Cohen Commission Hearing on ISAv testing starts tomorrow - Backgrounder

The Cohen Commssion is holding 3 days of evidentiary hearings about recent testing for the ISA virus in BC starting tomorrow.

As in the past, we will be posting daily information to keep you updated.

For your reference here are December 2 News Releases and News Items of Interest generated from those releases:

Media Alert - Cohen Commission to hold three days of hearings on ISAv testing December 15, 16 and 19
Cohen Commission,  Friday, December 02, 2011

VANCOUVER, Dec. 2, 2011 /CNW/ - The Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River will hold three additional days of evidentiary hearings December 15, 16 and 19 in Vancouver to put new information about recent testing for the ISA virus in BC on the commission's record.

Currently scheduled witnesses are:
Panel 1 (December 15 & 16):

  • Dr. Fred Kibenge, Chairman, Department of Pathology and Microbiology, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island
  • Dr. Are Nylund, Professor, University of Bergen, Norway( Dec. 15 only)
  • Mrs. Nellie Gagné, Molecular Biology Scientist and Laboratory Supervisor, DFO, Moncton
  • Dr. Kristi Miller, Head Molecular Genetics, DFO, Nanaimo (Dec. 15 only)

Panel 2 (December 16 & 19):

  • Dr. Kim C. Klotins, Acting National Manager, Disease Control Contingency Planning, Aquatic Animal Health Division, CFIA, Ottawa
  • Dr. Peter Wright, National Manager, National Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory System, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Moncton
  • Dr. Simon Jones, Research Scientist, DFO, Nanaimo
  • Mr. Stephen Stephen, Director Biotechnology and Aquatic Animal Health Sciences Branch, DFO, Ottawa

These hearings will be held in the Asia Pacific Hall at the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue at 580 West Hastings Street in Vancouver. On December 15, hearings will be held from 9 am to 4 pm. On December 16 and 19 hearings will be held from 10 am to 4 pm. Hearings are open to the public however seating may be limited. Media recording or broadcasting of the hearings may be allowed with advance arrangements. To discuss, contact Carla Shore at 604-658-3646 or

Canada Completes Infectious Salmon Anaemia Testing: No Confirmed Cases in BC Salmon

CFIA, December 2, 2011: The Government of Canada in collaboration with the Province of British Columbia has completed testing all samples related to the suspected infectious salmon anaemia investigation in BC. Based on the final results, there are no confirmed cases of the disease in wild or farmed salmon in BC.

The CFIA has also conducted a preliminary review of an industry-led testing program for farmed species. The review found that there has been a significant amount of testing for viral diseases, including infectious salmon anaemia, in farmed fish over the last 10 years.

In recent years, the Government of Canada and the Province of BC have tested over 5000 wild and farmed salmon in BC for infectious salmon anaemia. None have ever tested positive.

Infectious salmon anaemia poses no risk to people. Pacific salmon appear to be resistant to the disease.

Under the CFIA’s National Aquatic Animal Health Program, suspected federally reportable diseases, such as infectious salmon anaemia, must be confirmed at the Fisheries and Oceans Canada national reference laboratory.

For more information on infectious salmon anaemia, visit or call 1-800-442-2342.

Statement from the Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Keith Ashfield, on Negative Infectious Salmon Anaemia Test Results in British Columbia Salmon
 December 2, 2011

Ottawa, Ontario – Federal officials from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, along with officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and British Columbia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, held a technical briefing today confirming that additional in-depth test results showed no signs of Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) in British Columbia salmon.  Officials provided information on the extensive investigation by the Government of Canadainto claims about the presence of the disease in B.C. waters.

The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, made the following statement following the technical briefing:

“After Canada’s reputation has needlessly been put at risk over the past several weeks because of speculation and unfounded science, additional in-depth, conclusive tests, using proper and internationally recognized procedures, are now complete and we can confirm that there has never been a confirmed case of ISA in BC salmon, wild or farmed.

“The National Reference Laboratory has completed all testing and analysis of all the samples under investigation and none have tested positive for ISA.

“This reinforces the regular testing conducted by federal and provincial officials; in recent years, over 5000 fresh, properly collected and stored samples have been tested and there has never been a confirmed case of ISA in British Columbia salmon.

“Canada’s current practices and procedures to protect our wild and farmed salmon industries from disease are in place and working; that is why we can be proud of all aspects of the Canadian fishing industry, which is recognized worldwide as a leader in the production of high-quality, safe and sustainable seafood.
”Fisheries and Oceans Canada, CFIA and provincial governments will continue to work together to maintain our excellent international reputation.”

Related Information:

News release: Canada Completes Infectious Salmon Anaemia Testing: No Confirmed Cases in BC Salmon

Backgrounder: Protecting Canada’s Aquatic Species from Disease – a focus on Canada’s Pacific Region

No ISA virus found in farmed or wild salmon, CFIA investigation shows
BCSFA, December 2, 2011
Further follow up testing by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency continues to confirm that there is no Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) in British Columbia. Read more at:

Final investigation by CFIA shows no ISA in B.C. salmon
Mainstream Canada, December 2, 2011
Mainstream Canada is pleased to learn that after an extensive investigation, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency found no evidence of the Infectious Salmon Anemia virus in farmed or wild B.C. salmon. Read more at:

News Coverage generated by December 2 Releases - NO ISA Virus

News: No lethal virus in Pacific salmon, CFIA says
mark hume, VANCOUVER— Globe and Mail, December 2, 2011

News: Deadly salmon virus not found in B.C., but scientists plan surveillance programs
By: Tamsyn Burgmann and Keven Drews, The Canadian Press, December 2, 2011

News: B.C. salmon virus unconfirmed says food agency
CBC News, Posted: December 2, 2011

News: Official tests find no evidence of salmon virus
By Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist December 3, 2011

News: Food agency’s handling of salmon-virus scare commendable
MARK HUME | VANCOUVER— Globe and Mail, Sunday, Dec. 04, 2011
News: Sanity comes to ISA debate in B.C.
FishfarmingXpert, December 5, 2011
Canada: After weeks of rhetoric, some of the saner segments of the Canadian media are finally starting to separate facts from fiction.

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