that is being shipped in barges to the feedlots weekly from Vancouver? Is it, as this MOU suggests, coming out of BC waters? Who has control of the quotas if it is a “requirement” that DFO consider the feedlot demands? Similarly this MOU required DFO to make salmon eggs available to the industry. After all if the government’s view was that “The days of common property fishing are over.” why release those eggs into streams, there was no visible commitment to enhance public salmon.
Oct 1988 “While the future of SEP grows dimmer, the commitments to aquaculture increase. MOU signed by BC and Ottawa last month guarantees the farmers a feed supply, egg supply, genetic materials and one-stop shopping on licensing through provincial authorities.”
“For fisheries policy-makers the appeal of aquaculture does not lie in its ability to produce food. They like the fact that it opens the way to maintain existing fish production while wild stocks fall victim to dams, logging, offshore drilling and a host of other problems.”
This is a very significant statement and gives a person pause. Is this why the “The days of common property fishing are over,” so dams, logging, offshore drilling can go forward more easily? Indeed there are more private power applications, than private fishery applications. Are these two private industries linked through compliant governments?
Sept. 16, 1988 “It takes a step toward provision of property rights for fish farmers by prohibiting the harvest of fish in an aquaculture facility without consent of the owner.”
”... a requirement that DFO consider aquaculture fish meal requirements of the aquaculture industry when developing policies “to optimize the allocation, harvest and utilization of fish stocks and fish offal.”
“... a requirement that Canada and BC “negotiate annually the quantity of salmon eggs to be made available to the aquaculture industry.”
Salmon feedlot leases were handed out against the will of regional governments and First Nations, not to mention the general public, fishermen and residents who wee displaced by the industry.
June 23, 1986 “The provincial government, through the Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing, has been approving salmon farm sites in the past three months at the rate of more than one every working day.” “Even though we were forecasting growth in the industry, the ministry cut our budget by 60 percent ... we’ve also been reorganized and downgraded from a branch to a section. This has cut down our ability to respond.” [All these applications were being reviewed by 5 people.]
“Real estate promoters are actively involved in the boom.”
“The president of Saga, Thor Mowinckle, a pioneer of the Norwegian industry, told a Norwegian trade publication, ‘This may be a case of over investment.”
Oct. 1986 "B.C. Indian leaders, angered at the news that more than 700 aquaculture leases have been issued by the province say the “Social Credit government will ‘have hell to pay’ for its handling of the industry.”
“This is pre-emption of traditional lands, Nyce [Nisga’a Tribal Council]”
“... an Indian organization had expected to benefit from aquaculture development, one Indian spokesperson said later. Instead, traditional Indian harvesting areas are being lost to foreign investors.”
April 18, 1986 “Despite growing fears of coastal communities, Marine Resources Branch [Provincial Ministry of Environment] Gordon Halsey has neither the resources nor the inclination to study the environmental impacts of the new industry, unless the pollution will affect the industry itself. Halsey, the key figure in the provincial government responsible for salmon farm approvals, described himself as ‘an advocate of the industry’ whose job it is to put salmon farmers ‘on firm footing’.”
“...the regional board [Sechelt] moved to delete aquaculture from the permitted land and foreshore uses in the developed area of the coast.”
“Coast guard representative John Duderman said most applications ‘are scratched out on the back of an envelope” and farmers sometimes seek locations in the direct line of navigation. Yet in more that 100 permits sought in the past year only one is known to have been rejected.”
“Although the Department of Lands, Parks and Housing consults the public on leases, it is not allowed to consider environmental factors.”
“To randomly approve projects without respect for local governments is pure bloody arrogance, “ longtime Sunshine Coast resident Will Bulmer told the seminar, “... I foresee a decline in the local sport fishing industry as well as the commercial fishery.”
Will Bulmer was right.
Feb. 12, 1987 On October 31, 1986 Premier Vander Zalm imposed a moratorium on new licenses, but the lands ministry was allowing permits to be issued if there were “prior commitments” including mere verbal ones.
