As things lead up to the special hearings at the Cohen Commission in to Fraser sockeye declines this week, the heat is turned up…
More information suggesting that Canada and BC’s regulations to protect BC’s and the North Pacific’s wild salmon stocks from Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) — are not good enough.
As per usual, it’s taking ex-DFO and ex-Provincial scientists to blow the whistle… because, as pointed out in the previous post, there are most likely many that don’t want to sacrifice their healthy public servant wages and pensions by speaking out and facing repercussions?
Here’s an article out of Victoria, BC’s Times Colonist today, as well as the leaked report from the ex-Provincial government scientist — a report which has been submitted to the Cohen Commission.
Canada’s fish health regulations are not stringent enough to prevent viruses from being imported to West Coast fish farms on Atlantic salmon eggs, says a former high-level provincial government fisheries biologist.Sally Goldes, fish health unit section head at the B.C. Environment Ministry for 17 years, has submitted a paper to the Cohen Commission on the decline of Fraser River sockeye that says iodine treatment of eggs and the testing of overseas providers of salmon eggs – Canada’s defence against disease transmission – are inadequate…
…”The data – [inadequate sample sizes, ineffectiveness of iodine disinfection, etc.] suggests that the current Canada Fish Health Protection Rules do not provide a high level of regulatory security against the introduction of ISAV into British Columbia,” the paper concludes.
“It is important to remember that iodine disinfection does not kill ISAV present inside the egg and it is unknown whether ISAV is in this location.”
Iodine treatment is designed to rid egg surfaces of bacteria.
This sort of sounds like thinking that would suggest that if you give your newborn baby a bath that it won’t come down with infections or illness…
Isn’t this something that would have been learned in every other place that farmed salmon have had ISA breakouts?
Guess not… the article continues:
Salmon farms in B.C. import Atlantic salmon eggs from such countries as Britain, the U.S. and Iceland.
The virus has devastated fish farms in Chile and Norway and is also present in Atlantic Canada.
She is concerned ISA could be introduced to B.C. waters and spread to already stressed wild salmon populations.
“If you really look closely at the regulations, from a scientific basis, there is not the high degree of protection that the government, and particularly DFO, states that they have,” Goldes said. “It’s an issue of trust.”
Hmmm, one could maybe do a poll of Canadians and ask how much trust they have in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans — and maybe even the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, in this particular case.
Let’s just say it’s probably at an all time low.
Especially, after it came clear that the Food Inspection Agency mounted a big communications campaign with Canada’s trade partners, after the first reported ISA findings in wild Pacific salmon — as opposed to the Canadian public.
And now, both DFO and the CFIA mount denial campaigns.
The problem with denial campaigns is that if you get proven wrong, and in fact are not only proven wrong in your denials and that you held the responsibility in the first place — it’s sort of like a double whammy.
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The article continues:
“I think DFO and CFIA have a lot more work to do. I think that press conference was entirely premature,” she said.
[nothing like premature communication]
“The problem is that DFO has a dual mandate for aquaculture and wild fish, and the decisions are political.”
Amen to that Ms. Goldes — as the old cliche goes: you hit the nail on the head…
And as we’ll all find out soon enough, DFO and the CFIA most likely missed the nail head completely and hit their thumbs… and if it does turn out that they are denying something that is in fact true (e.g. ISA is in wild Pacific salmon — and that better safeguards needed to be in place, and should be in place) — then they’re should be several ‘nail’ heads rolling in the circle of civil servants and Ministers, and deputy ministers, and assistant deputy ministers.
The decisions are political is always one to keep in mind… look no further then Harper’s government/Canada’s removal from the Kyoto protocol (a vote of confidence for oil and gas companies and pipeline companies). Or the current situation in the northern Ontario First Nation community of Attawapiskat — shameful —
The federal government can spend $50 million+ on frigging gazebos for 2-3 days of meetings in Ontario’s cottage country, build a fake lake (at what coast?), and so on and then set out on trying to shame a northern community for how it manages its money. Money spent that is audited yearly more heavily then any other government financing handed out in this country.
(Especially money handed out to particular ridings held by Conservative MPs that may be threatened in an election…)
Ahhh, the twisted priorities of the political game… (but I digress…)
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Here is the leaked report from the Fishyleaks site:– the report that the Salmon Farmer’s Association is whining about being prematurely released.
Hmmm, all this talk of premature… maybe the salmon farming industry was given free reign to BC’s coast prematurely?
The abstract for the report suggests:
Atlantic salmon eyed eggs have been imported almost yearly into British Columbia during the period 1985 until 2010 from a number of countries including the USA, UK , Iceland and also from Atlantic Canada (BC Atlantic Imports). Source aquaculture facilities, except for more recent imports from Iceland (where the definition of lot was not achieved, however the rest of the procedures were the same) were certified free of specified piscine pathogens of concern according to testing protocols mandated in the Canadian Fish Health Protection Regulations (CFHPR). Immediately prior to shipment, eyed eggs were disinfected according to the CFHPR iodophor disinfection protocol.
Certification and iodine egg disinfection together are the main pillar’s of Canada’s defense against the introduction of exotic piscine diseases such as Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA). In order to protect British Columbia’s wild aquatic ecosystems and aquaculture industries these measures must provide a high level of security. Close scientific examination of these regulatory measures however raises concerns that in-practice, these measures fail to provide the high level of protection required. This discussion focuses on certain concerns with: (1) ISA detection using cell culture, (2) sample size, and (3) iodine surface disinfection, however there remain many other weaknesses.
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Could be an interesting week at Cohen Commission — stay tuned…