Monthly Archives: November 2011

Canadian government suppressing science on Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) on Pacific Coast?

This issue of the ISA virus (ISAV) on the BC coast, is most certainly not going anywhere. There’s a report flying through the social media circles that the Department of Fisheries & Oceans was aware of the potential for significant evidence of ISA in Pacific Salmon.

Here is an email string and the approx. 7-year old report that suggests ISA was rather prevalent in the Pacific Salmon sampled.

The researcher involved, Molly Kibenge, is asking Dr. Simon Jones, in the Aquatic Animal Health Section of DFO to publish her research from 7 years previous that demonstrated she found significant presence of ISA in wild Pacific salmon.

Dr. Jones concludes in his email response just over 2 weeks ago  (CFIA is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency):

 

So here is credible, scientific evidence suggesting that the ISA virus was lurking in wild Pacific salmon and DFO is still in deny, deny, deny.

This research is now almost 10 years old, and it’s still deny, deny, deny.

And in the response from Dr. Fred Kibenge, Dr. Molly Kibenge’s husband essentially saying we’ll disclose this information notwithstanding its age…

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It could very well be that there are still issues to be ironed out on the ‘scientific’ testing and cultures, and so on and so on… However this does not discount the simple fact that the federal agency, and at the time in 2002 the BC Provincial Government, did not have a responsibility to share this information with the public — and to outline what the action plan was to ensure that all scientific protocols were being followed to confirm presence or absence of ISA, and what would be done in the future if it was discovered.

The thing with salmon farming and ISA is that it’s just not a matter of “if” it is always a case of “when”… just like any other kind of farming. If we raise domesticated animals in close confinement, it is only a matter of time before disease breaks out. And all we have is mitigating measures… antibiotics and otherwise, often without the required testing to ensure human and other animal safety.

Here’s the full email string and older report of Dr. Kibenge.

Dr. Kibenge ISA report_DFO response

Here’s also a blog post out of Seattle from the Seattle Weekly:

Deadly Salmon-Virus Tests Kept Secret for Years by Canada, Leaked Documents Say

Stay tuned for the heat to be turned up on this issue as the Cohen Commission has a special hearing in mid-December.

Something smells all too fishy… feed lot fishy.

California Tribe Hopes to Woo Salmon Home

A New York Times article from last year. I’ve mentioned this story in various places. A First Nation on the Sacramento River is traveling to New Zealand to invite wild salmon back. Many years ago, Chinook eggs from the Sacramento River were taken to southern New Zealand.

They took… and now southern New Zealand has an active Chinook sport fishery – and the Sacramento…?

California Tribe Hopes to Woo Salmon Home

SAN FRANCISCO — On Friday night, more than two dozen Native Americans embarked from here on a spiritual mission to New Zealand, where they will ask their fish to come home to California.

The unusual journey centers on an apology, to be relayed to the fish on the banks of the Rakaia River through a ceremonial dance that tribal leaders say has not been performed in more than 60 years.

The fish in question is the Chinook salmon, native to the Pacific but lately in short supply in the rivers of Northern California, home to the Winnemem Wintu — a tiny, federally unrecognized and poor tribe supported by some Social Security payments, a couple of retirement plans and the occasional dog sale…

read more at the Times.

 

Do you see the difference?

Do you remember that old ABC laundry soap commercial? “Do you see the difference?”

Well, I ask it here…

Out of the U.S. the other day, and specifically a Senator from Washington State:

Cantwell Salmon Virus Amendment Headed to President for Signature

Thursday, November 17,2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate passed legislation authored by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) that calls for an investigation and rapid response plan to prevent the spread of a potentially deadly salmon virus. The Cantwell salmon virus amendment passed both the Senate and House on Thursday as part of the minibus appropriations bill (H.R. 2112).

The legislation, backed by all eight U.S. Senators from the West Coast states of Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska, now heads to President Obama for his signature.

