Deadly ISA Virus discovered in West Coast Salmon

The worst case possibility for Wild Salmon in BC has happened. The detection of the European strain of Marine Anaemia has been found. As reported in the New York Times

details of the official report by Dr. Kibenge are below.
OIE report by Kibenge(1)


Morton Crossexam by Federal Government

Legal Counsel for the Government of Canada, Mitch Taylor cross examines Dr. Alexandra Morton at the Cohen Commission a federal inquiry looking into the collapse of the Fraser River Sockeye.

my dear disease do you exist?

The debate of whether a single cause attributable to the loss of Fraser River Sockeye wages on between scientists and those that have direct experience and first hand knowledge.  The metaphor of a single smoking gun serves to illustrate this elusiveness.  However is the discovery of a smoking gun truly unattainable or does someone wish for you NOT to find it.  Eventhough we could hear the gunshot, we can smell the gunpowder and the victim is lying there, does the lack of urgency, mean that the killer can clean its fingerprints and get as far from the scene as possible?

no smoking gun?
or actually, is there a smoking gun?

or does no one really want to find it?

my dear disease do you exist?
I tell you folks its not easy to tell, if this ease has been missed
if i don’t test, is it on my chest?
one fish two fish red fish… missing

the burden of truth is a cross to bear,
but the black and browns have starved out there
shall i just drag my heels …
so you can shoot a seal… lying?

Shall I be the unfortunate one who finds the smoking gun?
Will I be the outcast, the solo, the one
Have my principles been cautioned in front of me
Do I buy that this science is free?
Or created and purchased for only the blind to see?

Can Open-Net Fish Farms and Wild Salmon Co-Exist?

Steven Kelliher lawyer for the Aboriginal Aquaculture Association cross examines a panel at the Cohen Commission into the collapse of the Fraser River Sockeye. Industrial Aquaculture is seen by corporate interests as an economic saviour to First Nations communities in remote locations.  However in light of the steady decline of Wild Salmon Stocks; can open-net Fish Farming and Wild Salmon co-exist.  On this perspectives panel are the following:

  • Clare Backman (Director of Environmental Compliance and Community Relations, Marine Harvest Canada)
  • Alexandra Morton (Executive Director, Raincoast Research Society)
  • Mia Parker (formerly Manager, Regulatory Affairs, Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.)
  • Catherine Stewart (Salmon Farming Campaign Manager, Living Oceans Society)

Audio from the panel’s dramatic testimony on Sept 7, 2011 at the Cohen Commission


INQUIRY: Artist, Presenter and Performer Line-up

The INQUIRY Arts Exhibition is proud to have the following Artists, Presenters and Multi-Disciplinary Performers as part of our programming line-up


J Peachy
Shelley Rothenburger
Joanne Probyn
Gunargie O’Sullivan
Pierre Leichner
Kimberly Baker
Nicole Dextras
Leanne Hodges
Jennifer Safronick
Laurie Marshall
Carl Chaplin

FORUM Presenters – Saturday September 3rd


Jeremy Williams – Filmmaker and creator of  “Rise of the Salmon People”, which will be screened at the Exhibit


Michelle Nickerson – Cycling activist who just ride 2,900 Km along the route of the Fraser River to raise awareness of Wild Salmon Ripple

3:00pm: Arts Action Forum with
Don Staniford – Award-winning campaigner and writer.  Co-author of “A Stain Upon the Sea: West Coast Salmon Farming” and global coordinator of the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture.

Anissa Reid – Having worked in the Fish Farming industry and after leaving from the frustration of the environmental disregard by the operators, Anissa is the driving creative force behind the Wild Salmon Movement and co-founder of

Ivan Doumenc – Everyday citizen and Vancouver Based Activist for Wild Salmon

Damien Gillis – is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues – especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada’s wild salmon – working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.



Musqueam Elder, Rose Point
Singer Songwriter, Cameron Gunn
Ross Fairbairn, Rob Fillo


J Peachy
Eddie Gardner
Patrick Connors
Ta’Kaiya Blaney
David Campbell
Gary Abbott
Naomi Steinberg
Priscilla Judd/Michelle Nickerson

INQUIRY Art Exhibition, an insight into a people’s movement

Salmon in British Columbia is not only keystone species to our ECO System, but one that links us economically and culturally.  It is part of our West Coast identity.  Now imagine the real possibility of that species not being part of our communities.  Through almost the past 20 years the Wild Salmon stocks on BC’s West Coast have been in steady decline. In 2009 a massive collapse of the Fraser River Sockeye catalyzed a federal inquiry (  The people in affected communities are standing up to the industrial and political forces that have put duress on Wild Salmon Stocks and those that depend on them.  The First Nations in BC depend on this resource as a food supply and a critical element to their culture.  The breakdown of First Nations social systems weakens the ecological awareness in the most remote places and the resistance to aggressive industrial development (ie. Damming of Rivers, Open Net Fish Farms and Oil Pipelines)

In May 2010, 7,000 people, led by Biologist Dr. Alexandra Morton walked to the lawns of the BC’s Government buildings in the largest environmental rally in the province’s history in order to stand up for Wild Salmon and against the damaging practices of industrial fish farming in BC’s open waters.  However, even with that massive peoples movement, little change has been made.  Even against multi-million dollar ad campaigns, lawsuits against activists, the suppression of scientific research, co-opting of NGO’s by industry, the Wild Salmon Warriors see the truth of what is happening in their waters, they are resilient, passionate and continue with creative actions to highlight the issue and sustain the movement.

