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…


8 thoughts on “Do you see the difference?

  1. Brian

    Actually the spin is coming from anti-salmon farm activists on this one. Their ship was sunk in a big way a couple of weeks ago because they screwed up – plain and simple. After reporting the presence of ISA back in October, Dr. Routledge now admits that he is not surprised by the CFIA/DFO results and believes that more rigorous protocols are needed. Oh really? Wow…so perhaps holding a press conference was a bit premature? Back October Morton and Routledge were apparently quite confident in the results to hold a press conference and call for an end to open net pen fish farming. Dr. Fred Kibenge, the director of the lab at Atlantic Veterinary College (now colateral damage for anti-farm activists who will move on now and find someone else to manipulate), said the results given to the Routledge weren’t conclusive. Kibenge said further testing needed to be done to confirm ISA was present. Oh really? Wow…so perhaps there wasn’t very good communication between AVC and those in attendance during that news conference at SFU afterall. Now we have a bunch of US politicians that are misinformed also. Too bad they couldn’t show this same amount of passion to those salmon that have try migrating past those many, many dams on the Columbia River. Just goes to show who has the powerful propaganda machine.

    A response to Ruby Berry’s misinformed opinion might be in order here:

    Salmon virus prompts federal review:

    You might be interesting in seeing this:

    Lastly, you might also be interested that people from DFO’s Environmental Watch Program (in cooperation with SFU and UBC) have been sampling salmon from the ocean and on the Fraser and tribs since the early 90’s.

  2. salmon guy Post author

    glad to see you still visit occasionally Brian – and suppose we’ll just have to wait and see on this one. From what I understand… if you read the U.S. material… they’re not really ‘misinformed’ on this one. They are simply asking for more rigorous testing to find out for sure whether ISA is in wild stocks or not.

    It’s just too big a risk to sit back and say “nothing’s wrong”… they suggest. (I tend to agree)

    as i’m sure you’re well familiar, the dams in the Colombia were built quite some time ago. Canals and such were built on the river in the late 1800s, the Bonneville Dam was not completed until the 1930s. Bit of a different era from the time when the first salmon farms were built on the BC coast and the mass expansion through the 1990s, and so on…

    maybe there should be a little more effort by the federal government in doing more testing for ISA as opposed to “investigating” this issue with the labs… seems a bit of focus, and $$, and effort in the wrong place…

  3. Nick

    I wish you would pay as much attention to the science that clearly shows no ISA present as you do the hatchet job that was fostered on everybody by a group of anti aquaculture NGO’s. I know it makes for great conspiracy theories but the truth is far less excitiing. Then again you might be one of those guys who watches Loose Change over and over frothing at the mouth screaming “CIA cover up”. This will all blow over when Ms Morton and company find a different smoking gun that will conveniently take the spot light off the fact that she was wrong…again.

  4. salmon guy Post author

    thanks Nick,
    I’m glad you’ve got such an accurate personality profile from reading a blog… can’t say I’ve ever heard of ‘Loose Change’… most of mine sits in a cup above the washing machine… maybe you could send me a link…

    maybe at the same re-read some of my posts… for example: “The case of the missing fish”… why don’t we just look in a mirror…?”
    It is as impossible for “science” to “prove” there is no ISA as it is to prove that it wasn’t aliens that zapped up the “missing” sockeye of 2009 or ‘missing link’ dinosaurs in the North Pacific. Its the same challenges as ol’ Heisenberg’s ‘uncertainty principle’. It is impossible to know the speed and location of a particle at the same time… Or Nels Bohr’s theory of complementarity: that light is both wave and particles… but you can’t see either at the same time… and thus one ‘scientist’ could spend their entire life arguing for, advocating for, and “proving” that light is particles.

    And another scientist, maybe at a government institution, could spout off about how light is ‘waves’ — they could accuse all the others of conspiracy theories and misguided research, and bias and so on.

