On June 5, 2015 the federal government of Canada and Marine Harvest appealed our precedent-setting Federal Court decision that struck down aquaculture licence conditions allowing private companies to transfer fish infected with viruses into net pens in our ocean.
This is so disappointing and speaks to the depravity of the situation. I am prepared to go back to Court to defend wild salmon and fight this appeal. With DFO and Marine Harvest trying to resurrect unlawful licence conditions to allow transfer of infected fish into the major wild salmon migration routes of this coast, it certainly begs the question: Is BC's farmed salmon industry dependent on farming with diseased fish?
Scientists gather against government scientist report
Earlier this year 8 scientists from three prominent Canadian Universities wrote a on a report written by BC government scientist Dr. Gary Marty, suggesting that pathogens from farmed salmon are only a minimal to wild salmon. Download Comment on G Marty document The 8 scientists sent their report to the BC government. Six weeks passed, the BC government did not even acknowledge the critique - there was complete silence.
On June 12, the scientists went public and that is where it really gets interesting. Here is the first article posted on the Vancouver Sun web page. Download Scientists Dispute of provincial report. It is one page long and includes this paragraph:
"To make that argument, Dr. Marty...has used the literature very selectively and improperly and in some cases he has misquoted or miscited information. These are cardinal sins in academia. His entire approach is very biased and presupposes the conclusion before he presents the evidence for it."
Very quickly, the article was removed from the Vancouver Sun website and when it reappeared moments later this paragraph had been removed. Note at the end of the article (see PDF link above) the Vancouver Sun and the scientists report - no response from the Province of BC.
However, by the next day the story had been rewritten again it is now two pages long now and this time it includes response from the BC Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick. He is:
"confident that Dr. Marty is able to present scientific evidence on this issue in an unbiased and professional manner with due consideration of all information; indeed, this is a requirement of his position and professional accreditation."
For six weeks Letnick could not be bothered to respond to 8 top scientists on the forefront of research into impact of farmed salmon disease on wild salmon, from three different provinces, but within hours of this report being made public Letnick manages to pop up to assure us all is fine.
I am probably one of the very few people who has read hundreds of fish health reports written by Dr. Gary Marty. Dr. Marty changed my life. His detailed, precise, referenced reports on what he found in farmed salmon in BC caused me to begin testing farmed salmon for viruses. He was very forthright about seeing lesions associated with serious salmon farming diseases such as Infectious Salmon Anemia, Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation, and Salmon Alphavirus. He reported some of these over and over year after year. Today, many labs seem in agreement with this body of his work, except Dr. Marty's own lab, where these reports originated from! These pathogens and diseases cannot be interpreted as low risk to wild salmon.
How we arrived in the current situation is a mystery to me. The man who was bold enough to run the warning flag up the pole again and again reporting that he was seeing the classic lesions associated with Infectious Salmon Anemia - the most lethal virus known to salmon - is now sitting alone in defense of a position that the scientific community of BC strongly rejects. If the Cohen Commission had not released Dr. Marty's reports none of this would be public, the massive amount of work being done on farmed salmon disease today, would not be happening. But Justice Bruce Cohen did release Dr. Marty's reports and I have to wonder about the many things that have happened since.
More reporting on the state of BC's juvenile wild salmon
On June 6, I got an alarming report on the condition of sockeye on the Fraser River wild salmon migration route. There were young sockeye off Campbell River, among the salmon farms, with large red, open sores. I got there the next day and with the help of four wonderful people got a closeup look at the horrible wounds.
Jody Eriksson and Farlyn Campbell set the purse net and brought the fish into view
Tavish Campbell then took pictures so others could see what we found.
I don't know what is wrong with these fish, but if there is no interference, we will find out and let you know. They do not appear to be predator wounds, because there is a progression of symptoms from dark bruising, to open skin and then deep wounds exposing the spinal chord.
April Bencze took incredibly sharp pictures of the sea lice infections, you can see below how these gravid female salmon lice have worn away the scales that should be protecting this young salmon from disease.
In this incredible shot, you can not only see how the louse is eating away this young salmon's skin, but also that her egg strings are in the process of hatching 100s of baby lice - one of those gifts that keeps on giving...
This poor sockeye has it all - cataracts in her eyes, a sea louse peeling off her skin and whatever it is eating down into her flesh.
I don't think salmon farms are low risk to wild salmon of BC. I am headed back to the ongoing sea louse outbreak in the Broughton to see how those young wild salmon are doing.
If you want to help, please consider a donation. The link is on the upper right of this page, or you can write a check to the non-profit: Pacific Coast Wild Salmon Society, Box 399, Sointula, BC V0N 3E0. I am sorry there is no tax-receipt available.