Rivers Inlet sockeye salmon “test positive for ‘lethal’ virus linked to fish farms”

Hayward, former BP CEO

Remember this guy?

Tony Hayward, former CEO of BP (British Petroleum).

When the BP oil spill first began in the Gulf of Mexico and he suggested:

It’s relatively tiny compared to the very big ocean…

“We will fix it. I guarantee it. The only question is we do not know when,” Hayward told the Guardian [British newspaper]. “The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.”

Gulf of Mexico oil spill map... "just little"


can BC sportfishers relate?

Mouth of the Fraser someday? or Skeena?









The point here is that CEO’s of large corporations just say the darndest things sometimes…

(the darndest stupidest things… albeit…)

Word out today in the Vancouver Sun that the ISA virus has been found in some Rivers Inlet sockeye salmon.

ISA — otherwise known in its non-acronym (onius) verbage as: Infectious Salmon Anemia. You can read about it at Wikipedia, for example, or search for more “scientific” sources. (Maybe my professional colleagues that comment on this site will pass along some good links.)

Bottom line on ISA, it can be real nasty, real fast. Just ask the salmon farming industry in Chile from their experiences over the last few years. (nasty…).

Here’s the Sun article:

Wild sockeye salmon from B.C.’s Rivers Inlet have tested positive for a potentially devastating virus that has never been found before in the North Pacific.

Infectious Salmon Anemia is a flu-like virus affecting Atlantic salmon that spreads very quickly and mutates easily, according to Simon Fraser University fisheries statistician Rick Routledge. The virus detected in sockeye smolts by the Atlantic Veterinary College in P.E.I. — Canada’s ISA reference lab — is the European strain of ISA.

“The only plausible source of this virus is fish farms,” said Routledge.

B.C.’s aquaculture industry has imported more than 30 million Atlantic salmon eggs over the past 25 years, mainly from Iceland, the United States and Ireland, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

No, no, I’m sure the ISA virus now ‘discovered’ in the North Pacific came through the waterways of Canada, like other viruses that came from Europe…

The article continues with reassuring information from the transnational corporation that dominates the BC coast (and Chile’s for that fact):

B.C. salmon farms conducted 4,726 tissue tests for ISA over the past eight years and every one has come back negative, according to Ian Roberts, a spokesman for B.C.’s largest salmon farming company, Marine Harvest. Another 65 tests conducted in the past quarter were also negative.

“As far as we know [Marine Harvest] is clean of this disease and we want to keep it that way,” said environmental officer Clare Backman. “Just because it is present in these Pacific salmon doesn’t mean it’s a health issue … Pacific salmon are not as affected by ISA as Atlantic salmon.” [my emphasis]

_ _ _ _ _ _


The article also states:

B.C.’s aquaculture industry has imported more than 30 million Atlantic salmon eggs over the past 25 years, mainly from Iceland, the United States and Ireland, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

My math often struggles… but a little over 4,000 tissue samples over 8 years, against over 30 million imported eggs, and against how many farmed salmon raised on the BC Coast in the last decade?

What sort of percentage is that?

Let’s just say small… very small. miniscule. You know, ‘a drop of oil in a big ocean…’ kind of small.

Isn’t this sort of like saying I don’t believe in molecules because I can’t see them…

_ _ _ _ _

Read the history of ISA at Wikipedia. It’s sort of like flu season (and ISA is compared to influenza). It starts with one small, little piddly cough, in one person (amongst millions) and then within weeks it has spread through a population of millions, by planes, trains, and automobiles… and whatever other vectors.

Kind of like Chile experienced with ISA, which was not just ‘Atlantic salmon’ that they were raising. There were also Pacifics.

In its path, influenza often kills the more weak and infirm… (hmmm… like many of BC’s unique salmon populations…)

And so, we’re to take comfort from (former DFO employee) Clare Backman in the new corporate role in suggesting: “hey we don’t see it… so it’s not a problem for us…”

(kinda like tsunamis… not really a problem until they hit land)

_ _ _ _ _ _

Maybe this will be all for not and we really should just relax and not be shouting about epidemics, and the like — like avian flu, or SARS, and so on and so on…

Unfortunately, I tend to be one that questions a lot… especially multinational corporations and their representatives when they start saying: “nothing to see here… move along… nothing to see here” and complicit governments that parrot the same lines.