“The news of the moratorium sent shock waves through the fish farming industry and stunned prominent civil servants who had no warning of the policy change.” Kamloops lawyer, Brian Gillespie was contracted to review and report on the state of the industry in 30 days. He was given no research staff and no budget to bring in expert witnesses. His partner in his law firm was reportedly close to the Social Credit government.
Dec 12, 1986 “The Gillespie report into the BC salmon farming industry performed the required political job for the Social Credit government by recommending an early end to the moratorium on issuance of salmon farm licences.”
“But Gillespie’s other 51 recommendations amount to an indictment of the government’s total negligence in regulating the industry.”
Just seven days later Agriculture and Fisheries Minister John Savage released 200 permits from the freeze, without implementing any of the recommendations – this is a theme that stretches into the present with recommendations from one salmon farm review after the next ignored, including the $26 million Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of the Sockeye Salmon for the Fraser River.
June 23, 1986 "Protests from the “well-healed ”cottage-owners in Howe Sound on Keats Island, many of whom are “well-connected to the Social Credit Party” slowed the gold-rush down with a moratorium on leases in Howe Sound".
Because the Constitution of Canada does not allow for private ownership of fish in the ocean, nor privatization of ocean spaces, salmon feedlots in BC have always lurked in a legal grey zone. Eventually, I took Canada, BC and Marine Harvest to BC Supreme court where BC provincial management of salmon feedlots was struck down. Despite this ruling, provincial governments are still in charge of salmon feedlots in eastern Canada, as if eastern and western Canada are two different countries with different laws. Marine Harvest appealed the BC supreme court decision with a specific challenge to the notion that they don’t own their fish. This appeal was not heard and it remains an open question – who does own the salmon in the Norwegian pens in BC, and feedlots in eastern Canada? Rather a fundamental question to the shareholders in this industry. What are the assets of this industry, a heap of nets and aluminum pens? The foreshore leases perhaps?
Here are the decision documents:
Download Judge Hinkson, re British Columbia (Agriculture and Lands), 02-09 copy 2.pdf (314.9K)
Download Judge Hinkson, re Morton v. British Columbia Supplementary (Agriculture and Lands),01-26 copy.pdf (209.4K)
March 25, 1988 “According to Michael Coon of the ministry’s aquaculture section, his department is considering a package of regulations for fish farmers including one to establish a property right in their fish.”
“Fish farmers want a clear property right to fish inside their pens. Historically fish have been considered wild animals and thus common property. If a property right is declared, the fish can be used as collateral.”
But with property rights would have come the question, “Can a fish farmer be sued if he causes pollution?”
“And what of the un-extinguished Indian title? B.C. aboriginal groups claim ownership of all marine resources.”
Letter to the Editor March 25, 1988 from Kevin O’Neill, Bella Coola
“When I learned the minister of fisheries had agreed to permit representatives of the BC Aquaculture Assoc. to harvest wild chinook salmon eggs on the nearby Atnarko River, as well as, several other provincial rivers, in spite of the fact that escapement targets had not been reached on many of these rivers in 1987 I was shocked.”
April 16, 1989 “Salmon farming remains in a legal grey area, effectively undermining the common property fishery.”
It seems significant that despite all that went on: getting access to leases, wild fish to make pellets, public salmon eggs, government guaranteed loans, etc., that no one has figured out how to give the salmon feedlot corporations clear ownership their fish “clear property rights to fish inside their pens” did not happen. Perhaps one of the many federal bills being passed into law contains a clause that will finally change Canada’s Constitution in this regard. Or perhaps with ownership came too many problems?
Salmon feedlots were strong-armed onto this coast by the Social Credit government and its supporters, and the NDP railed against it, until they formed government.
April 16, 1987 "NDP Convention Toughens Fisheries Aquaculture policy “The aquaculture industry is like a freight train with failing brakes on a downhill grade.” Resources committee member Arnie Thomlinson
But when the NDP took power in 1991, that freight train really picked up speed, the brakes removed. And “The days of common property fishing are [indeed almost] over.” The plan laid out by the Science Council in a ballroom in Vancouver is almost complete. Salmon feedlots in BC were no mistake. They are the plan, carefully tended and assisted by government for 28 years.
