N.S. fish farm rejected: risk to wild salmon.

Discussion in 'Conservation, Fishery Politics and Management.' started by Foxsea, Mar 13, 2013.

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  1. Foxsea

    Foxsea Well-Known Member

    Boo Hoo ...

    HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government is turning its back on rural communities and throwing away dozens of jobs by rejecting an application for a fish farm in Shoal Bay, aquaculture company Snow Island Salmon said Wednesday.

    Shane Borthwick, vice-president of operations, said it was a "terrible day" for the company, adding that the decision has jeopardized the firm's future.

    "We've brought money and talent to this province, provided a strong, sustainable sea farming model, and are now facing the most serious threat to the viability of our business at the hands of the government that invited us here in the first place," he said in a statement.

    The province's minister of fisheries and aquaculture, Sterling Belliveau, said Fisheries and Oceans Canada expressed concern about the salmon farm's impact on wild salmon in the bay near Sheet Harbour during the 22-month review process.

    The federal department said the site would represent a moderate risk to wild salmon. The province said it is the first time Fisheries and Oceans has described a proposed fish farm as representing a moderate risk to wild salmon.

    Belliveau said the province's decision is not a sign that the government is changing its support for fish farms, which was part of its aquaculture strategy released last year.

    He said the government believes the aquaculture industry can help rural Nova Scotia's economy.

    "We are growing aquaculture into an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable industry, creating year-round jobs and increased wealth in rural Nova Scotia," he said in a statement.

    Snow Island criticized the government's handling of the application, saying the decision was unexpected and did not appear to be based on science.

    President Alan Balfour said the firm's Scottish parent company, Loch Duart, would have to assess whether to maintain operations in the province.

    There has been opposition to fish farms around Nova Scotia, including proposals by Snow Island Salmon to develop farms in Spry Harbour, Shoal Bay and Beaver Harbour on the province's Eastern Shore.

    Several groups have asked for a moratorium until a full environmental assessment can be done on open-pen farming to determine its impact on wild salmon, the lobster fishery and residents.

  2. GDW

    GDW Active Member

    You beat me to it!


    The federal government assesed this site as a moderate risk and the Nova Scotia government has done a surprising thing and rejected the proposal. This is a great sign that government is waking up to the risks of fish farms. Hope to see more of this in the future. Love how the fish farm company is threatening to pull out all together. PLEASE DO. Just don't ask the BC government to come here because they will probably let you.
  3. tincan

    tincan Well-Known Member

    To quote from the Cohen Commission Recommendations:

    If at any time between now and September 30,
    2020, the minister of fisheries and oceans
    determines 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, he or she should promptly
    order that those salmon farms cease

    To quote from the article above:

    The federal department said the site would represent a moderate risk to wild salmon. The province said it is the first time Fisheries and Oceans has described a proposed fish farm as representing a moderate risk to wild salmon.

    Sounds like on the East Coast DFO see things quite a lot differently than they historically have on our West Coast... hopefully this is a sign that things are changing. Quite a historic announcement I would say.

    And BTW pro-fish farm apologists, MODERATE RISK > MINIMAL RISK. Time for the truth to be told.
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  4. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    This decision is not applicable to BC at all. Farmed Atlantics pose an environmental risk to wild Atlantics; that has been proven in many countries that have indigenous Atlantics, mainly through farm fish escapees breeding with the ultra low population of wild salmon, trashing the remaining gene pool. The difference is BC has Pacific salmon that cannot interbreed with Atlantics. As for disease transfer between the two species, all that can be confirmed here in BC, today, is that Atlantics are very susceptible to Pacific salmon viruses. If the opposite is also true, Riddell and Miller will confirm that.
  5. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    AND the CFIA and DFO will continue to lie, deflect, and hide the truth while trying to intimidate and silence independent researchers and labs. Shame on Stephen, Kiley, and Jones et al.
  6. GDW

    GDW Active Member

    Perfect! If atlantics are very susceptible to pacific salmon virus' then fish farms should NOT BE HERE. Here is what can happen let's pretend the farmed atlantics are perfect fish with no disease or virus' of their own (highly unlikely).

