From a sport fisher’s point of view, the most important phase of the Cohen Commission is now: disease. At worst, we may be witnessing the end of all Pacific anadromous fish from Norwegian ISA virus. At best, we may be watching some of the +100 Fraser River sockeye subcomponents go extinct, with dramatic reductions in Strait of Georgia coho and Chinook also explained.

There are enough diseases. Several dozen Pacific diseases include SLV, IHN, algae and phytoplankton blooms. The last wiped out three crops of Atlantic salmon for Richard Buchanan who moved to land, building AgriMarine, closed-containment, but now in-ocean concrete farms. They are so good at isolating farmed fish from ocean diseases AgriMarine is winning ‘concessions’ over ancient-tech farms in Norway itself.

No wonder the Norwegian derivatives – Cermaq/Mainstream, Marine Harvest and Grieg Seafoods – 92% of BC fish farms – have watched their share prices tumble roughly 50% in the past three months. For world press, ask Don Staniford to put you on his list: dstaniford@gaaia.org.

SLV was released in 1977 and net pens of Chinook started dying in 1988, with Big Qualicum coho starting in 1985. This is the bug Kristi Miller has studied, showing as high as 70% of sockeye dying in the ocean and going up the Fraser where as few as 18% of arrivees can actually spawn. She speaks August 24 and 25. See her research and the schedule weblinks, etc. on catchsalmonbc.com

The leaked data shows 35 instances of ISA-like traits. Cohen required 10 years of data the Norwegian derivatives said will cause irreparable financial problems. Don’t be fooled, share prices tumbled months before data release. I would have preferred the full 18 years because ISA can show up years before it wipes out all the fish in its path. Provincial data is on the web.

Kristi Miller will make the connection, if any, between SLV and fish farms. With a million fish in a sieve, a natural infection gets multiplied to billions upon billions of infectious particles that shower out on the ocean, where Pacific salmon pick them up – either going out or coming back. They may die at any time in the ocean and not be picked up. But they are dying in-river in huge numbers, very visibly.

The unnatural concentration of farm salmon causes viral reproduction at a much higher rate than in the relatively empty ocean, and thus a much higher chance of mutation. In Chile, where Norwegian ISA wiped out the industry – a $2billion loss – there are now 20 strains where there was only one Norwegian-imported strain. And to think 100% of diseases can be eliminated by moving farms to land. It’s so simple.

While it’s great we get some access to our own research dollars, you won’t believe the bad part. Minister Keith Ashfield is going to cut funding to Kristi Miller’s lab. It has been found ‘noncompliant with DFO policy’. No response from the Minister.

You may know DFO trotted out new regs that apply only to the west coast of Canada. They do not specify any particular virus/pathogen to be tested, say, ISA. Instead they require the industry to test for all pathogens. This includes ones we do not know exist and thus can’t test for. Hmm. Hey, Keith, can you put more of our taxpayer dollars into Miller’s lab.

560 Words

dcreid@catchsalmonbc.com

1. Kristi Miller SLV presentation: http://www.cohencommission.ca/DownloadExhibit.php?ExhibitID=688.

2. Cohen Commission speaker schedule: http://www.cohencommission.ca/en/Schedule/. You can get transcripts of these sessions. Many sites will provided digests and video.

3. Alexandra Morton’s rundown on the technical speakers: http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/Environment/2011/08/19/Cohen_Commission/.

4. Fraser River First Nations that want fish farms out of the water, and their own on-land farms: http://www.bclocalnews.com/fraser_valley/theprogress/news/127906018.html.

5. Watershed Watch will have daily summaries and, perhaps, video:
http://www.watershed-watch.org/issues/salmon-biodiversity/the-fraser-sockeye-inquiry/cohen-aquaculture-daily/.

6. DFO, BC only, regs: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/PDF/SOR-2010-270.pdf

6. Fish farm share prices:

Marine Harvest – Its shares have been in freefall for the last two years, plummeting to the almost deadly range of 49 cents. The damage was largely caused by their disastrous ISA problems in Chile, and more recently by cold water in Norway. They lost 1.4 billion Euros in Chile.

Mainstream Canada – Cermaq owns Mainstream and Cermaq is owned by the Norwegian government through its 43.5% share – shares have declined in the last three months 54.5% to $10.20. There is also the issue here that as owned by the Norwegian government there is no one person whose reputation can be tarnished. Cermaq/Mainstream lost $323 million in Chile.

Greig Seafoods – $1.70. Its shares have fallen 50% to $1.70 in the past three months.
.