I am writing to file an official complaint regarding what I see as misleading comment by your employee, Dr. Gary Marty, to the public in the Globe and Mail today.
Dr. Marty is quoted suggesting that a limited VHS outbreak could be "actually good…" for herring populations in BC.
While Dr. Marty appears to be quoting scientific research, he does not know if this is a "limited outbreak" and he omits the recent and relevant results in a paper co-published by DFO (attached) that reports that VHS can infect Atlantic salmon and "spillback" into wild populations causing 100% mortality in herring in 3/4 trials.
Given that these herring were observed in an area surrounded by Atlantic salmon farms to the south, east and north, it is my opinion that Dr. Marty should have added comment regarding this high relevant and alarming finding by DFO. The CFIA reports there are salmon farms infected with VHS http://www.inspection.gc.ca/animals/aquatic-animals/diseases/reportable/2013/eng/1360390270607/1360390361782
"3.3. Experiment 3: transmission of VHSV from Atlantic salmon to herring
Transmission of VHSV from Atlantic salmon to sympatric Pacific herring was indicated by 100% mortality and recovery of VHSV with titers exceeding 1 106 from herring sentinels in 3 out of 4 immersion replicates."
This paper openly notes that: "herring biomass in salmon netpens can measure in the tons in some salmon farms (unpublished observation, K. Garver)"
I am requesting that DFO and/or the province of BC follow up and correct Dr. Marty's quote in the Globe and Mail. The governments of BC have the responsibility to inform the public accurately about a resource as valuable as herring. It is unethical in my view to suggest that herring bleeding throughout their bodies could be "actually good." I would also like to know how the DFO and the Province of BC, who are responsible for the siting of each salmon farm, have responded to VHS in salmon farms and the recent DFO finding that this can potentially cause 100% mortality in BC herring.