    Pacific salmon return to their streams. Some of them are ill from 4 years at sea - no fault of the salmon farms. These wild pacific salmon transfer their native disease to the farmed atlantics which Dave (a fish farm supporter) has admitted the farmed fish are very vulnerable to.

    Now the wild salmon go off spawn and die. The virus dies with them as there are no hosts alive in the river to transfer to save a few trout. The farmed salmon however are trapped in their net pens. The virus is mutating and multiplying spreading to more and more farmed fish. Fast forward to the out migration of the salmon smolts. These happy little fish are swimming for the open ocean and pass by the salmon farms that are now infected with pacific salmon virus'. These small week smolts meet a high concentration of the virus spilling out from the net pens. The smolts get sick, some die, some survive to carry the virus out into the ocean and spread it to other fish.

    Had the farms not been there most of these smolts would not have come into contact with the virus and certainly not at such a high concentration. See the problem? Even if its not the atlantics who bring the virus they can still catch, grow and spread pacific virus' to smolts who normally would not encounter schools of penned adult salmon on their out migration.

    Also Nova Scotia isn't just worried about their remaining Atlantic salmon they worry about what 'slice' (sea lice treatment) is doing to their crustations like crabs and lobsters (prawns could be effected here). That part certainly does apply to BC.

    People in Canada are finally waking up to the dangers. Miller should confirm a lot if she is aloud to do her research without threats and intimidation from the government and the industry - but I think studies around the world already point to what she is going to find out. That is net pens and wild sea life do not mix!
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2013
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  7. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    So lets wait for the science to confirm your fears.
  8. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    I know Simon Jones rather well ... are you calling him a liar?
  9. GDW

    GDW Active Member

    Let's not wait Dave let's take action now we have been waiting and delaying long enough. I hope the fish farm companies and to an extent their employees have funds left to put towards the restoration of the BC coast if our fears are confirmed to be true.

    I know what will happen though you'll take your profits and leave us with the mess.
  10. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Thanks for nibbling Dave.

    NO - not a liar, necessarily. I never used that word.

    But let me put it back on you: What term would you use to describe a public official working on a public resource that conspires to hide vital informaton about risks and impacts of that resource - from the public?

    outraged? Hope so. Here's the lead-in straight from the Cohen Exhibits:

    Dr. Molly Kibenge was a post-doctoral scientist in Dr. Simon Jones’ laboratory at the PBS from approximately January 2003 to June 2004. In her work, Dr. M. Kibenge tested samples from Pacific salmon for ISA and other diseases, using RT-PCR and cell culture assays.

    In 2004, Molly Kibenge detected the presence of ISAv in 64 out of 64 Cultus Lake sockeye salmon (Ex. 2045; p. 13).

    In early 2004, Dr. M. Kibenge reported the results of her research in a draft paper titled, “Presence of Infectious Salmon Anaemia Virus nucleotide sequences in wild Pacific salmon.”

    As Molly's supervisor - it appears Jones squashed and hid that paper - even from Cohen. It's all in the Cohen documents.

    Can't wait to read what excuses you dream-up to defend his actions.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2013
  11. Foxsea

    Foxsea Well-Known Member

    The decision IS applicable if we consider even a small part of the range of harm that fish farming presents to Pacific wild salmon and the ocean environment:

    -ocean bio-mass is diverted from the natural food chain to farmed fish.
    -fish farms are placed on the migratory routes of Pacific wild salmon, transferring parasites and disease to wild fish.
    -parasites, bacteria, viruses, pesticides, anti-biotics and chemicals move freely from the net-pen cages, polluting the open ocean environment.
    -farm fish are unnaturally packed together, providing incubation for parasites and disease that subsequently bloom out into the ocean.
    -farmed salmon are treated with hormones, pesticides and antibiotics, which create prolific and resistant pests common to both species.
    -the ocean floor becomes a dead zone below farm salmon net-pens. The chemical and organic residue from open net-pens kills ocean life over a footprint much larger than that occupied by the actual farming operations.

