Follow My Work:

Premier Horgan something you should know

January 17, 2018

Dear Premier John Horgan:

As you ponder whether to renew 1/4 of BC salmon farm tenures that are expiring in Musgamagw and Namgis territories, there is something you should know. As the landlord to these three Norwegian companies, you will decide which runs of wild salmon are exposed to the pathogen effluent from this industry.
Sockeye open sore
Piscine reovirus and your lab’s failure to diagnosis its disease have been in the media lately, but today I am writing about ISA virus, a farm salmon influenza virus, that is internationally reportable because countries are keen to protect themselves from it.
In 2011, I began sending samples of BC farm salmon for ISA virus testing and the virus was detected.
In 2016, I co-published a paper on ISA virus in BC in a top-tier scientific journal.
Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 6.31.02 PM
DFO and Provincial fish farm pathologist, Dr Gary Marty, tried and failed to have the paper “retracted”.
But here is why I am writing to you.
In 2012, shortly after we announced the first detection of ISAV in BC, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) put"a stream of commerce”in place for one year.
In May 2012, Alfred Bungay, DFO National Manager for Aquatic Animal Health explains in an internal email:
Until then [December 10, 2012] the permit requirement at the border will not be strictly enforced.That is to say if a shipment [of Atlantic salmon eggs]arrives at the border without a CFIA permit or it does not meet all of the requirements the CFIA may still allow the shipment to enter Canada.
The most lethal salmon virus known is detected in BC and the CFIA lowers farm salmon importation standards, elevating risk to Pacific salmon!
I filed a request for information on who made this high-risk decision and why. I recently received this reply:
“..the records were deleted as transitory, some were lost as a result of a computer malfunction and some hard copy files were misplaced.” (Manager for the CFIA Access to Information and Privacy).
The CFIA didn't say there were no records of their inexplicable decision, they said the records were - deleted, lost and misplaced.
I would welcome the opportunity to argue the evidence that ISA virus is present in BC, but this goes beyond the presence of this virus, this smacks of regulatory capture and significant government failure to protect Canadian interests. Lowering Canada’s first line of defense against a virus spreading worldwide in farm salmon is not in the public interest.
Emaciated blind
The demands of the salmon farmers have become dangerous to political careers.
Minister LeBlanc, who hopes for a legacy of science and protection of wild salmon, is so tangled up serving the Norwegians he is actually fighting me in court (round 2) to continue breaking Canadian law by permitting transfer of infected farm fish into BC waters because Marine Harvest would be "severely impacted" if they were denied this right.
You are a politician who wants to be seen as committed to reconciliation with First Nations, but your image is at risk as you decide whether to honour Musgamagw and Namgis demands not to renew fish farm tenures in their territories?
Horgan marches in Vancouver 2017
One quarter of BC salmon farms are operating in territories without agreements with First Nations, against their wishes. and members of these nations continue their 148-day vigil on Marine Harvest facilities.
Horgan Svanvik
I understand that biological safeguards against fish farm pathogens are a federal government responsibility, but when the federal government dramatically shirks this responsibility, this responsibility falls to you. You will decide what Norwegian viruses critically depressed wild salmon populations are exposed to.
The ongoing fish farm scandal continues to unfold.
Alexandra Morton