Government cover up coming to light at Cohen Commission today…? Check that: this has been a cover up!

Social media at work is suggesting that the government has indeed been involved in a cover up of Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) on BC’s coast.

The Cohen Commission into declines of Fraser sockeye has convened a couple of days of special hearings, which are underway right now.

On the stand this morning was Dr. Kristi Miller the DFO scientist (head of Molecular Genetics Laboratory at DFO Nanaimo) who has had her research muzzled by the Privy Council Office of the Prime Minister.

Salmon farming on the hot seat at Cohen Commission

Today, as being reported on different social media circles, here are some quotes:

Dr Miller is blowing the whistle big time…

An email from a few days ago is marked as Exhibit #2055 – Dr Miller explains the ISA testing she’s been carrying out. “It’s an important question to find out how long ISA has been here,” says Dr Miller. “We went back to our samples from 1984 and we found that we could amplify PCR products in 1986 and thereafter. The patterns were very similar to now – with positives for ISA. ISA has been here for at least 25 years

“I had a meeting with the BC Salmon Farmers Association,” says Dr Miller. “But at the very last minute they took Atlantic farmed salmon out of the testing. The BCSFA did not want their farmed Atlantic salmon to be tested”.Dr Miller describes the Government’s testing of farmed salmon and asked to test farmed Atlantic salmon but Dr Miller was only allowed to sample for parvovirus NOT ISA. And the samples that were given were useless as the samples were degraded…

Dr Miller testifies that her lab only received half the funding her lab needs

Mr Taylor asks Dr Miller about ISA being in BC since at least 1986. “Given those 1986 samples showed divergence it would suggest it has been here longer,” says Dr Miller.

“There was a threat that I could lose samples that I rely on for my genomic profiling,” says Dr Miller. She was basically threatend by the Government that her research would be closed down and blocked for testing for ISA.

Dr Miller refers to a jaundice-project with Creative Salmon in Clayoquot Sound – she tested their farmed chinook salmon and we identified ISA-positive farmed salmon (sampled last Winter and close to market size). ISA in farmed salmon in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve!!!

Kristi [Miller] tested a Chinook farm at Creative Salmon farms and they tested positive for ISA on that farm. These fish were also jaundice. So far they are the only company willing to give them samples. Question from commission: You testified earlier saying that the farms would give you samples. Kristi- Yes I had a meeting with BC salmon farmers association and we agreed upon a proposal that I would test their salmon but at the last moment they pulled this from the proposal and said we could not test any of their fish.

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After lunch Greg McDade, lawyer for Alex Morton and others will be questioning government scientists for 15 minutes — approximately 1:45 this afternoon.

Will be interesting to see what media stories come out of this tonight and tomorrow…

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Update: 2 pm Thursday.

CBC is apparently already on it:

Salmon virus in B.C. for decades, say biologists

Department of Fisheries (DFO) biologists have told a federal inquiry that fish samples, dating back more than two decades have tested positive for a potentially lethal wild sockeye fish virus — but that fact wasn’t publicly reported.

Dr. Kristi Miller, the head of molecular genetics for DFO in Nanaimo, told the Cohen Commission on Thursday that frozen samples dating back to 1986 have been tested, and show infectious salmon anemia (ISA) has been in B.C. waters for at least 25 years.

The public inquiry into the decline of the Fraser River sockeye salmon stocks was extended for three extra days after ISA was detected in wild B.C. salmon two months ago by Simon Fraser University Prof. Rick Routledge.

That revelation put the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and B.C.’s fish farming industry on high alert, but those results couldn’t be confirmed and government scientists announced earlier this month that extensive testing came up negative.

The alleged presence of ISA in B.C. salmon stocks is controversial because the virus had never before been found in salmon off B.C.’s coast, either in the Atlantic species that are farmed in ocean pens or in B.C.’s indigenous wild salmon.

The virus is known to be devastating to farmed Atlantic salmon and opponents of the fish farm industry have suggested farmed fish could spread ISA to wild stocks, with catastrophic results.

The virus has been linked to the destruction of the salmon farming industry in Chile and Europe.

The crisis has prompted the Canada Food Inspection Agency to develop a regular surveillance program for ISA, that is expected to be in place as early as next spring.

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Please stay posted for SPIN Machine coming from DFO, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and BC Salmon Farmer’s Association… that should be hitting the airwaves any time soon.

See if DFO and the CFIA have another mis-guided, disconnect, press conference…

5 thoughts on “Government cover up coming to light at Cohen Commission today…? Check that: this has been a cover up!

  1. DC Reid

    If you look back at Miller’s comments today, she also said that the Provincial testing said it used one test, but that it did not actually use the test that it said it did. Hence, they may not have found ISA for this reason. That should be checked.

    Kibenge put a paper out in 2001 on how lethal ISA is to farmed coho in Chile while Atlantics nearby were not affected:

    As the Norwegian derivative fish farms had Kibenge to Chile to work on ISA, they have known it kills coho for a decade. And Miller said penned chinook in Clayoquot Sound tested positive for ISA and were wiped out in Quadra Island by ‘marine anemia’. My hunch is that the latter will be shown to be a mutated strain of ISA. Please note that in Chile there are now 28 strains of ISA, that’s how easily it mutates in fish farms.
    And ISA kills Pacific salmon.

  2. Genoa

    What a HORRIBlE scandal and fiasco this whole salmon farming farce has been. SHAME on the Canadian gov’t for going out of their way to cover things up! I wonder if Harper realized that all the jails he is building is for them?


  3. DC Reid


    You asked for my CBC email: I was the first person to commit myself publicly to ISA being in BC. I am sad to say that.

    I also predict that Marine Anemia will be shown to be ISA. It has been shown to be highly contagious, and perhaps most contagious, to Chinook salmon in farms, in both Clayoquot Sound and in the Quadra Island areas. This may also help explain why the indicator Cowichan chinook are in such bad shape, as they nurse circularly in Georgia St, before migrating to the Pacific.

    Fred Kibenge showed in 2001 that coho were wiped out by ISA in farms in Chile when Atlantic salmon nearby were not affected. So these are two of the ten species of anadromous fish that may be affected by ISA.

    As the BC samples from 1986 test positive for ISA, it is possible that the ISA arrived here before the BC fish farms, making the Puget Sound ones seem likely as they predate the BC farms by as much as 15 years. And before that, the feds tried to establish Atlantic salmon in the first half of the 20th century – about 8 million were planted, but none took.

    This is a sad day. It means that fish farms need to be on land, as a first step. Then an independent lab, not connected to DFO, needs to start testing all of the 9,562 strains of the five species of salmon in BC for ISA.

  4. salmon guy Post author

    thanks DC,
    what i’m curious about is there’s certainly this big demand out there to do all of this testing for ISA… what happens then, if we do find out that ISA is prevalent, and maybe even mutating…? It’s not like we can go out an inoculate wild salmon from the flu-like ISA…

    Another question, even if salmon are farmed on land, or closed containment, what measures need to be taken to contain ISA? — e.g. in any outputs from the farms. Would water need to be filtered somehow, UV radiation, or otherwise?

  5. priscilla judd

    My hunch is that DFO should stop cutting dead salmon in half. They do that to count the salmon but why would a virus not be spread by the dead flesh?

    We have endangered Coho here and when the 2010 big spawn happened we had plenty of dead salmon that did not spawn out (died with eggs in them)

    It’s a genocide without borders. All for the sake of corporate capital.

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