Now that the threat of exotic viruses has become reality, DFO and the province of BC have fallen silent. If the wild salmon of BC die from these viruses, will some be raising a glass, toasting a job well done? Because as long as you have wild salmon swimming freely past the communities of British Columbia, “common property fishing” will continue and as this has been slated to stop.
What government can’t do, is make people eat farm salmon. Salmon farming in Canada is not profitable at the moment. The big Norwegians are posting losses quarter after quarter in their Canadian feedlots, the value of their product is too low the price is too low
The domination of salmon feedlots over the wild salmon fishery of Canada is clearly the product of a political decision that has been cultivated by several governments. This was done in broad daylight, so Premier Clark and Adrian Dix can only think this is what British Columbians want. In case anyone still thinks this is about jobs, BC Stats suggests as the export value soared the people in the small coastal communities, did not benefit, the number of jobs never changed. This economy is not about us. “At stake are staggering profits for those who wind up in control.”
If you don’t want wild salmon killed off by salmon feedlot disease I suggest you tell the political leaders in British Columbia right now. Or else they will likely carry on with this plan and “The days of common property fishing are over.”
Tell the Premier you don't want BC sea floor to be leased as salmon feedlot dumpsites
Communicate to the stores selling farm salmon, that you are not going to buy it.
Donate so that we can communicate this information in case people want wild salmon
Dear Colleen Dane (BC Salmon Farmers Association)
In response to your BC Salmon Farmers Association posting yesterday, I am curious how your association can say the placement of salmon feedlots on wild salmon migration routes is a "myth?" http://www.salmonfarmers.org/active-salmon-farm-map-shows-small-footprint
According to your map there will be active salmon feedlots in the narrow passages off Campbell River where the majority of Fraser sockeye will be out-migrating. There are active salmon feedlots along the migration routes of the Glendale, Kakweikan, Ahta, Wakeman, Kingcome and Embly rivers in the region between Knight and Kingcome Inlets. Then there are more salmon feedlots along the mainland shoreline and the islands across from Port Hardy where virtually all east Vancouver Island salmon will be out-migrating. Along west coast Vancouver Island, all the salmon exiting Quatsino, Nootka and most of the salmon exiting Clayoquot will also be swimming through the blizzard of feces that come out of each feedlot because your members are perhaps the only farmers in North America who refuse to shovel their manure.
Please explain how your map suggests the wild salmon of BC are not running a gauntlet through salmon feedlot pathogens.
And for the record I cannot believe your Association can be still repeating that billions of larval lice in inshore waters are "naturally-occuring." Any louse hatched from an Atlantic salmon is unnatural. Are you saying farmed Atlantic salmon in BC have no lice?
Also please send a break down of the where the 6,000 jobs are exactly, because Aquaculture North America (volume 2 issue 6 2011) reported Marine Harvest (the biggest salmon feedlot corporation using BC to raise fish) cut staffing and cut production by 30% in 2012 and 2013. In the Marine Harvest Annual Report: "The first action was to reduce the smolt stocking by 3.8 and 7.5 million smolt for 2011 and 2012 respectively."
I believe your feedlots hold 600,000 fish, so this means approximately 12 fewer sites were stocked in BC in 2012? Or do you have 1,000,000 fish per site? In any case, 7.5 million fewer Marine Harvest fish in the water in 2012 is going to translate into fewer jobs in the processing plants, etc this year and next. Your 600,000 jobs is a from a Price Waterhouse Coopers 2007 report, I now question it accuracy.
It does not look like Marine Harvest's outlook has improved since 2011 "Analyst: Marine Harvest earnings 'major disappointment" INTRAFISH-yesterday Jan 16, 2013. And it doesn't look good for the two other Norwegian companies using BC waters to raise their fish "Marine Harvest Americas result points to weak Q4s for Cermaq , Grieg (undercurrent news, Jan 16, 2013 )."