    And yet… and yet neither is wrong… their both right…

    the world is full of mysteries, always will be. Just as our bodies, when you get right down to it, are little more then empty space.
    walkin’, talkin’, conspiracy theory makin’ empty space mind you… but still empty space. And of course some folks like to carry on that some people’s brains have more empty space then others…

    And there’s really nothing ‘science’ can do to “prove” otherwise. “Proof” is slippier then a spawned out humpy… slippier then a bathtub of KY jelly… just one buttered-up, greased pig of a theory.
    However, I do find it fascinating when various questions are asked of government institutions… that some individuals jump on the “you’re nothing more than a conspiracy theorist…” train…

    Personally, i’m not one looking for ‘smoking guns’… read some posts again… all we need to do is look in a mirror and imagine the smoking gun in our collective hands… unfortunately, open-pen salmon farming on the BC coast is just one more bullet in the gun for wild salmon… (just as it has been for wild stocks anywhere else it occurs).

    Picture it as one of those famous movie guns: the UZI, firing wildly all sorts of bullets (in a school of spawning fish)… pollution, over-fishing, habitat-destruction, climate change, and of course, bureaucratic behemoth government institutions that move as fast as molasses in deep-winter… and spend more time denying things, then looking after things…

    thanks again for the comments, i’m glad to see that the folks that disagree with my posts are still visiting and still commenting… key parts of the bigger discussion.
    (plus the great thing with having your own blog… you get to focus on whatever you fancy… just like the apparent BC Salmon “facts” website… and thankfully people have freedom of choice in reading or not…)

  5. dave

    i am not saying there is definately isa or that open net fish farms should be closed because of the isa threat. However, even in your link from DFO”the nature of the PCR test requires the sample to be fresh or well preserved”. we have heard the samples were degraded and could not reproduce results. I agree that this means that there is no confirmed case of isa in bc, but i disagree this totally refutes the original results. Considering the positive results were detected by the only certified lab in the country for isa, i hope the government would at least go on virus alert to collect and analyze a few hundred wild salmon and farmed salmon with any lesions or other abnormalities. They seemed to go on PR alert instead of virus alert. it was only a few years ago that chile’s salmon farms were infected from imported eggs, hard to swallow that the chances of it happening here is nil.

  6. salmon guy Post author

    thanks for comment Dave,
    and exactly the point that many folks are suggesting.
    Stop the ‘spin’ and just do the proper due diligence. There’s a heck of a lot more damage that could be done if in fact ISA is present, as opposed to the potentially damaged trade relations with Canada’s “trade partners.”

    It’s just whacky that the government didn’t come out with a press release and press conference saying, we are concerned with the prospect and here’s our ‘action plan’ to deal with the threat. Instead it was little more than person credibility attacks, etc. And the famous “nothing to worry about here…” like the old Arthur E Newman MAD comic “what, me worry?”

  7. priscilla judd

    Well it looks like the “anti-wild salmon activists are posting hard and heavy on your blog David.
    I really thought we were “wild salmon advocates” – people who speak on behalf of wild salmon – support the idea of protecting wild salmon from polluters. Wild salmon supporters intend to stop open pen fish farms because they pollute. Hog farms had to stop dumping hog pollution in the rivers and salmon farms will have to do the same thing. Our oceans are nobody’s toilet! Stop polluting our oceans – we need to wise up and change the way we treat our planet.

    Wild salmon supporters will continue to work to save wild salmon populations from the threat of farming pollution and disease. Every time someone blogs or points out the dangers to wild salmon by the open pens salmon farm industry – a ton of “anti- wild salmon activists” come out to change the subject – argue the small stuff – make excuses and criticize the wild salmon supporters.

    Are the Anti-wild salmon activists paid to attack people who love wild salmon or it it that they have an economic interest in the salmon farm corporations? Wild salmon supporters are quite tired of the anti-wild salmon comments the media. If we wait for science to prove ISA Virus is in every single wild salmon – then there will be no saving wild salmon – that’s not too smart an idea is it?

    When the oceans collapse – it’s game over for humans – so get on the side of your kids and grand kids.

    We want to see wild salmon flourish. We want our planet’s oceans to recover from the pressure of pollution. Open pen farms have got to go!

  8. salmon guy Post author

    thanks Priscilla, yes it’s impressive the variety of angles that various folks take. I have always found it quite odd that folks that espouse their desire and passion for ‘conserving’ or ‘preserving’ wild salmon — still think that open-pen salmon farming on wild salmon migration routes and anywhere the two might interact — is a good thing. That ‘plan’ has failed everywhere salmon farms have been put in the same areas that wild salmon still exist and migrate. Even the ‘science’ says so…

    forge on…

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