When I read that the BC Provincial farmed salmon vet found symptoms of a European salmon disease called HSMI this led to:
The response, from Canada and British Columbia, however, has been disturbingly silent.
On August 8, 2008, Dr. Peter McKenzie submitted fresh tissue samples from 4 Atlantic salmon from saltwater pens sited in an undisclosed place on the BC coast. The samples went to the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands for diagnostics. Two of these farmed salmon had died of meningitis complications, but the other two had no obvious cause of death.
Dr. Gary Marty the Provincial vet wrote:
This is ground zero - the first report of HSMI lesions in BC. Unknown in the Pacific it is a growing problem in Norway. I went to supermarkets in BC and bought lost of farm salmon and had them tested for piscine reovirus.
Almost every farmed salmon I have sent for testing has come back positive for the piscine reovirus.
Marine Harvest calls piscine reovirus "benign" even though their 2012 Annual General Report lists the disease HSMI as the number two killer of their fish:
So what is the link between piscine reovirus and HSMI? That is what Twyla's film is about. The scientists in Norway, where Marine Harvest is based, are pretty clear that they think piscine reovirus (PRV) is a cause of HSMI.
One of the helpful things about viruses is that they can be traced, like fingerprints. Remember how H1N1 was tracked around the planet? Using the genetic sequence, viruses can be tracked via a genetic database freely available to scientists. As scientists sequence viruses, they enter the sequence into the database, so other scientists can run a match, like running a match on fingerprints. When a virus is moved into a new region, its sequence begins to change as mutations occur with no connection to the original population of viruses. The genetic sequence begins to drift in a different direction and virologists use this to measure approximately how long a virus has been in the new place. For this reason the paper I co-authored in Virology Journal is able to say that the piscine reovirus in British Columbia farmed and now wild salmon appears to have arrived in BC in 2007, give or take a year. Furthermore, the virus in BC most closely matches a virus sequenced by scientists who sampled an Atlantic salmon in Lofoten, Norway suffering from the disease HSMI.
There is a fish farm company that produces smolts in Lofoten Norway:
But according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, there have never been any imports of Atlantic salmon eggs from Norway, ever.
So where does this leave us?
Remarkably there has been no comment from the federal agency that we pay to protect wild salmon in Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). Google "Fisheries and Ocean Canada, piscine reovirus" and you get Marine Harvest, this blog, Ecojustice and among other things a report by ProMED (International Society for Infectious Diseases) that says:
"Dr. Kristi Miller, Head of the Molecular Genetics section at the Pacific Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), found infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAv) and piscine reovirus (PRV) on 2 other Clayoquot Sound salmon farms late last year . Both viruses are of European origin and deadly to wild salmon. These farms were not culled and no further testing has taken place."
So DFO has found this virus too, and the International Society for Infectious Diseases calls it "European" and "deadly".
Piscine reovirus is known to spread easily and other scientists publishing on it warn that is spreads like "wildfire," and must be contained:
But there is no response from our governments.
Wild salmon need protection from this European virus, and you are the only voices out there that can provide this so please:
Write the Director General DFO, Pacific Region Susan Farlinger and ask her what is DFO's plan to protect wild salmon from piscine reovirus? Click here to send Susan Farlinger and email
Write to the Premier of BC and tell her you do not accept that growing Atlantic salmon infected with a European virus is in the "public interest." The Province of BC is the landlord of the industry and can revoke licences of occupation from the salmon farming companies if it is in the public interest. The Province of BC is looking at granting 5 year licences of occupation in the Kingcome/Knight Inlet region despite First Nation opposition.
Donate funds to keep me in this fight.