So please provide your answer to how the map in the above link suggests BC wild salmon are not swimming through a gauntlet of salmon feedlot feces and how the industry can possible have the same number of jobs with 7.5 million fewer salmon in the water?
In the 1980,’s British Columbia’s 1st salmon feedlot developers decided it would be good for them to import Atlantic salmon. Atlantic salmon were the money fish, known to survive intensive feedlot operations. The Steelhead Society of British Columbia, United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union, BC Ministry of Environment, even members of the federal fisheries salmon transplant committee, and the Director General of Fisheries and Oceans, Pacific Region strongly opposed import of Atlantic salmon eggs. They all cited concern that exotic diseases would accompany these shipments. It would appear they were right, but now as this evidence mounts – everyone has fallen silent. There are now just a handful of individuals still standing and I have no doubt we will also be silenced unless others take a visible stand.
1986 – “I trust that you and your staff fully appreciate that this question of the introduction of exotic races of salmonids into British Columbia is probably the most critical issue ever to face the maintenance of wild salmon stocks.” Director, Dave Narver, BC Ministry of Environment to Bruch Hackett Assistant deputy Minister MAFF
1991 – “I want to formally state this agency’s opposition to changing the Federal-Provincial policy on the import of Atlantic salmon eggs” Narver to Chamut
1986 – “I am disappointed with what appears to be the prevailing attitude of a number of companies that fish health regulations to protect wild stocks are great, but give us an exception... If we continue the way the aquaculture industry seems to dictate, we can expect to introduce new diseases... Which company is prepared to be accountable for the introductions of VHS, IPN, IPN or Whirling disease to British Columbia” Narver to Dale Blackburn, Sea Farm Canada, Inc.
When Gordon Campbell was elected premier of BC, the Ministry of Environment was cancelled, Narver’s group was disbanded, and a huge voice was silenced. That was the end of a voice within the BC government working to protect the wild salmon and trout of British Columbia.
Opposition to salmon feedlots was silenced in many ways. The opposition by Canada’s federal fisheries to Atlantic salmon imports was silenced by the threat of trade sanctions, real or imagined, if the salmon feedlot industry did not get its way.
“In 1990, the US West Coast Salmon industry complained that the 1987 ‘British Columbia Policy on the Importation of Atlantic Salmon into British Columbia’ constituted a barrier to trade.” Draft Briefing Note for Deputy, Nov. 22, 1991
1991 “... The proposed revisions not only open the window indefinitely, but essentially allow for unlimited numbers of eggs. I know your Department argues that this has to be done to avoid a Free Trade ruling... Let us stick with the existing policy rather than revising it to the point that it defeats the very purpose that we implemented in the first place.” Dave Narver Director, MoE to Pat Chamut, DFO Director General Sept. 30, 1991.
The Director General Pacific Region, Pat Chamut pushed back hard against egg imports.
1990 – “Continued large- scale introductions from areas of the world including Washington State, Scotland, Norway and even eastern Canada would eventually result in the introduction of exotic disease agents of which the potential impact on both cultured and wild salmonids in B.C. could be both biologically damaging to the resources and economically devastating to its user groups.” DFO Director General, Pat Chamut to Director Pacific Rim & Trade, A. Sarnia
Chamut understood the risk.
no date – “Unlike terrestrial animals, where complete containment and isolation is possible, fish are difficult to contain as well as isolate. Once an infectious agent becomes established in a wild population of fish, it is impossible to eradicate.” Pat Chamut, Director General DFO signed statement
Chamut was the highest-ranking DFO official in British Columbia, but the decision came down from somewhere to override him. Wherever Pat Chamut is now, I would like to thank him for trying and to let him know he was right. I would also like to say please consider weighing in again.
A Director General previous to Chamut did manage to stop import of Atlantic salmon directly from Norway:
“DFO Pacific will not approve any requests for importation of Atlantic salmon originating from continental Europe until more is known about Hittra disease.” Jan. 10, 1985 letter from C.W. Shinners, Director General DFO to E. Anthony, Assistant Deputy Minister provincial Ministry of Environment.
