Cohen commision report must be acted upon

Provincial and federal government science proves net-pen salmon farms now pose more than a minimal risk of serious harm

Filed for publication with the Mirror

Dear Premier Christy Clark,

Please respect the Cohen Commission’s recommendations and the 26 million taxpayer dollars spent in arriving at them.

We refer to recommendations 15 through 20 that deal with siting of fish farms, which the BC Provincial government issues in the way of leases.

We specifically refer to recommendations 15 and 18 that state the proximity to migrating Fraser River sockeye should be explicitly considered when siting salmon farms and If at any time between now and September 30, 2020 it is determined that net-pen salmon farms in the Discovery Islands (fish health sub-zone 3-2) pose more than a minimal risk of serious harm to the health of migrating Fraser River sockeye salmon, they should be promptly ordered to cease operations.

Provincial and federal government science proves net-pen salmon farms now pose more than a minimal risk of serious harm to the health of migrating Fraser River Sockeye Salmon. In an April 20, 2012 televised interview, provincial veterinarian Dr. Gary Marty confirmed he found the Piscine Reovirus (PRV) in 75 per cent of BC farm salmon he tested. Dr. Marty suggests  PRV is not a concern, yet a study published in the April 9, 2012 Veterinary Research Journal  titled “Immunohistochemical detection of piscine reovirus (PRV) in hearts of Atlantic salmon coincide with the course of heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI)”shows the association between PRV and HSMI and strengthens the hypothesis of PRV being the causative agent of HSMI. On December 15, 2011,DFO scientist Dr. Kristy Miller testified at the Cohen Commission that the PRV virus was detected in a Chinook farm in Clayoquot Sound, as well as, in Fraser Sockeye. PRV was first found in a Norwegian fish farm.

A 2010 Public Library of Science publication titled “Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation of Farmed Salmon Is Associated with Infection with a Novel Reovirus” provides evidence that HSMI is associated with infection with piscine reovirus (PRV) and concludes that measures must be taken to control PRV not only because it threatens domestic salmon production but also due to the potential for transmission to wild salmon populations.

Smolts come out of the rivers healthy, but can be subjected to billions of viral particles when migrating past the farms.

In August 25, 2011 Cohen Commission testimony, DFO, Dr. Kyle Garver, informed that during a viral outbreak a single salmon farm can release 650 billion infectious viral particles per hour. The study was done on the IHN Virus.

The Cohen Commission recommendations must be acted upon immediately with no renewal of fin-fish farm leases in the Discovery Islands, sub-zone 3-2. We request you protect these migration routes as recommended by Justice Cohen.

Leona Adams

On behalf of the Campbell River Estuary Protection Group