The virus, recently detected for the first time in Pacific wild salmon in Canada, may pose a threat to the Pacific Northwest salmon fishing industry and the coastal economies that rely on it. Cantwell has called, along with Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) Mark Begich (D-AK), for the U.S. government to test the Canadian samples to independently confirm the presence of the salmon virus.

And yet in Canada, nothing but denial, spin, and cover-up.

Government agencies failing to protect wild salmon

By Ruby Berry, Vancouver Sun November 22, 2011

Recent reports of the presence of the deadly ISA virus in B.C. wild salmon seem to have alarmed everyone except those meant to be taking care of the wild salmon.

Rather than taking immediate measures to determine the extent of this threat, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency leaped to discredit the findings and assure international markets that all is well in Canadian waters. Unfortunately, their claim rests on inconclusive evidence and degraded samples.

Instead of launching an emergency investigation into this potential disaster, the federal government has announced a million dollar grant to the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance for international advertising. It appears that the health of B.C. waters, and the wild salmon is not the priority of the federal government after all.

Do you see the difference?

With the potential mass implication of ISA on the Pacific Coast, shouldn’t our government at least be taking even more precautions?

What if it was SARS again? or polio, or something similar…?

Wouldn’t there be special task forces, more public inquiries, various lock downs, tests, etc.?

What if it was Mad Cow, or foot-&-mouth disease…?

Avian flu?

I think we could all safely say that ‘denial’ would not be the main course of action…

 

Mackenzie Valley pipeline: 37 years of negotiation… proposed BC pipelines?

inspired by good 'ol Far Side

It would seem that things may heat up on the BC “pipeline” front… or already have.

This article out of the Calgary Herald the other day (right in the heartland of oil and gas country…)

Pipelines face fight from B.C. First Nations

The blockade of a crew trying to access land near Smithers, B.C. to plan the proposed Pacific Trail pipeline by a group of First Nations people last week is a glimpse of what’s to come as the oilpatch rushes to export energy through Canada’s westernmost province to Asia.

Several thousand kilometres of oil and gas lines are planned for B.C., which has widespread unsettled land claims and very few treaties. The oilpatch is encountering the difficulty of pushing projects through territory in legal limbo.

Some First Nations bands have backed developments, to reap the rewards of employment and financial compensation, but others promise to halt the race to get natural gas and oil to Canada’s West Coast for export to Asia…

… Figuring out just which groups to talk to can prove difficult for energy firms in a province with scant treaties.

“Once there’s certainty that certain lands are treaty settlement lands, industry knows who they have to deal with,” said chief commissioner Sophie Pierre of the B.C. Treaty Commission, which facilitates negotiations between the B.C. government, Ottawa and B.C. First Nations.

“Right now, there’s uncertainty,” Pierre said.

As Enbridge looks to build its 1,200-kilometre, 525,000-barrel-per-day Northern Gateway oil pipeline from Bruderheim, Alta. to Kitimat, B.C. – to the tune of $5.5 billion – it will encounter overlapping land claims in B.C., a thorny issue to tackle.

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It seems maybe some folks don’t read, or look at history… Folks within the oil and gas industry must remember the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline — all too well…

Here’s a CBC story from January of this year discussing some of the history, and current situation with the proposed pipeline.

Mackenzie Valley pipeline: 37 years of negotiation

The proposed gas pipeline from the Beaufort Sea to markets in southern Canada and the United States was billed in the 1970s as “the biggest project in the history of free enterprise.”

It was up to a Canadian judge, Mr. Justice Thomas Berger of British Columbia, to examine the impact of the pipeline on the people who lived in its path.

Dene Chief Frank T’Seleie vowed to stop the pipeline in 1975…

…On May 9, 1977, Berger’s report was released in Ottawa. Significantly, Berger titled his report Northern Frontier, Northern Homeland, for above all he wanted the world to know that though the Mackenzie Valley may be the route for the biggest project in the history of free enterprise, people also live there.

