Friday, 16 February 2018

PRV in 100% of Escaped Salmon - Up to 260,000

Cooke's Cypress Island escaped fish in WA has tested 100% for PRV. The farm had 305,000 salmon, 260,000 escaped.


Here is what the Wild Fish Conservancy in WA has to say:

"Contrary to agency claims, escaped Atlantic salmon were infected with a highly contagious and harmful virus

Lab results show 100% of escaped Atlantic salmon tested were infected with virus of Norwegian origin.

Wild Fish Conservancy (WFC) regrets to announce test findings that confirm long held fears about the nature of Atlantic salmon aquaculture in Puget Sound. This week, WFC received test results from an independent lab at the University of Prince Edward Island."

This would be the Fred Kibenge lab that the CFIA attacked at the OIE after they were unhappy with his Cohen Commission testimony, showing that government, like fish farms, attack their critics.

"WFC contracted the lab to test heart, gill, and kidney tissue samples obtained from 19 Atlantic salmon collected after the massive Cypress Island net pen escape last August. The 19 fish were donated to WFC by commercial, tribal, and recreational fishermen, and were caught in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the site of the Cypress Island escape, and 50 miles up the Skagit River.

Independent lab results demonstrate that 100% of escaped Atlantic salmon tested were highly infected with Piscine Orthoreovirus (PRV), and that the strain of the virus is of Norwegian origin.

PRV is known to be a highly contagious and debilitating salmonid virus, and is proven to be the causal agent for heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI)disease.1 HSMI causes a crippling onset of symptoms in salmonids, symptoms that would either kill or render a wild fish incapable of surviving in natural conditions. HSMI has caused up to 20% mortality in Atlantic salmon net pens in Norway.2Significant mortalities from HSMI have also been reported in farmed Atlantic salmon in Scotland and Chile. 1,3Recently, HSMI has been reported in farmed Atlantic salmon in British Columbia.3"

The facts are that 80- to 90-% of BC farmed salmon have PRV, meaning they should not be in the water. And, if you can believe it, DFO, Minister Dominic LeBlanc, is suing Alex Morton in BC, on appeal, so as to continue using PRV infected fish, because the industry has no other fish.

Both Kristi Miller and Alex Morton have shown PRV in wild BC salmon. Kristi Miller's lab is one that confirms that PRV causes HSMI.

"Peer-reviewed scientific literature demonstrates a high likelihood that Atlantic salmon net pens infected with PRV will amplify the virus and spread it to wild salmon. PRV survives well in sea water, and is known to spread out long distances from farms.4 The spread of PRV from farmed Atlantic to wild salmon has been well documented, and a 2017 BC study demonstrated that significantly more wild salmon were infected with PRV if they had been exposed to salmon farms than if they were located far away.2"

And: "As PRV builds up in a salmon’s red blood cells, the virus may reduce the amount of oxygen cells can transport to the fish’s muscles,6 lowering the fish’s performance. For a wild fish, reduced performance means a reduced ability to capture prey, evade predators, and swim upriver to spawn"

This is the Viral Signature work of Miller, and was released during the Cohen Commission showing that up to 90% of runs infected with PRV failed to reach the spawning grounds or reach it and be unable to spawn. 

And: “Based on the results of this sampling,” Dr. Gayeski said, I estimate that more than 99.9% of the 260,000+ fish that escaped from the Cypress Island net pen are infected with PRV."

And a government agency in WA decided, just like the BCMAL testing facility in BC, along with Dominic LeBlanc:

"Yet during a January 30th press conference announcing a state agency investigative report into the Cypress Island spill, a spokeswoman for WDFW, who acted as incident commander and co-authored the report, contradicted the report’s own findings, stating: “The released fish... were healthy at the time of release. Of the escaped fish, there was no disease. No endemic bacterial, viral, or parasitic (including sea lice) pathogens were detected at the time of release.”8

Amy Windrope, North Puget Sound Regional Director"

This is what governments do all around the world, and in WA, it is for 80 jobs, that's all, with Cooke claiming a total of 180 with the spinoff/multiplier jobs. Peanuts and not worth defending.

I add to this by saying: this is the kind of case that shows 'hubris' on the part of government, in this case, the reverse, meaning the science means the opposite and there is no reason to take fish farms out of the water.