Maybe there is nothing to see here and this is just a few salmon with a little niggly cough hanging out in Rivers Inlet…

Any thoughts out there?



3 thoughts on “Rivers Inlet sockeye salmon “test positive for ‘lethal’ virus linked to fish farms”

  1. Nick

    Keep in mind that the findings are highly suspect at this time. Miss Morton and her cohorts have proven that they will go to any lengths to discredit the farming industry. Do you not find it even slightly strange that there is no other tissue for sampling to confirm the diagnoses? If she had a smoking gun would she not give it to every lab and scientist in DFO to confirm? Also of note ISA is not lethal to Pacific salmon but is deadly to Atlantic salmon so in essence if this is in fact true salmon farmers have more to fear. Although I feel this will be another smoke screen by Morton and her cabal. Of course the media will issue no mea culpas for issuing a blantantly false story and another nail will be placed in the coffin of the BC salmon farming industry.

  2. salmon guy Post author

    Language is a curious thing Nick,
    for example:
    “cabal: a small group of secret plotters, as against a government or person in authority.”

    I don’t think there is any ‘secret plot’ against salmon farmers, or smoke screens — it’s pretty right out front. It’s also fascinating that the ire is focused on Ms. Morton, and she gets labelled everything from terrorist to whatever other hyperbole folks can come up with. She’s simply someone with a passion, a belief, and love of a place — and recognizes the importance of wild salmon to that place and its myriad cultures.

    And if that means taking on large businesses with potentially damaging business practices — then so be it.
    The folks that stand up against things in the face of big business and government complicity should be applauded — whether one agrees completely with them or not.

    When we don’t, we’re little different then the boiling pot of crabs, the moment one starts to make an escape to safety, the others drag the ‘revolutionary/terrorist/cabal-supporting crab’ back into the pot to die.

    There’s not much strange I find about this story at all. Not surprised in the least; as so many said — including those from Norway, Scotland, and other places — it was not a matter of if, only a matter of when. There’s also nothing ‘false’ about the story that i can see at this point… seems if folks were ‘making shit up’ they’d be doing a heckuva lot more damage to their campaigns, then good. (although businesses do this all the time and get away with it…)

    Supporters of the salmon farming industry can mount all attacks that they want, personal, institutional, scientific, and so on. And all the rhetoric that comes out, for instance with the current “occupy Wall St.” movement or others; will be no different then in other similar instances.

    It’s all too predictable. The farming industry will try and discredit the results. Then they’ll try and discredit the people involved. Then they’ll try and discredit the institutions. Then question the results again. Then they’ll carry on about how closely regulated they are. Then they’ll carry on about how they have it all “under control”. And then this message about how ISA doesn’t harm Pacific salmon will go full force (forgetting that all viruses mutate to better infect hosts).

    Then once more results confirm the first results, that’s when real damage control starts. That’s when the big PR firms are hired, and the marketing-blitz goes into high gear. Dollars start flying out on suits, and ads, and press conferences, and expensive mouthpieces…

    And so on, and so on… ad nauseum.

    And yet, these 2 ISA-infected sockeye smolts might become a non-story in months and years to come.
    Regardless, it appears the virus is there… and it came from Europe. This is a history in North America that is well known… all too well.

    And humans history of “managing” viruses ain’t so great…

    Let’s see how this story unfolds… and if salmon farmers learned anything in Chile, my guess is they’re shitting bricks if ISA is floating around on the North Pacific coast. Not only do they have a massive threat to the health of their businesses and investments, and investors, and public personas — they have a massive PR issue on their hands. This is the type of stuff that affects markets for farmed salmon worse then any ‘enviro’ organization markets-focussed campaign can do.

  3. priscilla judd

    So after the CBC carried the opinion that the there is no way fish farms can be considered the bearers of the European disease virus – and before the CFIA started putting salmon farms under the microscope -I heard Alex Morton on the radio asking how a European virus got here on the West Coast? And that’s a very good question – so here is one answer that some of us may have overlooked… (I say that because the MSM isn’t reporting it)

    GMO salmon (Aquabounty GMO Atlantic salmon are being raised in West Vancouver)
    (better copy the story before they take it offline)

    “The tanks contain one million litres of seawater and wild-type fish designed to act as a control group …”

    So where does the million litres of polluted tank water with giant salmon poop and bacteria and hormones go? Of course – they take it to a sanitary landfill right?

    Has anyone asked if the West Van GMO salmon have been tested for a virus?

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