The INQUIRY Arts Exhibition and Action Forum is an artist response to showcase the tragic absurdity, create dialogue and to inspire action.  Whether you are passionate about Salmon or not, it is important to know what is happening within the systems that are meant to protect the people’s resources.  But more importantly, how everyday people of all cultures are responding through every creative means they can.  This two day art show will feature creative works from artists who submitted works in an open call out.  It will also include a day of workshops and presentations from those within the movement.

Co-curated by Gallery Gachet Collective Members Pierre Leichner and J Peachy.

Participating Artists include: Leanne Hodges, Carl Chaplin, Anissa Reid, Joanne Probyn, 10 yr old Ta’Kaiya Blaney, Gunargie O’Sullivan, Pierre Leichner, J Peachy, Naomi Steinberg, Eddie Gardner, David Campbell and others.

Activist Forum presentations by: Jeremy Williams, Michelle Nickerson, Ivan Doumenc, Don Staniford, Damien Gillis and others.

For more information on the show, please also go to

Re-Post: “And so it Begins” – Alexandra Morton


And so it begins

Hello Wild Salmon People;

The aquaculture hearings begin on Monday, August 22, with hearings on disease. The legal teams have submitted the material they would like question the witnesses with. Thus we have tipped our hands, we know what we are up against. Justice Cohen gets to decide whether documents will be admitted into evidence. He will decide what the witnesses need to answer to.

On the first panel are four experts in salmon disease.

Dr. Stewart Johnson, Head of Aquatic Animal Health, DFO, is responsible for understanding the health of the Fraser sockeye.

Dr. Michael Kent, is a professor at Oregon State University, who used to work for DFO. During that time he wrote several scientific papers on Salmon Leukemia. Salmon Leukemia has two other names – Plasmacytoid Leukemia and Marine Anemia. We have already seen evidence that Dr. Miller, the scientist apparently muzzled by the Privy Council, suspected this disease was responsible for the 18-year decline and crash of the Fraser sockeye. Plasmacytoid Leukemia arrived on the Fraser sockeye migration route in the early 1990s in Chinook salmon farms. It killed so many farm salmon it threatened the survival of the smaller companies that were operating at that time. Kent and others tried to figure out what it was. They put it through screens, measured its bouyancy, tested its ability to infect, and arrived at the conclusion that it must be a virus. It did infect sockeye and to a lesser extent Atlantic salmon. For some reason they never completed this work, leaving this disease difficult to diagnose.

Dr. Christine MacWilliams is a Fish Health vet for DFO’s Salmon Enhancement Program.

Dr. Craig Stephens is Director at the Centre for Coastal Health & Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Co-incidentally he did his PhD Thesis on Plasmacytoid Leukemia! In a paper he coauthored in 1995 he wrote:

“Evidence supporting the hypothesis that marine anemia is a spreading, infectious neoplastic [cell proliferating] disease could have profound regulatory effects on the salmon farming industry” Stephens and Ribble (1995). With Dr. Kent he wrote that the environmental conditions created by intensive aquaculture may have facilitated the emergence of marine anemia (Stephen, Ribble and Kent, 1996).

In a statement in his Thesis at the U of Saskatchewan 1995 he wrote: we should be in “…preparation for the possibility of marine anemia becoming a problem for other farmed and wild species.”

Dr. Stephens did publish on a method of diagnosing Salmon Leukemia by examining the kidney. This has been helpful to the salmon farming industry.

Justice Cohen has provided us an interesting panel of experts. As these hearings proceed it will be a detective effort. The best fit answer is going to have to explain an 18-year decline of only the sockeye that migrate along eastern Vancouver Island, while other neighbouring runs were unaffected, even increasing. It will have to account for the large 2010 return and a seemingly good run this year. DFO has deemed the 2011 run big enough that several fisheries have been opened. And the answer will have to fit the timing, behaviour and condition of the Fraser sockeye over this time period.

I am going to try and write blogs as often as possible to keep you informed. We are encouraging a media outlet to live-stream the hearings to a website. We will also be distributing daily briefings to the public. First Nations of the Fraser River and the coast will be holding a rally on the 30th. All of this information will be kept updated at .

If any of you can offer support it would help enormously. You can donate via pay pal at or send a check to Pacific Coast Wild Salmon Society, Box 399, Sointula, BC V0N 3E0

Stay tuned for a great detective effort into the future one of the last and most generous natural resources on earth – the Fraser sockeye. Show up if you can, because it is going to make a difference for the witnesses to have your support. The hearings will be held at 701 W. Georgia, Vancouver Cohen Commission

The fish have shown us they can survive with us, now it is time for us to do our part.

Alexandra Morton

Video: Rafe & Damien on EVOTV

Rafe Mair and Damien Gillis discuss The Common Sense Canadian and their coverage of key environmental and public policy issues in BC and Canada on Shaw’s EVOTV, with host Irma Arkus. The three cover a wide range of issues in the half hour program – from private river power and the state of BC Hydro to oil pipelines and supertankers on our coast, natural gas fracking, coal mines, salmon farms and the Cohen Commission into disappearing Fraser River sockeye. (Aug 8, 2011)