Berger warned that any gas pipeline would be followed by an oil pipeline, that the infrastructure supporting this “energy corridor” would be enormous — roads, airports, maintenance bases, new towns — with an impact on the people, animals and land equivalent to building a railway across Canada. Some dismissed the impact of a pipeline, saying it would be like a thread stretched across a football field. Those close to the land said the impact would be more like a razor slash across the Mona Lisa.

The hard news of May 9, 1977, was Berger’s recommendation that any pipeline development along the Mackenzie River Valley be delayed 10 years, and that no pipeline ever be built across the northern Yukon. The pipeline was delayed far longer than 10 years.

By early 2004, the push to get the pipeline built was gathering steam but then met resistance as negotiations between governments, potential pipeline builders and native groups stalled. Those obstacles began to be resolved later that year. And on July 18, 2005, the federal government announced it would spend $500 million over 10 years to address the socio-economic issues of the northern First Nations.

As it stands today, three of the Dene nations have now settled land claims in the area and are entitled to a one-third interest in any project. The nations include members of the Inuvialuit, the Gwich’in and the Sahtuwill and are collectively known as the Aboriginal Pipeline Group.

Regardless, the plan is still years from development. Imperial Oil has until Dec. 31, 2013, to make a final decision on whether to proceed with the pipeline at all, although it has asked the NEB for three more years to decide.

Should the company decide by 2013 to go ahead, construction would start in 2014 and production would start in 2018. The project’s estimated price tag of $16.2 billion has ballooned from $7.5 billion prior to 2007.

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Essentially, Thomas Berger recommended no pipeline building until treaties and indigenous land claims were settled. He estimated ten years for that at the time… the pipeline is still not built and seems the costs are ballooning every year.

Do oil execs not do their research on these sorts of things…?

I suppose one could suggest that they do — however arriving in town with blank cheques is probably not the answer…

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This same approach of trying to bulldoze development projects through un-ceded land (e.g. no treaties or land settlements) rings loudly in the recent BC government far-fetched idea of developing at least eight new mines in BC before 2015.

Without even commenting on the state of world stock markets and commodity prices right now… this cliche: bull-in-a-china-shop approach in fact ends out costing everyone far more in the long run: reviews, court cases, blockades, lines-in-the-sand, etc.

There are different ways of going about things… far different ways…

Gee, this headline sounds familiar: “Chevron Brazil oil spill may be bigger than thought”

from CBC article

It’s civic election todays in BC, and in many northern-western BC communities there has been much discussion about the potential of Enbridge driving an oil pipeline from Edmonton-area through the Prince George area, and right through the centre of some of the best remaining salmon spawning habitat in BC (including the upper Fraser and upper Skeena watersheds).

Here’s the latest PR for big oil companies coming out of Brazil. Have you heard this one before?

Chevron Brazil oil spill may be bigger than thought

What if…?

is really all one needs to ask…

and yet the rhetoric of jobs, jobs, jobs, will continue on… especially as the Environmental Assessment hearings regarding Enbridge’s proposed “Northern Gateway” pipeline start early in the New Year.

 

 

“Road to Nowhere” — Come on inside… takin’ that ride to nowhere..

Talking heads...management institution...

To really appreciate (or maybe not) this post you need to have this link, with music going in the background…

This is an old popular song from the band Talking Heads: “Road to Nowhere

.

 

http://youtu.be/JtdBtZOG17E

The lyrics for the song start like this:

WELL WE KNOW WHERE WE’RE GOIN’

BUT WE DON’T KNOW WHERE WE’VE BEEN

AND WE KNOW WHAT WE’RE KNOWIN’

BUT WE CAN’T SAY SAY WHAT WE’VE SEEN

AND WE’RE NOT LITTLE CHILDREN

AND WE KNOW WHAT WE CAN’T

AND THE FUTURE IS CERTAIN

GIVE TIME TO WORK IT OUT

.
We’re on a road to nowhere

Come on inside

Takin’ that ride to nowhere

We’ll take that ride

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See… the thought process behind comes from this definition of “management” :

definition of management?

