Monday, December 19, 2011

Wrapping up the Cohen Commission


The three day emergency session of the Cohen Commission will wrap up today bringing the year long inquiry to an end, and the first two days have brought some interesting and unfortunate facts to light. Internal emails within the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have revealed explicitly what most spectators already knew, agency biologists are more concerned with winning a PR battle against salmon farming detractors than protecting wild fish by maintaining a high standard of objectivity in their science.

Furthermore,while CFIA officials very publically reported that follow up testing of samples which had tested positive for ISAv at the international reference lab in Prince Edward Island were negative" for ISAv, CFIA testing had actually revealed a weak, positive signal in seriously degraded samples. The result however was dismissed when it could not be duplicated and rather than stating the truth, that ISAv's presence in BC was unknown and yet to be confirmed fully, they reported that it was unequivocally not in BC. Now, just a few short weeks later yet more fish have tested positive for the disease and testing by DFO's own lab indicates that ISAv has been in BC at least since the 1980's.

Kristina Miller, DFO's resident disease expert also testified that while they have not been given access to testing farmed salmon since April 2010, a disease known as Heart and Skeletal Muscular Inflamation is now known to present in fish farms in BC, particularly those within the Clayoquot Sound Region. Clayoquot sounds is a UNESCO world heritage biosphere, and is home to some of the most pristine rivers on Vancouver Island, however some runs of wild salmon have hit rock bottom in the last few years dropping more than 20 fold in abundance from their recent average.

More information in the Common Sense Canadian:

http://thecanadian.org/k2/item/1226-winning-salmon-pr-war-cohen-commission-gillis

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