SFU: Managing for Uncertainty: Pathogens and Diseases in Pacific Salmon Invitational Scientists’ “Think Tank”

Salmon Think Tank?

Simon Fraser University in Vancouver convened a “Think Tank” of leading scientists a little over a week ago to discuss: Pathogens and Diseases in Pacific Salmon. The event, part of SFU’s “Speaking for the Salmon” was touted as an Invitational Scientists Think Tank.

I’m not a huge fan of the term: “think tank”… as it hints to some of those rather ‘right-wing’ entities in BC, one in particular named after an early ‘explorer’ and BC’s largest river… and ending in “Institute”… it also touts itself as a “think tank”.

There’s also the old cliche about ‘thinking outside the box’… well… if you’re stuck in a tank, it might be hard to do that.

Salmon think tanks?

However… some decent recommendations coming out of this group — and well timed for the Cohen Commission’s upcoming ISA-days. [Infectious Salmon Anemia Days… sounds attractive doesn’t it…?]

SFU Salmon Think Tank Recommendations from Think Tank Convenors

SFU Dec. 2011_Think Tank Consensus Statement

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Out of the recommendations in the Consensus Statement is a bit of the usual… ‘more research’…

New technologies are providing means to discover and describe new disease organisms. However, it has proven more difficult to link specific disease organisms to health and disease, and even harder to link particular disease organisms to salmon population dynamics. [aka Data GAP]

Furthermore, it has proven challenging to move beyond the study of individual disease organisms to managing for multiple risk factors that can collectively compromise the resilience of salmon populations. [a.k.a. we’ve been screwing with salmon populations for far too long to actually isolated impacts.]

Combining modern methods, such as molecular assays and telemetry, with classic pathology, on‐the-ground population monitoring and large‐scale experiments can provide the needed insight into the risk factors associated with disease in wild fish [curiously many of the folks participating in the event have companies that specialize in exactly this…not that that is necessarily a bad thing, however might be important to point out].

However the statement finishes with an excellent recommendation:

It is time to develop new collaborative and independent infrastructures for addressing these challenges.

This sort of rings of the announcement in BC this week:

Independent police monitor coming from Denver to start B.C. office

…Richard Rosenthal is coming to police British Columbia police.

He is leaving Denver to head B.C.’s new Independent Investigations Office, a watchdog to probe police incidents that result in serious harm or death. The office will also be able to recommend criminal charges.

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Interesting… what if we had an independent office in BC that could investigate and monitor the Department of Fisheries and Oceans? And other government institutions responsible for salmon habitat?

It would be like a permanent Cohen Commission… or… Auditor General for salmon.

Then things like the handing over salmon farming regulations to the Province, which was against the Canadian Constitution, probably wouldn’t have happened. And an expensive Supreme Court challenge would not have occurred and all the costs of DFO developing new aquaculture regs.

Just a thought…

 

 

 

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