But I don’t think it mattered that we did not get Atlantic salmon “directly” from Norway.
The Mowi strain was established from many Norwegian Rivers.
“Two unique strains of brood stock, Mowi and McConnell, are used at MHC. To date they have been reared as separate brood lines and only crossed as production fish.” link
“Stofnfiskur distributes salmon eggs of the SAGA stock (a mixture of the old Mowi and Bolaks Norwegian strains) Irish Sea Fisheries Board Aquaculture Newsletter, B.I.M.” BC has received nearly 8 million Stofnfiskur eggs since 2004,
even though it does not meet the Canadian Fish Health Protection Regulations.
“Two BC salmon farming companies wish to import Atlantic salmon eggs from Stofnfiskur, an Icelandic company which is not certified under the Canadian Fish Health Protection Regulations (FHPR).
Failure to provide permission for egg importation may trigger a trade challenge under the World Trade Organization...” Oct. 3, 2003 Briefing Note For The Director General
Dr. Gary Hoskins, a federal Fish Health Officer for DFO in Nanaimo also tried to protect BC salmon from European disease.
“In summary, the risks of introducing an infectious agent with Atlantic salmon eggs is high, as well as real, if large, repeated shipments are allowed without protective measures beyond those offered by CFHPR [Canadian Fish Health Protection Regulations]” Memo by Dr. Gary Hoskins, July 13, 1991.
Some in DFO seemed to be moving in an entirely different direction.
1985 – Minutes of November 6, 1985, meeting of the Transplant Committee at Nanaimo “Dorothee Keiser outlined the contents of a letter that she proposed to send to all salmon farmers. It exempts them from a requirement to seek Committee approval for transplants of salmon eggs and juvenile salmon...”
The Fishermen’s Union, UFAWU was a very strong voice of concern about salmon feedlots, and not afraid to name them.
“The Rockefeller-owned IBEC farm operations near Port McNeill has already imported eggs from a Scottish hatchery which provided eggs now blamed for a disastrous disease outbreak in Norway” THE FISHERMAN April 18, 1986
Indeed, those IBEC feedlots were operating around my home in Echo Bay. A massive furunculosis outbreak occurred in the feedlots and then in the local coho hatchery. The ten-year average mortality in Scott Cove Hatchery was 3%. During the IBEC furunculosis outbreak 28% of the broodstock died and antibiotics were required to keep the rest alive – for better or worse.
IBEC “... operated on the premise that a private American business corporation that focused on developing the basic economies" of developing countries could turn a profit and encourage others”, but IBEC sold out immediately after the outbreak started to Norwegian Stolt and stopped salmon farming in B.C. When the Stolt representatives met with my community of Echo Bay, in Bill Proctor’s home, they said the dying farm salmon had been infected before entering seawater. By the winter of 1994, no one could catch a resident chinook salmon, the fishing lodges began to close and the community of Echo Bay slid into decline. Today there are 27 Norwegian feedlots, our school is closed, there are less than 10 residents. We were silenced. They took over.
“The B.C. Wildlife Federation, with its 30,000 members, supports the fishermen’s stand and strongly urges you to reconsider your position of importing atlantic salmon eggs for the benefit only of fish farming in B.C.” Letter to the federal Minister of Fisheries from Stewart W. Reeder, B.C. Wildlife Federation Nov. 15, 1985
All these men came out swinging without even knowing about the looming threat of the salmon flu-like virus, ISAv, the Norwegian heart-wasting virus, PRV or Salmon Alpha virus – but they were right. When you added exotic viruses to the already challenging life of a salmon – you decrease the chances that stock will make it home. And recalling viruses may be impossible.