Not so surprisingly, the WFC was pretty angry with the government person: "“I’m outraged,” said Kurt Beardslee, executive director of Wild Fish Conservancy. “The Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound net pens originate from Norway, and we now know they are highly infected with a harmful virus from Norway. I’m outraged this disease is being amplified into our public waters, and I’m outraged our state agencies are willfully misleading the public. When the public finds out about this atrocity, they will be outraged as well. Wild salmon are the environmental, social, economic, and cultural cornerstone of this region, we can't afford to put them at greater risk. We need to take corrective actions and remove this dangerous industry from Puget Sound before it’s too late.”

Amy can't have it right that the fish have no PRV, but governments often make the semantic claim - happens at BCMAL all the time - that the fish  may have PRV, but that is not the same thing as having a disease, HSMI, which is true. However, you don't get HSMI unless you have PRV.

The WFC press release concludes:

"The lab work presents another stunning revelation, finding the strain of PRV present in 100% of the tested samples to be of Norwegian origin. This discovery raises immediate concerns as to whether Cooke Aquaculture is placing infected Atlantic salmon into open-water net pens in our public waters.

In British Columbia, a recent lawsuit provided that many BC salmon farms are being stocked by salmon infected with PRV. 9 In one instance, British Columbia’s predominant Atlantic salmon net pen company conceded that 5 out of 6 of their hatcheries were infected with PRV.

Considering the multitude of scientific studies that demonstrate PRV from open-water pens will likely spread to and harm wild fish, WFC is deeply disturbed by the disease’s apparent ubiquity among escaped Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound, and incensed by WDFW’s willingness to obfuscate the existence and harmful nature of the disease. Even moretroubling is the possibility of the virus being imported into public waters from an outside source, as lab results seem to suggest."

This is why I argue that asking for science is a manipulation. Cooke has already said the government text on Cypress is factually incorrect, they don't have competent people, and science needs to provide an answer. As you note, science is being used in this case. I think  that is unfortunate because Cooke will argue, no, there was no disease, the science doesn't say that and... we need more science.

Then five years goes by and then they say, the science doesn't say that, and... we need more science.

Let's hope the bill to phase them out is passed into law without the Legislature mistakenly asking for science.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Washington Kills Fish Farms Updated Feb 14, 2018

Good news everyone. Washington State has passed legislation to phase out fish farms. See bill: SB 6086 - 2017-18 at:

This means that every Pacific coast jurisdiction in North America, other than BC, either has no fish farms or expressly forbids them, meaning, California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. That means the pressure is all on BC, and the government of BC has said it will be putting fish farms on land. That means the pressure is on the federal government to stop wasting our Canadian oceans and get with the program.

Here is the digest of the second amended bill:

Prohibits the department of natural resources fromentering into a new lease, renewing or extending an existing lease, or other use authorization where the use includes marine finfish aquaculture of Atlantic salmon. 
Requires the department of fish and wildlife and the department of ecology to only authorize or permit marine finfish aquaculture of Atlantic salmon where it is an authorized use under a lease of state-owned aquatic lands.
Prohibits the department of fish and wildlife and the department of ecology, for marine finfish aquaculture of Atlantic salmon, from authorizing or permitting any of the activities or operations after the expiration date of the relevant lease of state-owned aquatic lands.
Requires the department of ecology, the department of natural resources, and the department of fish and wildlife to continue the existing effort to update guidance and informational resources to industry and governments for planning and permitting commercial marine net pen aquaculture."
And the Governor, Jay Inslee, will sign the legislation into law. View the video:

Inslee had this to say:  

"I'm announcing today that it is no longer acceptable for the people of the State of Washington to expose our waters to the threats posed by nonnative Atlantic salmon in net pens. We need to transition and phase out the leases that now exist, because this is a risk that is intolerable and not acceptable."

-Governor Jay Inslee

And here is Cooke saying it will fight on, as in the closure is political and only science will show the farms should continue, WA not having competent people in its point of view. Note that Cooke claims its 180 jobs make a difference in an area with 3.8 million people. Wake up Cooke and update your spin:

Here is another article on WA closing fish farms:

Monday, 12 February 2018

Cooke Farm Comes Apart, Government Covers Up, NS, Updated Feb 13, 2018

Cooke loses another fish farm, this time in NS, CDN. I will give you the several letters that explain the case of how the site is in the way of too much weather, and three farms have been lost.

