Thursday, October 20, 2011

ISA in the New York Times


Monday's announcement that Infectious Salmon Anemia had been detected in British Columbia sent a shockwave through the region that has prompted concern throughout the Pacific Northwest. The implications of ISA on the west coast are potentially profound and while there is no other possible culprit but open net pen fish farms, the industry has been quick to cast doubt on the credibility of the science in a floundering attempt to protect their financial interests.

Coverage of the issue has been extensive, highlighted by an article in Monday's edition of the New York Times. Jim Winton, a fish pathologist with the US Geological Survey in Washington State has long been at the forefront of research on ISA and is quoted in the article saying that ISA in the North Pacific needs to be treated as a "disease emergency." This is absolutely correct, there is a tremendous need for research immediately and there needs to be a change in the way the issue of disease is managed by DFO. The salmon farming industry must be held accountable for the disease and parasites that have wrought havoc on wild populations in BC. Not testing is not an option and the burden of proof must be shifted to the industry and away from the wild fish and those that would come to their defense.

ISA on the west coast is bad news, but with an appropriate response it doesn't have to be catastrophic. Hopefully this will serve as a wake up call to the Canadian government and prompt legislation mandating that all salmon farms be moved onto land as soon as possible.

Article in the NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/science/18salmon.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=lethal%20virus&st=cse

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