Dr. Brian Riddell is the former DFO Science, Division Manager, Salmon Assessment and Freshwater Ecosystems and now CEO of the Pacific Salmon Foundation. Riddell wrote the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada in 2009, before we all learned DFO scientist, Simon Jones was sitting on ISA virus positive results in 100% of the Cultus Lake sockeye tested:
“...Morton makes a comment that is very serious given the current situation with ISA around the world...if there was ever an application of the precautionary principle...this should be it! The comment in Alex’s letter that is very troubling to me was “there is no ‘strong evidence’ that it travels in the eggs (this is a quote from Minister’s Shea’s previous letter to me)” ...assuming the context of this quote is correct then it is clearly contrary to Canada’s commitment to the precautionary principle...a lack of ‘strong evidence’ can not be used as an excuse. ...I chose to emphasize Ms. Morton’s point as the risk to wild Pacific salmon is real and unnecessary” Nov. 2009 email from Riddell to Minister of Fisheries Gail Shea.
Riddell is clear. The Minister’s position that BC was safe from ISA virus was ill-founded. I remain hopeful his Pacific Salmon Foundation, will inform its partners, which include government agencies, salmon enhancement groups, restaurants, lodges and banks, about the threat suggested by the positive test results coming from government and university labs for three European viruses. I remain hopeful the PSF will lend a hand to ensure there is no further interference in the ongoing non-government work to determine the state of European salmon viruses in BC. The PSF would also be doing B.C. a valuable service to make it clear that hatcheries must allow non-government lab testing. Hatcheries have the potential to spread and alter these viruses, they HAVE to know, they cannot operate in the dark, it would be irresponsible to all Canadians. When did salmon disease become a federal secret?
Many of B.C.’s biggest environmental organizations united under www.farmedanddangerous.org to protect wild salmon from salmon feedlots. At first there were powerful messages from this organization. http://www.farmedanddangerous.org/media-publications
After years of effort, the deal died on the table, apparently Marine Harvest reneged on the agreement:
“Georgia Strait Alliance, as part of the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform recently sent a letter to Marine Harvest Canada informing them that we are no longer part of the Framework for Dialogue as a result of MHC’s decision to cancel their closed containment pilot project and to unilaterally pull out of a near-completed Benefit/Cost Analysis comparing the pilot project to their net-cage salmon farm operations. While there have been some positive gains through the course of the working relationship, our commitment to work constructively towards solutions has been met with endless stalling and eventual reneging on agreements on the part of Marine Harvest” http://www.georgiastrait.org/?q=node/1069
Exhausted and their funds used-up, these groups were silenced. If you are a member of this organization please support them in picking up this issue again. If we allow these viruses to mutate, spread and infect wild salmon year after year, we can only expect the collapse of BC wild salmon. We should know better by now than to allow influenza-type viruses to pour out of feedlots into the wild over a valuable food resource.
In 1985, the Steelhead Society of British Columbia was part of the fight. Rob Bell-Irving wrote to the provincial Minister of Environment;
“roughly 65,000 Atlantic salmon eggs by Norwegian Enterprises Inc., and an application for roughly 1.2 million Atlantic salmon eggs by Pacific Aqua Foods. ... the now public Deepwater Bay fiasco, does little to assure The Steelhead Society that the disease issue associated with these regrettable importations is [not] at all well in hand.” Rob Bell-Irving, President, The Steelhead Society of BC to BC Minister of Environment Dec. 28, 1985
April 29, 1985, Dr. Gary Hoskins, Fish Health DFO wrote an email also expressing concern over a 1985 importation:
“Although the contents of the attached letter are based on suspicions only and no action can be taken against [blanked] you should be made aware of the information. If nothing else it reinforces the need for the required quarantine of European Atlantic salmon imported into B.C. and restrictions on the number of shipments allowed.”
“The second shipment mentioned by [blanked] entered Canada March, 19, 1985. I issues the required [blanked] verbal assurance that the shipment consisted entirely of eggs from the certified [blanked].
”In view of the content of this letter I plan to increase surveillance of the [blanked].”
Why did Dr. Hoskins, DFO, see a need to increase surveillance and was he successful in preventing the threat he saw? Millions of Atlantic salmon poured into BC after this memo.