“… to manage oneself as a pre-requisite to attempting to manage others…”?? (hmmm)

(including other things…?)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

“Management,” rather obviously comes from the root: “manage”:

"to manage"...

.

Much of the thought process for this line of illustrations came from school research, and reading an essay by Edward Said, an English literature academic, professor and critic: “Said was an influential cultural critic and author, known best for his book Orientalism (1978).”

This from his collection of essays “Reflections on Exile” and the essay “Opponents, Audiences, Constituencies, and Community“:

The most impressive recent work concerning the history, circumstances, and constitution of modern knowledge has stressed the role of social convention… for example, the shift of attention away from the individual creator to the communal restraints upon personal initiative. Galileos and Einsteins are infrequent figures not just because genius is a rare thing but because scientists are borne along by agreed-upon ways to do research, and this consensus encourages uniformity rather than bold enterprise. Over time this uniformity acquires the status of discipline, while its subject matter becomes a field or territory…

[e.g. BUT WE DON’T KNOW WHERE WE’VE BEEN]

Along with these goes a whole apparatus of techniques… to protect the coherence, the territorial integrity, the identity of the field, its adherents and its institutional presence. You cannot simply choose to be a sociologist or a psychoanalyst; you cannot simply make statements that have the status of knowledge in anthropology; you cannot merely suppose that what you say as a historian (however well it may have been researched) enters historical discourse. You have to pass through certain rules of accreditation, you must learn the rules, you must speak the language, you must master idioms, and you must accept the authorities of the field — determined in many of the same ways — to which you cannot contribute.

[e.g. BUT WE CAN’T SAY SAY WHAT WE’VE SEEN]

In this view of things, expertise is partially determined by how well an individual learns the rules of the game, so to speak…

[e.g. AND WE KNOW WHAT WE CAN’T.... say, or do...]

And most telling in Said’s questions:

Is it the inevitable conclusion to the formation of an interpretive community that its constituency, its specialized language, and its concerns tend to get tighter, more airtight, more self-enclosed as its own self-confirming authority acquires more power, the solid status of orthodoxy, and a stable constituency? What is the acceptable humanistic antidote to what one discovers, say, among sociologists, philosophers and so-called policy scientists who speak only to and for each other in a language oblvious to everything but a well-guarded constantly shrinking fiefdom forbidden to the uninitiated?

This doesn’t sound like a particular fishy government ministry fiefdom (and many closely attached organizations) that is about to, or in the middle of, facing a mass shortage of staff due to retirements and early retirements…?

You want in to that ‘fiefdom’ (e.g. policy scientists… [what a phrase]…),  you better be versed in the lingo, the idioms [A form of expression natural to a language, person, or group of people], the games, the politics, and the methods of moving up the bureaucratic ladder (e.g. the Peter Principle).

Otherwise known as “don’t rock the boat.”

You also better be well-versed, and completely adherent (like crazy glue) to the references and ‘science’ that got us here… you know the things like Maximum Sustained Yield, strategic imperatives, benchmarks, ‘ecosystem-based planning’, and so on…

And… you better have PowerPoint nailed down.

And, know the secret handshakes, and day rate and per diem gravy train intellectual copyrights…

As someone wise-cracked recently too me:

DFO is the least biologically diverse bureaucracy – a small gene pool of scientists that has aged but not recruited young stock…

Diversity would also suggest a wide range of approaches, ‘professionals’, non-professionals, ways of valuing and working from local and community knowledge…

Not government department imperatives, strategic plans, and management objectives.

Time for a Change. (?)

Or as one of the ‘doctor’ toys my kids play with asks: “Time for a Check-up?”

“New Prosperity” ?? Here we go all over again… (pigs in a poke!)

Taseko's "Prosperity" project

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Here we go… all over again.

For the first time in the history of the Canadian Environmental Assessment (CEA) process — a project outright rejected because of its many potential negative impacts (environmental and social), gets a second chance.