Here, from Darroll Tingley

Cooke Site 1358 Jordan Bay

Mr. Rankin
Minister of Environment

Chickens are coming home to roost.

Minister of Aquaculture Keith Colwell told the world that with the new aquaculture regulations any and all problems will be handled by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. Those assurances ended today when NS Environment informed myself that any issues with escaped/deceased salmon must be referred to the Minister of Aquaculture for disclosure. In addition the phone number Minister Colwell referred individuals to was wrong. (Incorrect # 1-800-565-2224...correct # 1-877-936-8476)

Also today I was informed that the Cooke Liaison Committee does not exist in Shelburne. Minister Colwell and BS Hancock have referred individuals to contact the committee for questions/resolutions. David Levy, the last holdout of the committee, stated that the phony committee no longer exists. As a Municipality of Shelburne Councillor he will take the environmental destruction to the Municipal Council.

Mr. Rankin please advise Minister Colwell that NS Environment is unable to answer questions on escaped or dead fish. That this is a matter for Fisheries and Aquaculture. Incompetence at this level should be met with fury by the Premier and a firing should be in order.

Mr. Rankin the force of the January 4, 2018 storm at Site 1358 dislodged 3 corner buoys, several cages were under water, 17 out of the 20 bird cages were violently torn off, several cages were split open allowing salmon to escape. The Minister holds on to the false claim that no salmon escaped. Colwell is making  you, the premier and government look stupid. Honesty would help!

In addition, Minister Colwell has stated that very few salmon perished in the historic storm. No one familiar with fin fish aquaculture in coastal waters believe this fable. Local lobster fishers in the area don't believe that any survived based on the severity of the storm. As well, Cooke Aqua has made no attempt to feed any surviving fish. Alive or dead?

Mr. Rankin the whole world is watching this marine disaster. Mr. Cowell is incapable of rational behaviour and the mater should be referred to the cabinet for resolution. The lease for Site 1358 should be terminated and the site cleaned up. Under no circumstances should Cooke or any other company be able to operate an aquaculture site in these coastal waters. Three complete failures in a couple of years is all the evidence the government needs to make this just decision. 

Residents in Jordan Bay/West Green Harbour deserve better from their government. Blindly supporting the company over local interests boggles the mind. Time for corrective action.

I await your reply.

Darrell Tingley
Chester, NS

Now, the letter from the government:

 Mr. Darrell Tingley
Dear Mr. Tingley:
Office of the Minister
PO Box 442, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 2P8 •
Our File number:

Thank you for your December 28, 2017 and January 22, 2018 emails concerning Cooke
Aquaculture. We take all reports of non-compliance seriously, and want to ensure we inspect
aquaculture sites to evaluate whether they are following the applicable legislation. 

In response to your concerns at the Cooke Aquaculture sites you identified, NSE Conservation
Enforcement Officers conducted an investigation into the allegations, spoke to Fisheries &
Aquaculture staff, Cooke Aquaculture staff, and conducted on-the-water site inspections.

Based on our investigation, we found no evidence of a contravention of the provincial legislation
regulating aquaculture.
As a result, we concluded our investigation. I would also like to add that
the shoreline cleanup was completed by January 23, 2018. There may be some pieces that were
missed; however, the operator of the aquaculture sites plans to conduct shoreline sweeps in the
future to collect any debris that was missed.

Thank you for your concerns. Please direct further inquiries to Orlando Fraser, Manager,
Conservation Enforcement - Western Region, at (902} 798-7914 or via email at
lain Rankin, MLA
Minister of Environment
c: Orlando Fraser

Finally, the response after the government found 'no evidence of contravention':

Mr. Fraser
Environment NS

It has come to my attention that you have been assigned to future investigations surrounding site 1358 in Jordan Bay. Although Minister Rankin claims in his letter that all cleanup was completed on January 23, 2018 just yesterday, February 9,2018 staff from Environment and DNR were on site in West Green Harbour identifying the location(s) of additional debris. In fact, it is estimated that it will take weeks to clean up the mess around Blue Island.Does this not beg the question as to whether the necessary work has been completed?