Thank you Dr. Gary Hoskins for what you tried to do, I wish they had listened to you.
Many of the small community groups trying to restore wild salmon stocks that are swimming among the feedlots now have Norwegian salmon feedlot corporations on their boards and listed as supporters. You can see Marine Harvest on the Tsolum River Restoration Society’s “Wall of Fame”. The BC Salmon Farmers Association supports the Oyster River Enhancement Society. Grieg Seafoods gave $114,000 to the tiny Nootka Sound Watershed Society in 2008 and put two people on the board. The Campbell River Salmon Foundation lists Marine Harvest and EWOS as sponsors Marine Harvest has been donating equipment to many hatcheries, hopefully well sterilized. These small organizations are hard-working and very well intentioned, but as DFO abandons them, they increasingly need the money. Hatcheries across BC have closed their doors to independent disease testing. They don’t want to, or are not allowed to know.
We could also add Justice Bruce Cohen to the list of people who government refuses to hear. The Federal government called a review on what has happened to the Fraser sockeye. The Cohen Commission into the Decline of the sockeye of the Fraser River made many recommendations directly related to salmon feedlots. Canadians spent $26 million on this review, and there has not been any response from any level of government.
Almost everyone who spoke against Atlantic salmon entering BC has been silenced. And it continues. The Province of BC was set to pass a law last year that would have made disease reporting in farm animals punishable by 2 years in prison and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has asked the Office of International Epizootics to strip the lab reporting positive results for European viruses in the samples I am taking from BC rivers, lakes, the ocean and supermarkets. Fortunately, both of these actions are on hold for the moment.
For any out there who can hear me, are you up for picking up where everyone else failed? Should we take one last stand, before admitting defeat? While all of the people I name above failed to alter the course we are on, they stood largely alone and without the science to back them up.
I invite the Steelhead Society, BC Wildlife Federation, Pacific Salmon Foundation, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, the UFAWU, the enhancement societies and streamkeepers to contact me and find out what is really going on with these viruses. The media are not accurately representing the situation. I understand if you have doubts, but if we are going to protect wild salmon from this, it is important that you have the facts as they stand.
Salmon disease has become a federal secret. It is inconvenient to free-trade. Narver, Riddell, Chamut, and Hoskins, were all in senior positions - in charge of protecting wild salmon when they said don’t let European salmon diseases into B.C. The more I test salmon in BC the more I agree with them.
1985 –– “It is our opinion that while the risk of exotic disease importation accompanying any single shipment of eggs from abroad is small, the cumulative risk from unlimited introductions in the future is large. Therefore, we recommend that Atlantic salmon imports should be allowed for the next 6 years.” Internal DFO memorandum George Hunter to Dick Beamish and A Wood
1985 – “Although the content of the attached letter are based on suspicions only and no action can be taken against [ crossed out ] you should be made aware of the information. If nothing else it reinforces the need for the required quarantine of European Atlantic salmon imported into B.C. and restriction on the number of shipments allowed.” Gary Hoskin DFO Fish Health Officer, BC to W. Shinners Director General, Pacific Region
1989 – Minister’s Briefing Note by David Narver, MoE, “The first confirmed occurrence of Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis (IPN) in net penned Atlantic salmon located at the Rosewall United Fish Farm, Vancouver Island... A working committee has been established to determine where this virus came from and most important, where these fish have been distributed to, i.e. other B.C. farms... To date this issue has been kept confidential... This situation is extremely serious.”
1990 – “I have established that only McConnell strain of Atlantic salmon meet your criteria. As this stock is well-represented in British Columbia there is little value in further imports of this strain for broodstock purposes. On the other hand, the well quarantine Bolaks strain from Iceland fits the industries; requirement to introduce some Norwegian blood into our stocks in BC. Unfortunately their stock by your criteria fail because of isolation of the ubiquitous bacterium Aeromonas salmonicida". Ted Needham BC Packers, to Gary Hoskins, DFO Fish Health Officer, BC
1990 – “A potential sale of a large number of coho eggs by Little Bear Bay Fish Farm (near Campbell River) to a company in Chile required a fish health inspection. Consultants reported a high degree of infection of IHN. Transplant Committee will likely approve future transplant applications for this stock” 24 March 14, 1990 Transplant Committee meeting, Nanaimo.
