Thursday, December 8, 2011

Statement from Simon Fraser Disease Think Tank


Last week, Simon Fraser's Centre for Coastal Studies convened a multidisciplinary panel of scientists from all around the world to discuss the issue of disease and the threats it poses to wild salmon populations. Recently salmon from several populations have tested positive for Infectious Salmon Anemia virus (ISAv), a disease which devastated the Chilean fish farming industry, and work on the Fraser River has linked high prespawn mortality in Sockeye salmon with a viral pathogen. Having identified some of the challenges and data gaps which limit our ability to understand the impact of disease on wild salmon populations the panel produced a consensus statement with some recommendations and ideas, however because the group represented a broad swath of the science community and included individuals with a variety of perspectives on aquaculture and industry finding a consensus limited the group to some fairly general, albeit important statements.

Perhaps more interesting from a conservation standpoint are the convener's recommendations. While the recommendations may not please the aquaculture industry, they are fair, scientifically defensible and rooted in the best available science and the precautionary principle. It is important to note that while a number of individuals from DFO were invited they were not permitted to attend, barred from speaking publicly about disease, aquaculture and Fraser Sockeye. See those recommendations by clicking the link below:

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