This could be a long winter for all involved
BC salmon test negative for deadly virus, CFIA reports Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun : Tuesday, November 08, 2011 6:06 PM
New testing by Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans has found no sign of the ISA virus in B.C. wild salmon.
SFU researcher Rick Routledge and salmon farming opponent Alexandra Morton reported last month that samples taken from B.C. sockeye salmon in Rivers Inlet had tested positive for the ISA virus, which is known to be lethal to Atlantic salmon of the kind widely farmed in B.C.
The CFIA reported today that additional testing has not confirmed the results released by Morton and Routledge.
The virus is not known to be harmful to Pacific wild salmon, but it could have devastated the salmon farming industry.
The BC Salmon Farmers Association response to the news follows:
News that no Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) was detected in follow up testing of Pacific salmon samples by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is welcome information for B.C.'s salmon farmers.
Following up on unconfirmed results publicized widely by anti-salmon farm campaigners four weeks ago, the CFIA tested the same sample collection plus additional samples collected and had no positive results for ISA.
"This is a significant result for everyone involved: researchers, regulators, wild salmon advocates, salmon farmers and our coastal communities," said Mary Ellen Walling, Executive Director. "After seeing the original news distributed in such an inflammatory way, we hope this update will allay those concerns."
On Oct. 17, Simon Fraser University hosted a press conference claiming that positive results had been found in two of 48 smolt samples tested for ISAv. This was contrary to every other previous test for ISA in B.C. with nearly 5,000 fish analyzed since 2003. They all showed negative for the virus.
In the follow up testing done by CFIA, all of those 48 smolts tested negative as did other samples collected by CFIA from researchers involved. Some samples were too degraded for testing to be completed.
The allegation that ISA had been found in B.C. was concerning to B.C. salmon farmers who, while confident that the extensive testing showed ISA is not on their farms, were worried about the possible effect of the virus which is harmful to Atlantic salmon. Pacific salmon are relatively immune to ISAv.
"This is a good example of why proper sampling, testing and reporting procedures are in place and should be followed: the unconfirmed report from Simon Fraser appeared to be designed to create as much hype as possible. This has cost significant resources in time and money in emergency follow-up while also potentially impacting international markets for our business," said Walling.
"We're pleased to see the thorough way CFIA is following up, but are dismayed at the way campaigners used this to create fear about our operations," said Walling.
The BCSFA understands that the investigation by the CFIA is continuing. The industry is providing any additional information to the CFIA as needed. In the meantime, our farmers continue in their regular, ongoing sampling/monitoring program.
The BCSFA represents salmon farm companies and those who supply services and supplies to the industry. Salmon-farming provides for 6,000 direct and indirect jobs while contributing $800-million to the provincial economy each year.
© Shaw Media Inc., 2011. All rights reserved.
Read it on Global News: Global BC | BC salmon test negative for deadly virus, CFIA reports