1991 – “Pat, hatcheries which currently are raising Atlantic salmon do not comply with their licences and escapes are occurring now” Director, Dave Narver, BC Ministry of Environment to Director General DFO, Pat Chamut
1991 – “In 1990, the US West Coast Salmon industry complained that the 1987 ‘British Columbia Policy on the Importation of Atlantic Salmon into British Columbia’ constituted a barrier to trade.” Draft Briefing Note for Deputy
undated – “Policy for the Importation of Live salmonids into the Pacific Region – After March 31, 1987 no further shipments of Atlantic salmon will be permitted”
1992 – “... I understand that DFO and Agriculture and Fisheries have now acknowledged that Atlantic have been found returning to several streams on Vancouver Island... My understanding is that there is no question that Atlantics can hybridize with brown trout and rainbow.” Earl Warnock, MoE to Gerry Armstrong Deputy Minister
1992 – “Apparently the industry is having IHNV epizootics in 150gm saltwater Atlantics. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food is not giving out information, but DFO believes that the losses are high and that the location is roughly ‘North Island’ I think that it is very poor of MAFF not to inform other agencies, particulariy given that it is spawning/migratory season for many Pacific Salmonids.” Sally Goldes to Harvey Andrusak
1992 – Subject: Further News on IHNV in Atlantics “DFO believes (this information however has not been confirmed by MAFF) that the affected Pens are owned by Canada Packers at the Rosewall Site.”
1992 – regarding IHN at the Rosewall United Hatchery “I am concerned that your staff have continued to make themselves available to the media on an issue which we had decided to address internally...offers an opportunity for his hatchery stocks to be examined by our lab at no cost in 1993. Such testing would give Mr. Engest a clear opportunity to have his hatchery announced free of a perceived disease. I had earlier proposed that following the tests, this ministry issue a news release announcing the results.” G.R. Armstrong, Deputy Minister BC MAFF to Gerry Armstrong MoE.
1993 – “Last winter three separate stocks were imported for a total of about 0.5 M eggs. In the case of the Irish stock from Fanad, I seriously doubt if there was any understanding of the stock’s genetic background” Narver to Chamut March 29, 1993
1993 – In a statement from the Provincial Minister Environment Plasmacytoid Leukemia is reported for the first time in freshwater. The infected juvenile chinook salmon were in two fish farm hatcheries discharging into the Salmon River. The Ministry of Environment expresses concern for the “unique run of large, highly-prized steelhead as well as chinook, coho, chum, Dolly Varden and cutthroat. The hatchery operators have agreed to destroy the most heavily infected pond of fish, The remaining three ponds of fish have a very light infection (one in thirty fish sampled). DFO is recommending these fish be released to sea-pen sites where MA has been identified in the past.
• The use of any additional lakes for commercial aquaculture may have to be reviewed”
1995 – “As an aside, there was a recent escape of Yukon River Chinook from a salmon farm in the Clayoquot area. These fish are unmarked and thus cannot be recognized as farmed fish.” Minutes of the fish transplant committee meeting Jan. 5, 6 Vancouver
1986 – “I am disappointed with what appears to be the prevailing attitude of a number of companies that fish health regulations to protect wild stocks are great, but give us an exception... If we continue the way the aquaculture industry seems to dictate, we can expect to introduce new diseases... Which company is prepared to be accountable for the introductions of VHS, IPN, IPN or Whirling disease to British Columbia” Dave Narver to Dale Blackburn, Stolt Sea Farm Canada, Inc. (one of the first Norwegian companies to use BC waters for their feedlots, later bought by Marine Harvest)
Very good point Dr. Narver. Which fish farm company is prepared to be held accountable?