Globe & Mail:

Controversial Prosperity mine proposal gets second chance

Montreal Gazette:

Kent criticized over second review of huge B.C. mine proposal

Even the company itself (Taseko) insisted time and time again (in the first CEA process) that killing Fish Lake was the “ONLY WAY” the project could move forward. There’s just no other way to move this project forward… no way… no way… they said for years.

Well… now it seems after rejection the first time through… that they’ve changed their tune…

Why?

Simply… because the price of gold and copper are soaring.

Well… what happens when those prices crash again?

They don’t call it a “commodity cycle” for nothing.

The whacky thing about it all… it wasn’t just the killing of the lake that was the problem with the original proposal. There were a slew of other issues including impacts on grizzly bears and so on. As well as social issues with the fact all First Nations in the area are opposed to the project — and in BC there are still no treaties after decades of failing, flailing attempts by bureaucracy — and over a century and a half of efforts by many First Nation communities.

_ _ _ _ _ _

New tag line for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Process…

don’t like the result the first time around… try, try, try again.

I’m sure there’s no link here with non-elected Premier Christy Clark and newly elected majority Harper — and the BC “jobs plan”… otherwise known as the plan for “short term gain, for long-term pain“.

 

“The case of the missing fish”… why don’t we just look in a mirror…?

dave's North Pacific salmon "mysteries"

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The Globe and Mail is running another article by Mark Hume on the apparent “disappearing sockeye salmon”…

The case of the missing fish

What is killing British Columbia’s salmon? And just where is the crime scene?

Like Agatha Christie’s fictional detective, Hercule Poirot, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen is faced with a mass of conflicting evidence as his federal inquiry tries to answer those questions and explain what happened to millions of salmon that have vanished at sea…

The article goes on to explain the ‘great mystery’ of declining sockeye populations on the Fraser River… and compares all the various “suspects” that may (or may not) play a part in the great decline of Fraser sockeye.

There is so much rhetoric and babble and apparent ‘complexity’ to this issue… so say the “experts” anyways…

However, let’s slow down for a second and explore a couple key pieces that Mr. Hume suggests in his article… starting with the second paragraph… “tries to… explain what happened to millions of salmon that have vanished at sea.

Well, that’s an interesting statement… as… we don’t know — in the first place — how many baby sockeye went to sea. We have no frigging clue. The “experts” extrapolate from a variety of estimates of how many adults successfully spawned in the 4-6 years previous, and how many of those eggs in the gravel survived to become little tiny baby salmon (alevin).

little baby salmon - alevin - fresh from the gravel

As one might imagine, these little gaffers are pretty sensitive… not to mention that no shortage of other critters living in creeks, lakes and rivers have evolved to feast on the timing of these little things arriving out of the gravel — no different then any fly fisher who tries to time the various hatches of bugs and such to trick fish into biting their hooks wrapped in varieties of fuzz and other paraphernalia.

Then how many of those little alevin survived to either head to sea or hang out in a freshwater lake for one or two years — dodging any other complete system of predators and other threats.

salmon smolts, migrating out

Then how many of those youngster sockeye ‘smolts’ migrated out to sea, dodging a whole other slew of threats and predators and in the Fraser, then have to spend some time adjusting from fresh water critters to salt water critters — in amongst no shortage of sewage, tugs & barges, urban run-off, endocrine disruptors, periodic oil and fuel spills, and so on.

Then its run the gauntlet of the Salish Sea (Georgia Strait) — including salmon farms, walls of sea lice, and whatever else.

Then its the BC and Alaska coastlines, then “the sea”.

How many?

We have no frigging clue.

So essentially, we sort of have a mystery… of a mystery…of a mystery…

If we start talking about the mystery of “disappearing salmon”… or as referred to in the article as “vanishing salmon”… we don’t even know if they were there in the first place.

baby salmon… now you see ‘em… now you don’t…. (oh wait, maybe this wasn’t a game of salmon peek-a-boo… they were just never there in the first place?).