    I hope the N.S. fish farm rejection signifies at least, a change in government policy around assessment of future fish farm applications.
  12. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    I certainly did nibble but haven’t totally inhaled yet. I don’t have the patience to find Dr. Jones reply to that question but if memory serves, the samples Molly worked on were degraded to the point duplication of results were not defensible.
    When you cannot defend your data, you keep working to make it so and that is what makes him, imo, an excellent and responsible scientist.
    One thing many may not be aware of ... Jones was the leading researcher on Parvicapsula minibicornis infection of Fraser River sockeye ... was collecting and analysing much data, as this myxosporean kidney parasite is considered the leading cause of psm in Fraser River sockeye. Funding for this research was sadly redirected to sea lice studies when Ms. Morton thought and told the world Broughton pinks would be extinct in just a few generations.
  13. GDW

    GDW Active Member

    Nice Dave. They find ISA in 64 out of 64 samples. They don't want to find ISA so what's the solution? Let the samples degrade so the results can't be duplicated. 64 out of 64 tested positive but the results were not duplicated therefor it doesn't exist? Yea great science all right - unless your looking for the truth.
  14. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Dave: the only “not defensible” item in the discussion over hiding ISA results is the actions of our public officials. There are a number of key individuals in both CFIA and DFO that have totally forgotten who they are working for and what their priorities actually are suppossed to be. Their moral compass has veered due to the big steel boat of corporate greed coming alongside of DFO and CFIA.

    IF Jones is an “excellent and responsible scientist” as you claim – then why isn't he an excellent and responsible public official as well? It certainly isn't because he was too dumb to figure-out the implications of what the confirmation of ISA would mean – quite the opposite.

    Instead of protecting the trade of the open net-cage industry – DFO AND CFIA have legislated as a primary responsibility to protect Canada's resources – and specifically our fisheries resources for DFO - INSTEAD they promote and protect the open net-pen industry. It's a huge conflict of interest, as Cohen and others pointed-out.

    In addition, as proven and dictated by many, successive court decisions: ALL federal and Provincial departments, agencies and representatives have the legal obligation (a fiducary duty) to consult, co-manage and accommodate First Nations and their needs and concerns when managing public resources. The degree of the consultation depends upon the degree of potential infringement. It is up to our government officials (each and everyone, including Jones) to identify potential infringements and consult with FN.

    Infecting wild stocks (such as Cultus Lake – now on the SARA lists) with ISA would constitute such an infringement and trigger the need for deep consultation with any infringed FN Bands. Certainly, the investigation of a potential release of ISA into a naive population with the potential for severe population-level impacts would be of paramount importance and priority.

    So, as Molly's boss - did Jones get hold of the infringed FN IMMEDIATELY and do follow-up studies including getting fresh samples to retest Cultus Lake stocks after Molly's findings?

    No, he did not. Instead he apparently blocked Molly from publishing, and when asked specifically and legally by Cohen to provide all documents about ISA, somehow he apparently forgot about Molly's research - research he would have been intimately famliar with - research a responsible and accountable public official would not hide.

    How can you legally, honestly and morally defend these actions, Dave? Would you define these actions as: “excellent and responsible"?

    MANY peer-reviewed studies are still written and published even when they include conflicting and/or unconfirmed results. Sometimes these results are then termed "preliminary". Most reports then recommend further studies in their discussion and Recommendations section.

    I see no reason to squish and hide Molly's report over the science.

    Oh wait – maybe this ISA fiasco is not about science or protecting public resources – but rather about keeping BC farmed salmon certified ISA-free so the industry can sell farmed fish to export markets - thereby protecting the open net-cage industry -that would be the real reason Molly's results were hidden.

    I demand openess and transparency from my public officals, especially when they are dealing with our public resources. Screw Harper and the PMO. Screw the CFIA and their attempt to intimidate Kibenge and his lab. We need openess and transparency more now than ever - it's something called democracy - something our grandfathers died for.

    Like others on this forum - I am outraged (but not shocked) over the degree of collusion I see in the government and its' officials - and I'm not putting-up with it anymore.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2013
  15. cuttlefish

    cuttlefish Well-Known Member

    Not doubting Jones is/was a good scientist but agent makes a good point about publishing preliminary findings. It looks like some of Jones' work on Parvicapslua minibicornis claims to be preliminary and in need of further research.

