The New York Times is on to the story in no time:
Advocates for wild salmon said Friday that a deadly virus had been detected again in a Pacific salmon in British Columbia, but it was not clear if it would prove lethal to the fish population.
The finding, like one involving two juvenile wild sockeye salmon in British Columbia, poses questions for the viability of salmon fisheries in Canada and the United States. Scientists have expressed concern about the emergence of the virus while raising questions about complications, including scientific doubts about the quality of the tests.
In its active state, the virus, infectious salmon anemia, has devastated Atlantic salmon populations in fish farms in Chile and elsewhere. Salmon advocates have long worried that the virus could spread to wild populations, but it not clear whether Pacific salmon are equally susceptible.
In documents released Friday, an adult coho salmon supplied by salmon advocates to a prominent laboratory showed signs of carrying the disease. That fish was reported to have been found in a tributary of the Fraser River, a critical salmon run for fishermen in Canada and the United States.
Last week, researchers from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and elsewhere said that they had discovered the virus in 2 of 48 juvenile fish collected as part of a study of sockeye salmon in Rivers Inlet, on the central coast of British Columbia. The study was undertaken after scientists observed a decline in the number of young sockeye.
Such a virus could have a deep impact on the survival of salmon in the Pacific Northwest. Some scientists have suggested that the virus had spread from British Columbia’s aquaculture industry, which has imported millions of Atlantic salmon eggs over the last 25 years.
Salmon farms and wild fish are separated only by a net, many have noted. No treatment exists for the virus, which does not spread to humans, scientists say.
The crowded conditions of salmon farms are thought to abet the spread of the virus.
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Ivan reports on it over at his blog:
|Alexandra Morton speaking at a press conference at SFU last week.|
The New York Times reports on a second case of ISA – this time in coho salmon in the Fraser River system.
Brace, people. We have an ISA pandemic in BC.
In rivers, streams, and coastlines, people are collecting salmon samples and sending them for virus testing – because the government won’t do it.
And every time we test, we will find more positives of that virus. And more. And more.
Until the structure collapses under the weight of its own incompetence and corruption. We will see the end of a mode of governance.
DFO as an institution is finished. Large transnational fish farm corporations will flee the country in shame, leaving ecosystems in ruin. And the Province of BC will lose whatever may be left of its legitimacy.
It’s called the salmon revolution.
May the wild salmon survive this terrible, yet necessary, crisis.
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Quite impressive, that Alex suggests in her presentation (photo above) that there have been over 1000 reports of “classic” ISA-type lesions reported in BC since 2006.
And yet salmon farming advocates, the industry, and government officials (including some that comment on this blog) continue on the denial train. Or, question legitimacy of results, or people involved, and so on and so on.
Although there are some in the industry that have certainly said: ‘if ISA is here, then we’re in deep, deep shit’
See the thing is that I can’t figure out… if there’s any hint that ISA is here, why wouldn’t the industry (and the governments that continue to provide it immense amount of funding under the guise of ‘research & development’) jump into code RED.
One could draw an analogy to the ‘codes’ that the US government and others use to suggest ‘terrorist’ threats.
And these are just ‘threats’… not actual positive tests per se…
See, like ISA outbreaks in the business of farming salmon (e.g. just read about the 70%-80% losses suffered in Chile in 2008), ‘terrorist outbreaks’ can be rather devastating to economies (and psyches). Thus, many governments at the mere ‘threat’ of something like terrorist activity, issues various warnings and takes immediate action — and warns everyday average folks of potential threats.
I don’t want to go too far down this analogy, however, I think one can pick up my gist…
Now, sure, this is where government and industry folks will start quoting how many farmed salmon have been tested in the last few years for ISA and how those tests were “negative”.
Like anything though… ‘negative’ test results, does not imply “absence”. (look at the fuss over drugs and blood doping in the sport of bicycling, for example… negative tests, do not necessarily mean ‘absence’).
I would think for the sheer protection of investment that shareholders of Marine Harvest and others would be demanding much more intense ISA testing following the issues in Chile. I would think that government officials, both Provincial and Federal, would be doing everything possible to ensure that ISA is not in salmon farms or in wild populations — if anything, to also protect their hundred(s) of millions of dollars in investment.
(but also maybe to do what they’re supposed to… protect natural ecosystems).
There are still many ‘shoes’ to fall on this issue… but it could get real ugly yet. Or… maybe like many of the ‘terrorist’ warnings issued in recent years in North America, caution might just seem pragmatic.
Yet the official line from the federal government? question the messenger, and delay, delay, delay.