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

I drew the image at the beginning of this post the other day as a suggestion of how we will never understand these apparent salmon “mysteries”… or “vanishing” or “disappearing acts”…

And nor should the load be put on Justice Cohen to ‘figure it out’… this isn’t a case of legal precedent, or evolution of the Code of Hammurabi, or Roman Law, or common law, or civil law, or stare decisis… not that our judges are not capable of dealing with all sorts of phenomenal complexities…

however to understand the great mysteries of nature, the North Pacific, and so on… I don’t think so, nor do I expect so… (even law is a great philosophical gray area of all sorts of complexities…)

As it says in my chicken scratch writing in the illustration: “try and disprove that this was the reason for the 2009 ‘disappearance’ of Fraser sockeye…

Well… you can’t. Nobody can conclusively disprove my ‘theory’ for Fraser salmon disappearance. Just as I can’t ‘prove’ my theory…

Just as no one will be able to prove or disprove the apparent Fraser sockeye ‘vanishing’ or ‘disappearance’…

_ _ _ _ _ _

See here’s the thing…

to vanish” means to: “disappear suddenly and completely.” And, for something to “disappear” it had to be there in the first place. Because disappear means:

1. To pass out of sight; vanish.
2. To cease to exist.

See, “dis” means: “do the opposite of” — and so the opposite of disappear is… “appear

And the Latin roots of the word appear suggest it means: “to appear, come in sight, make an appearance.” Starting way back in the 13th century, the current meaning arose from: “to come into view.”

Thus there needed to be fish (e.g. Fraser sockeye) there in the first place — to come into view –  for them to in turn: “disappear” or “vanish”.

But… well… ummmm… we don’t know if they were there in the first place (for example, appeared out of the gravel as alevins) for them to in turn…

dis    appear.

We’re simply hypothesizing… (and sometimes, the thing with hypothesizing, is that the hypothesis might be wrong…)

Therefore… if this is a great mystery… and we’re looking for something that may not have existed in the first place… and we’re looking for a “culprit” that made something “vanish” that never may have in fact existed… is there a “mystery”?

_ _ _ _ _

As one of the over 100 comments to Mr. Hume’s articles suggests, something to the effect of: “ummm… wild salmon have been ‘disappearing’ across the BC coast for decades… is it any surprise that there are dwindling salmon populations in the Fraser…?”

See now this would be a more appropriate use of the term “disappear” because this refers specifically to the view that most coastal folks know intimately, that in recent memory there were thousands upon thousands upon thousands of wild salmon runs in every little trickle of water that hits the Pacific Ocean.

And that these thousands upon thousands of runs produced hundreds of thousands upon millions of adult salmon that returned year after year after year…

those runs have now largely… DISAPPEARED, VANISHED, NADA, ZILCH… EXTINCT…

_ _ _ _ _ _

wait a second…

there used to be close to 200 distinct Fraser sockeye stocks spread all over the Fraser watershed…?

now the number of stocks is a mere shadow of itself… the stocks have disappeared, as they were once certainly there before… (e.g. made an appearance)

When did that disappearance start…? hmmm… about 1880 or so… when mass salmon canneries opened up and down the Pacific Coast — from California to Alaska.

And then for the next 120 years, mass mixed stock fisheries continued to hammer and hammer and hammer away on wild salmon stocks all along the Pacific coast. Throw in a massive rock slide in the Fraser River in the lower reaches in 1913 and we have a recipe for disaster…

this isn’t meant to blame the fishers, they were simply doing what the regulations said they could… no different then people that get in deadly crashes while driving the speed limit of 100 km/hr… (e.g. speed kills…)

Fortunately, the incredible power of diversity (e.g. over 200 distinct evolutionary-evolved stocks) allowed the overall Fraser sockeye run to continue to return in big numbers (but still a shadow of the over 100 million Fraser sockeye of earlier years — pre-canneries — as Mr. Hume suggests in the article).

