And the story goes global.
“Salmon-killing virus… on Pacific coast”
Can you say Public Relations nightmare for salmon farmers of the world…?
Was listening to CBC Radio this morning and the second story on “World Report” was this one. Even the New York Times is in on the story:
A lethal and highly contagious marine virus has been detected for the first time in wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest, researchers in British Columbia said on Monday, stirring concern that it could spread there, as it has in Chile, Scotland and elsewhere.
Farms hit by the virus, infectious salmon anemia, have lost 70 percent or more of their fish in recent decades. But until now, the virus, which does not affect humans, had never been confirmed on the West Coast of North America.
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This isn’t only a problem in Canada. Check out the BBC and other news outlets in Scotland and the UK.
Published on Monday 17 October 2011
THE Scottish Government may introduce laws banning fish farms from operating in some coastal areas.
It could follow Norway, where the law has restricted the spread of farms after growing concerns over the depletion of wild stocks.
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Now you know what all of this means, don’t you?
Some serious PR-tactics, campaigns, and speech writing (e.g., “marketing is everything, everything is marketing”) due to come out of salmon farmers — especially the BC Salmon Farmers Association.
First rule of any PR campaign — DENY, DENY, DENY.
Second rule: question veracity of results.
Third rule: question credibility of researchers (that’s already started in comments on this site)
Fourth rule: state how well you have things under control — this is the: cover-your-ass-in-case-its-right rule)
Yesterday was a quick press release from the salmon farmers:
Suspect findings of ISA of concern to BC’s salmon farmers
A press release today from Simon Fraser University regarding reports that two wild Pacific salmon have tested positive for Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) is of concern to BC’s salmon farmers.
Our members are actively following up with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The CFIA is reviewing the validity of these publicized but as yet unconfirmed results. The BC Salmon Farmers Association has not yet been able to review the findings.
“Farm-raised Atlantic salmon, unlike their Pacific cousins, are susceptible to ISA, so this is a concern for our operations, but much less likely to be an issue for the different Pacific species,” said Stewart Hawthorn, Managing Director for Grieg Seafood. “If these results are valid, this could be a threat to our business and the communities that rely on our productive industry.”
The results were reportedly found in juvenile Sockeye smolts in Rivers Inlet – an area north of most salmon farms. These fish would not have passed aquaculture operations, but our farmers remain concerned about what this means, and how the disease, which is not native to British Columbia, may have been introduced.
“Samples from BC’s salmon farms are tested regularly for ISA by our regulator’s fish health departments and have never found a positive case on a farm. Over 4,700 individual fish samples have been assessed and proven to be negative. These unconfirmed findings certainly are unexpected, unusual and warrant further investigation,” said Clare Backman, Sustainability Director for Marine Harvest Canada.
Extensive egg importation regulations were implemented years ago to ensure that disease is not imported to BC waters. Experts testified at the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Fraser River Sockeye Salmon that these regulations were strong and proactive in reducing the risk of disease. Testing done by third party researchers in the past on wild Sockeye have returned negative results for ISA as well. Biosecurity protocols both within each company and across the industry also protect the health of wild and farmed fish.
“Our fish remain healthy and we are seeing no indication of the presence of ISA,” said Hawthorn. “It is very important that our fish remain healthy – to support our ongoing commitment to our businesses, our communities and our environment.”
The BCSFA represents salmon farm companies and those who supply services and supplies to the industry. Salmon-farming provides for 6,000 direct and indirect jobs while contributing $800-million to the provincial economy each year.
Managing Director, Grieg Seafood
Director of Sustainability, Marine Harvest Canada [and former DFO employee]
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Well done, I think all rules were covered.
Make sure to put in language that places a little seed of doubt “suspect findings” “apparent” “reportedly” and so on.
Stay tuned as this story will most likely get more interesting.