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Thursday, 21 June 2012 13:22

Morton Reports More Salmon Viruses Found

I have given up talking to DFO or the Province of BC.  Below is a letter I sent this morning.
 
Dear Chief Rupert Wilson and Chief Rod Allan:
 
I am writing to report that farm fish in your territories have tested positive for European viruses known to the salmon farming industry in Norway and elsewhere that these Norwegian companies operate. They are not known to be natural to British Columbia.
 
Chief Wilson on June 3, 2012, an eagle picked up a dead Atlantic salmon from a mort tote sitting on the Shelter Pass salmon farm owned by Marine Harvest.  It took the salmon to a nearby island where we were able to take a small sample from the fish.  This fish has tested positive for the piscine reovirus, which scientists believe causes Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation.  It is known to cause heart failure in salmon, it turns their hearts to soft mush.  It is unknown if a salmon can swim up a river with this in her heart. This diagnosis was done in Norway at the University of Bergen. I have described and posted photographs of the extraordinary circumstances that provided this sample to us: http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2012/06/dear-marine-harvest-shareholders-1.html
 
Chief Rod Allan on March 25, 2012, we bought farmed steelhead from the Fairway market in Victoria on Quadra Street.  I have received positive test results for Salmon Alphavirus from these fish.  Norway is having a great deal of problems with this virus, forcing Marine Harvest to cull an entire farm right now due to this.  The market told us that they bought these fish from the Lois Lake steelhead farm in your territory.  West Coast Fish Culture reports they do rear Atlantic salmon in their hatchery from egg to the saltwater phase. I know they received 1,000,000 eggs in 2007 and raised them for one of the Atlantic salmon farming companies in BC.  I don't know more than this. This is the first report of this virus in British Columbia, there is one other report of the disease it causes - Pancreas Disease - in Atlantic salmon in BC  (Dr. Michael Kent ,ex-DFO in 1987).  I have posted details here: http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2012/06/first-detection-of-salmon-alphavirus-in-bc-farmed-steelhead-1.html
 
Government and industry are going to tell you these tests are wrong. Industry swore under oath at the Cohen Inquiry into the Fraser sockeye that no exotic disease have entered BC in Atlantic salmon.  I don't believe this to be true. I am using labs that are internationally recognized, have published extensively on salmon diseases and are bravely continuing this work in the face of assault on their careers for this and related work.
 
I am at your service to answer any questions or to discuss the next steps. I feel an enormous sense of tragedy that no one in government or elsewhere has reported these European viruses. I continue to find ISA virus - the salmon flu, but await more complete results.  
 
Wild salmon deal with disease by dying.  That is their first line of defence against epidemics, the death of the individual preserves their race.  Farm salmon are simply replaced, they die, they are replaced by more, thus diseases have the opportunity to reproduce, mutate and spill by the trillions into surrounding waters, an unprecedented bio-hazard. Your fish have never faced this before salmon farming.  Most of the Fraser sockeye are passing Shelter Pass as I write this.  I don't think Shelter Pass is exceptional, it is simply the one place an eagle provided us with a sample.
 
Respectfully and at your service,
 
Alexandra Morton, Gwayum'dzi
Anissa Reed
Published in Your Letters

 In response to the hundreds of you who wrote me about proposed Bill 37 BC Legislature Bills List that would make disease reporting a punishable offense, I have set up a petition at Salmon Flu petition By working with change.org we have the opportunity to reach the world.

Published in Take action!
Are our freedoms of speech and right to information at risk? It seems that more limits to our rights and freedoms are being enacted by the courts and both the Federal and Provincial governments. 
Published in Editorials
Thursday, 19 January 2012 12:26

Marine Harvest Pleads Guilty

As people from the Broughton Archipelago, where the crimes occurred, Alert Bay, Sointula, and Port Hardy looked on Marine Harvest pleaded guilty to charges related to illegal possession of wild fish. Marine Harvest made the unprecedented move to avert the 4 - day trail that had been scheduled.

At issue were juvenile pink salmon, almost certainly from Glendale River that ended up falling out of a huge bucket moving Atlantic salmon broodstock into a truck and 3cm herring that ended up in the farm salmon dump in Beaver Cove.

While flawed in many ways, this case made history twice over. It was the first time a private prosecution has ever been taken over and run by the Department of Justice to its conclusion and it is the first time the Norwegian salmon farming industry has been charged for taking wild fish.

With no obvious way out, Marine Harvest, represented by the BC Salmon Farmer lawyer in the Cohen Inquiry Alan Blair, pleaded guilty to a portion of the charge... the part about releasing the herring in the wrong place - that the fish were picked up at Arrow Pass and released at Midsummer. We heard the little herring all went back into the sea and a few of the larger herring were accidentally tossed into the pen with the Atlantic salmon.