And then the 2000s (and maybe earlier) a vastly depleted resource — just as every other river and creek from California to BC will attest to — began to show signs of exhaustion, collapse, depletion…

Ever been at the finish line of a marathon or an Ironman triathlon — i’ve been to many — the look on the faces, and the condition of the bodies crossing the finishing line, is essentially what we’ve seen happen to Fraser sockeye in recent years.

Exhaustion and now extinction (e.g. like a ‘retired’ triathlete)…     why?

Because we’ve subjected the runs and populations to a litany of abuses… they’re exhausted, depleted, and in need of serious recuperation and recovery. (which unfortunately, like after a triathlon is simply rest along with a few beer and a big steak…)

You know recuperation as in: “gradual healing (through rest) after sickness or injury

For close to a century — 100 years — we humans have subjected the Fraser sockeye runs to close to 80% depletion, by injury (aka mixed stock fisheries) every single year, year after year, after year. And meanwhile, in the places where they have an opportunity to ‘regenerate’, we’ve been making a mess through habitat destruction, pollution, water draw-down, and conveniently warming up the water…

Added, the moment there is any sign of recovery… BWAMMO! hit them again with fisheries, get the nets in the water, “oh… we’re cautious now, we only take 60%…” says DFO official policy…  the conservation-based, ecosystem-based… WILD SALMON POLICY

then add in the potential of foreign-imported diseases such as Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) — just one more European-rooted disease introduced to the BC Coast, or more sewage, or more Prozac, Cialis, and other not-good-enough-treated-sewage, add in a couple degrees of warming… and… and…

_ _ _ _ _

Unfortunately, it just seems that maybe we’re opening up the wrong doors and using the wrong language in this apparent “investigation” for finding “perpetrators” for something that may not have existed in the first place… (at least in the short-term view)

Just as I heard a discussion the other day on the radio… look at the worn out, cliche phrase: “war on drugs.”

Apparently, police forces, governments (e.g. G. Dubya Bush and his pa before), and policy and so on and so on… is engaged in this “WAR ON DRUGS“… yet since this phrase started circulating in the 1980s and so on, drugs and drug-related issues have only become more common, drugs are available cheaper, way more prevalent, way more common, and in way more places, and over 50% of the US prison population is made up of people in on drug-related charges… (a massive drain on government and public resources…)

(or how about the investigation and invasion of countries in the search of WMD’s…?)

Just like any ‘crime’ or ‘moral wrong’ or otherwise — what’s the best strategy for prevention in the first place…?

well… education, good parenting, good social institutions, and so on. (e.g. good ‘systems’)

Does telling our kids not to do drugs because there’s a: “WAR ON DRUGS !!” — going to be all that effective?

Probably not. Maybe looking at our language would allow for much more proactive, positive, and effective prevention strategies in the first place….?

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See… when it comes to wild salmon the “perpetrator” in this apparent CRIME… this apparent MURDER MYSTERY  is walking around in plain sight, free to do as s/he pleases, no day pass, no ankle bracelet for monitoring, no parole officer… all you have to do is… look in a mirror…

…and then sit down with others in the community to facilitate and develop a suitable prescription for healing and recuperation…

hmmm… like a CITIZEN’S ASSEMBLY… as opposed to a quasi-court-of-law approach with judges and lawyers and yellow “DO NOT CROSS” ticker tape parades, and salmon chalk lines, and confidentiality agreements and RED TAPE bureaucracy celebrations, and “I’m sorry sir, I cannot recall…”, and adversarial cross-examination, and character assassination, and… and… and…

Time for a new approach?

what say you…?

“More European ISA virus detected in wild BC salmon” — 3rd and 4th case

Alex Morton is reporting on her blog results from a lab in Norway. Two more Fraser salmon tested positive for ISA (Infectious Salmon Anemia) — an adult chum and an adult Chinook.

“More European ISA virus detected in wild BC salmon”

Today I received reports from two laboratories.