In addition to the unfinished cleanup from the January 4, 2018 storm, Kelly Cove Salmon/Cooke Aquaculture are attempting to piece together aquaculture site 1358. Mr. Orlando are you in charge of this charade? Is it the company plan to put salmon smolt in the cages once the million or so pounds of dead salmon are removed? To date 30,000 pounds of dead salmon have been removed, however, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Are you in charge of ensuring the net pens are cleaned out from the salmon that perished in the aftermath of the January 4, 2018 winter hurricane? Or does that belong to Minister Colwell of Fisheries & Aquaculture? Who is responsible for controlling the "death slicks" floating away from the cages? Marine life is under threat and this is not being attended to. What government department is responsible?

Mr Fraser, the winter hurricane of January 4th, 2018 did significant damage to the infrastructure of site 1358. Three corner buoys were moved and the site no longer lies within its lease, 17 of 20 bird nets were ripped off, at least 2 net pens were torn open allowing all salmon in these pens to escape (estimated at a minimum of 20,000 fish). Thousands of feet of feeding tube and bird net supports were removed from the shoreline along with numerous other items too numerous to list. Who, if anyone, has given Kelly Cove Salmon/Cooke Aqua permission to rebuild site 1358? The site is compromised and a rebuild will fail and result in another collapse with the next storm. Mr. Fraser, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

Mr. Fraser this is the 3rd successive failure of site 1358. In 2015 all salmon perished from super chill, in 2017 all died from disease and 2018 all perished as a result of winter storms. Who in their right mind would give approval for Kelly Cove Salmon/Cooke Aquaculture to murder another 500,000 salmon? What a disgusting industry and what an irresponsible government!

Mr. Fraser the fishers and residents of West Green Harbour/Jordan Bay have seen enough of this sick industry. Do the right thing and revoke the lease of site 1358. If Minister Colwell is responsible will you recommend to him to pull the plug? Are you up to the task?

Darrell Tingley
Chester, NS

This is how government acts against the interests and wishes of its own citizens that want fish farms on land. The tipping point on this issue took place four years ago with Norway refusing to auction anymore in-ocean licences, while granting on-land ones for free. Now WA has legislated them out of the water, making BC the only jurisdiction allowing fish farms on the Pacific ocean of North America.

And in Washington, Cooke says the government lacks the skills for a scientific explanation, missing the boat completely, because fish farms always argue for more science, and then, when it is in, say it doesn't say we are to blame... we need more science. And so on. Too bad for Cooke:

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Lice Kill Wild Salmonids

As if we had not already had enough studies that show fish farm lice kill wild salmonids, here is a review article from Norway that in 2018, makes the same point:

 Here is a note from the beginning, in Google translate:

"A new report has summarized research results from various studies of how salmon lice affects salmon and sea fish stocks. It concludes that there is significant evidence that there is a connection between areas with large farmed activity and spread of salmon lice to wild salmon and sea trout stocks. Many studies show that the impact can be such that it can lead to significantly increased mortality for the fish, thus reducing fish stocks, which also results in reduced harvestable surplus for fishing. Depending on file sizes, increased mortality due to salmon lice may also cause too few spawning fish to reach the spawning stock targets."

And: "Effects of salmon lice on wild fish are well researched compared to many other human influences on nature, says Eva B. Thorstad from NINA, who is one of the researchers behind the summary."

So don't let salmon farms tell you lice aren't a problem. The effects are well studied.

And just how bad is the effect? Pretty bad:

"Salmon stocks in farmed intensive areas can be reduced by an average of 12-29% fewer spawning fish. This has been demonstrated in large scale studies in nature where groups of individually marked fish have been protected from salmon lice with chemical treatment and compared to untreated fish.
In Norway, annual loss of wild salmon is estimated due to salmon lice approx. 50,000 salmon per year for the years 2010-2014, ie a loss of 10% of wild salmon due to salmon lice. Salmon lice is one of the two biggest stock threats against Norwegian salmon stocks, says Thorstad."

And: "Finstad points out that mortality in sea trout is likely to be higher than in salmon because the sea trout stays near the coast during the entire sea stay, in the same areas that the fish farms are usually located."

That means in BC, the prime species to be hit is sea-run cutthroat trout, and secondarily Dolly Varden Charr. Not Good.