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.
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:
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…