Dr. Are Nylund at the University of Bergen, Norway confirmed the ISA virus detection by Canadian lab, Dr. Fred Kibenge, in Rivers Inlet sockeye smolts. Dr. Nylund reports he only got a positive in one of the fish and this result was close to the detection limit for the test that he used. In the report below, the higher the value, the lower the amount of virus. He said the sample was poor quality. We are on a steep learning curve here, having never dealt with viruses, keeping the samples in a home-type freezer was not optimal.

Download Report 021111.pdf (22.0K)

I also received the report from Dr. Kibenge, of the World Animal Health reference lab for ISA virus in Province Edward Island, on salmon a small group of us collected in the Fraser River on October 12. Late last week results from this group of tests was leaked to the New York Times and we heard that a Coho salmon tested positive for ISAv. Now that I have the complete report we learn that, similar to the sockeye from River’s Inlet, the Coho in the Fraser River was infected with the European strain of ISA virus. But we see from this report that a chinook salmon and a chum salmon also tested positive.

Download Alexandra Morton Samples (SOCKEYE CHINOOK and COHO)_VT10142001_OCTOBER20 2011.pdf (45.9K)

What does this mean?

While this continues to raise the level of concern that ISA virus is going to cause significant problems in wild salmon in the eastern Pacific, a lot more work is required. Someone has to culture the virus. Once that happens we can learn how long it has been here, and exactly where it came from.

The good news is that the levels of ISA virus detected in all these salmon has been low. While the salmon in my latest collection died before spawning, it is possible that ISA virus was not the cause of their death. Because ISA virus was only detected in the gills of the chum and chinook, it is possible they were only recently infected. The chum was silver-bright and likely just arrived in the river. The Chinook was severely jaundice. Did these two fish just become infected and is that why it was only detected in their gills? Two possible sources would be salmon farms off Campbell River that they had just been exposed to on their in-migration into the river, or did they become infected by sharing the river with the Coho which had ISA virus in her heart suggesting a more system-wide longer infection period – I don’t know. The Segment 6 probe is less sensitive than the segment 8 probe, so while we learned the Chinook and Chum were infected with ISA virus, we don’t know what strain.

If the virus is this contagious that it infected other salmon that had just arrived into the river this does present concerns.

I am not presenting myself as an expert in ISA virus, but I feel strongly there should be no secrecy when it comes to European strain ISA virus in wild salmon. I am on a steep learning curve and feel it is essential that we move forward to:

1 – establish an international board to make sure testing is done in a highly and scientifically defensible manner
2 – establish a BC lab that can culture and test for ISA virus and report publicly
3 – test widely for the virus in the ocean, rivers and lakes and include other possible species such as herring
4 – mandate tests on every Atlantic salmon facility, especially the lake-rearing facilities by more than one lab so that no one lab bears the brunt of this and so the public can take full confidence in the tests

There has been an incredible response from many of you. So many of you have provided funds in small donations that we are able to move forward with revealing where ISA virus is hiding despite the complete lack of response by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Thank you. Thank you also for the people reporting back as to what is happening in your rivers and lakes. I am not at all interested in handing this over to Fisheries and Oceans, nor the Province of BC. I have asked the provincial salmon farm vet, Dr. Gary Marty several times what ISA virus test he did on all the Atlantic salmon he found ISAv lesions in. He had the province of BC’s lawyer answer, providing me with no information. I was hoping I could send samples to him, but I wont without knowing what test he is doing.

I will keep you posted.

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Seems like a pretty reasonable request considering the threat that this virus poses. And from the response coming out of the U.S. — both Alaska and Washington and even down to Oregon and otherwise. It may not be long until there’s an international response.

And I agree with the notion suggested here — neither the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, nor the Province of BC should ‘head’ any sort of committee. They’ve proven their meddle here (as in “To handle something idly or ignorantly; tamper”). This should involve something like the Auditor General or some other arms length third party.

And salmon farmers that are raising — foreign to Pacific waters, Atlantic salmon — should be put on notice that they will be flipping the bill, if they are found to be responsible for importing this virus…