Letter-writer E. Kearns suggests there should be little objection to a moratorium on fish farms during investigation.

Still fishing for a different culprit

Editor:

Re: Salmon inquiry’s debate targets farms, Nov. 17.

Editor:

Re: Salmon inquiry’s debate targets farms, Nov. 17.

Much appreciation to regional reporter Jeff Nagel for his well-documented article about B.C.’s aquaculture industry, which, among other things, points out fish farming’s alleged negative impact on the health and survival of B.C.’s wild sockeye salmon.

Also was glad to learn that the Cohen Inquiry will reconvene in mid-December to consider evidence surrounding Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) virus.

Let’s hope Justice Bruce Cohen will take into account the findings of the OIE, an independent international laboratory which has identified the presence of the European strain of the ISA virus in B.C. wild salmon.

In spite of mounting evidence, it seems Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the province of B.C. are vigorously looking for other sources of the virus, rather than signaling out the fish farms, which are known to have destroyed the wild-fish industry in other countries, like Chile and Norway.

Furthermore, shouldn’t the DFO and B.C. Department of Fisheries be taking a hint from the State of Alaska, which took the initiative to ban fish farms in order to protect their wild-salmon stocks quite some time ago?

I have written to Dr. Laura Richards, head of DFO, expressing my concern about whether it is safe to feed B.C. wild salmon to my family, however did not get any definitive  answer,  but was referred by Tanis Edwards on behalf of Dr. Richards to DFO’s aquaculture division.

A quotation from her email speaks volumes, keeping in mind my inquiry was about the security of eating B.C. wild salmon specifically, not farm fish: “Monitoring of fish health records is the responsibility of DFO’s aquaculture management division’s fish health audit and surveillance program. This program conducts more than 100 assessments of (B.C.) salmon farms per year.”

So now, the fate of B.C. wild salmon depends on whether the Cohen Inquiry is privy to all the independent evidence that’s available, so that Cohen will rule on the side of caution.

Surely, there should be little objection for imposing a moratorium on B.C. fish farms until such time as DFO’s aquaculture management division can prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is no conflict of interest over the issue of whether or not ISA virus or any other disease has been introduced into B.C. wild salmon stocks via the aquaculture industry.

As it stands, the monitoring of health of wild salmon stocks is about as reliable as a fox guarding a hen house.

E. Kearns, White Rock

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