This is not the way I heard it from Marine Harvest back in October 2009. Standing on a dock in Beaver Cove, Robert Mountain and I heard a Marine Harvest employee tell us that the smaller herring fell through a sorting grid and were put in totes and dumped in the farm salmon dump in Beaver Cove. We heard this when, tipped by a fish farmer disgusted by the situation contacted me, we went looking for them in the dump. We were met only by steaming piles of freshly turned bark and rotten fish.
Scooping morts

At 3cm the herring were almost certainly from Kingcome Inlet - a herring stock still in trouble that has not been fished for 20 years.

However..... now that Marine Harvest has received a warning - for having the pinks in June 2009, and have been found guilty of having the herring in October 2009, if they are caught with illegal wild fish again the offence rises. DFO asks that we "observe, record, report" so please do so if you see wild fish dying in industrial salmon farming operations. No one in BC is allowed to take fish without a licence.

The fine is $5,000 which is big compared to similar crimes.

I would like to thank Todd Gerhart of the Department of Justice for taking this all the way.

Chief Bob "O'wadi" Chamberlin of one of the Broughton Tribes had this to say today:

Marine Harvest convicted and fined for "incidental catch" of Wild Salmon smolts & Herring. DFO "missed" this in their monitoring of this Industry. I am not a statitician... But I believe it highly improbable, if not impossible, that this was the 1st & only time incidental catch occurred. Which points to monitoring gaps within the regulations, license conditions and operational policies.

Sea Lice impacts on Wild Salmon, Disease impacts on Wild Salmon, Incidental catch of Wild Salmon smolts, Herring "tonnage" as incidental catch..... Low Wild Salmon & Herring stock numbers! We need to establish our own Monitoring and Wild species protection measures.

In all seriousness, Whomever isn't for us...is against us. Take stock of those who particpate as FN's in this industry in "our territory." I fail to see how this is respectful of us as Musgamagw-Tsawataineuk peoples choices for "our territory"

Strong words for a peaceful leader.

Alexandra Morton

Published in News
The Cohen Commission is re-opening for three days on December 15, 16 and 19 to hear evidentiary testimony on the ISA virus. They will no doubt be looking into whether the DFO withheld a vital report on the virus from an earlier study taken in 2002 of wild salmon. The recently revealed report is being called "Fishyleaks" on the Superheroes4salmon blog.
It states that: “These results lead us to conclude that an asymptomatic form of ISA occurs among some species of wild Pacific salmon in the north Pacific.” The report is co-authored by staff at the DFO Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo and the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island.
Published in News
Saturday, 29 October 2011 15:18

Pestilence Loosed Upon BC

The New York Times did what I was not allowed to do - tell you there has been a second diagnosis of Infectious Salmon Anemia virus in wild BC salmon, this time in the Fraser River itself, the biggest wild salmon river in the world.

Published in News

Infectious Salmon Anemia virus has been found in two young sockeye salmon. Sheer reckless, negligent behaviour has loosed a highly infectious fish farm influenza virus into the North Pacific. I have been told over and over by industry and government that this could not happen, but they were wrong.

Published in News
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 17:49

Cohen Allows Morton Report as Exhibit

Last Friday, October 7, Justice Cohen ruled, against the objection by the lawyers for Canada and the Province of BC, to allow my report to become an Exhibit of the Cohen Commission. So I can now share it with you. 

Published in News
Sunday, 28 August 2011 22:35

Morton Letter to Premier Clark

Dear Premier Clark:

Salmon farms are dumping all their pathogens into public waters.  When the Provincial government of BC cited salmon farms on the Fraser sockeye migration route in 1992, the Fraser sockeye began declining one generation later.  DFO scientist Dr. Kristi Miller,  told the Cohen Inquiry last week that a virus is infecting, weakening and killing 100,000,000s  of Fraser sockeye and the evidence suggests it began infecting the sockeye in 1996. 

Dr. Miller is not allowed to speak to the media, she was flanked by guards at the hearing and her funding has been cut.

On August 26, Justice Cohen made the BC provincial salmon farm disease records the only Exhibit out of 1,534 Exhibits - not available to the public. 

The lawyer for the Province of BC argued this was in the public good.

Premier Clark, I would like to know your position on this decision.

Alexandra Morton
http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/

Wild Salmon Rally - Vancouver Art Gallery, 12:30-2:00 August 30, Tuesday events 
   10- 4pm 
be there if you don't feel good about secret viruses in  wild salmon

Published in Your Letters

Over the years, starting in earnest with the Kemano Completion Project fight in 1993, I’ve been highly critical of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and its politicization by the Mulroney government of that day.

Published in Rafe here...
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