    I'm thinking if the guy wasn't canned after the Cohen hearings, he was muzzled before. Perhaps as early as 2004.
    Just a thought.
  16. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    He certainly has not been canned and the reason his research into kidney parasites was curtailed has been mentioned. I provided technical assistance to him and his program until my retirement just over 5 years ago and to my knowledge during our working careers he was never muzzled. Interestingly, the samples analysed by Ms. Kibenge would have been collected by me. At the time we were sampling for Parvicapsula, IHN, BKD and general abnormalities, all part of the Cultus Lake sockeye recovery program. I have sampled thousands of salmon similarly and don't recall these fish being any different than the rest.

    agentaqua, Cultus Lake sockeye are not listed under SARA ... and FN were consulted, often daily as that was also part of my job description.
  17. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    You are correct Dave - thanks for the correction. Cultus Lake Sockeye were listed under COSEWIC, and scheduled to go on the SARA listing, but the DFO minister deceided not to list under SARA. From DFO's web page at: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/species-especes/species-especes/Cultus_sockeyesalmon-saumonsockeye-eng.htm

    it states: "The Cultus Lake sockeye salmon is designated as endangered by COSEWIC. In January 2005, a final decision was made by the Government of Canada to not list Cultus Lake sockeye salmon under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), due to the significant socio-economic impacts on sockeye fishers and coastal communities."

    Although you did not elaborate - NOT being listed under SARA does not mean that the Cultus Lake sockeye is no longer an Aquatic Species "at Risk". It just means that the minister doesn't want to impact fisheries (and open net-pen aquaculture?) by listing the species under SARA. Given your background, and since you knew the difference between the SARA and COSEWIC listings - I would think you would have elaborated on your sparse reply.

    Also if I understand what you are trying to say: Did your office let affected FN across BC know about Molly's findings of ISA in the Cultus Lake sockeye back in 2004?

    AND what do you think about the potential that ISA was released into a naive population (i.e. Cultus Lake sockeye) which contributed to their decline? Can you state it never happened?
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2013
  18. Dave

    Dave Well-Known Member

    Your’e right, I certainly know the difference between SARA and COSEWIC but one tires of responding to this stuff (at least I do) and the Canucks were on. Sorry.
    I have no doubt a strain or strains of ISAV are present on this coast but all evidence to date shows it/them to be non pathogenic. Possibly this virus was introduced by the planting of millions of Atlantics in BC waters, possibly not but this will be resolved soon enough by Riddell and Miller.
    FN, specifically the Sto Lo Tribal Council, were members of the Cultus Lake Sockeye Recovery Strategy so should have been up to speed on all developments but not necessarily this particular instance because as stated, the work could not be replicated, therefor was considered invalid.
  19. GDW

    GDW Active Member

    You fish farmers must have giant rugs to be able to sweep all this crap under it. FN should have been advised FOR SURE about the initial tests I'm sure if they heard 1st test positive 2nd test inconclusive they would have demanded you collect new samples and run it again. Wouldn't want to do that though any science that points towards fish farms being a problem seems to suddenly stop and is deemed inconclusive then not re checked to determine what really is or is not happening.

    What is your excuse for not telling the FN and not re testing? Sorry guys we were on the verge of an ISA breakthrough but then the Canucks were playing so...
  20. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    This is quite a different reality from your initial "FN were consulted, often daily "response. Thank you for being honest even though I had to be tenacious to extract that information.

    Just so we are clear and correct - The affected FN - in this case - Sto Lo Tribal Council, were NOT informed and consulted about Molly's results because somebody in DFO thought the results were "invalid" and nobody did follow-up studies to confirm Molly's findings? Is that correct? Who is responsible for that decision?

    AND how does DFO determine who is the affected FN? Did they look at who utilizes those fish by watershed? Do they consult wih the FN downstream of that potential impact? Is there a published policy of how to determine who is the affected FN?

    AND you still never responed to my question: "AND what do you think about the potential that ISA was released into a naive population (i.e. Cultus Lake sockeye) which contributed to their decline? Can you state it never happened? "
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2013
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