No Salmon Virus in B.C. - November 8, 2011

Read our News Coverage Roundup for Nov. 8: No Salmon Virus in BC

Media Advisory: Canadian Food Inspection Agency: CFIA
Federal government tests find no cases of ISA: BCSFA
No evidence of ISA in B.C., CFIA tests conclude: Mainstream Canada
CFIA fires back on salmon study: CKNW
BC wild salmon test negative for deadly virus: Vancouver Sun
No sign of virus in tested salmon: CFIA: BC Local News
No confirmed cases of virus found in B.C. salmon: Victoria Times Colonist
CFIA Finds No Evidence of ISA Virus in Pacific Waters: CTV VI Newscast  
Tests find no cases of infectious salmon anemia in BC:Canadian Pres
BC salmon test negative for deadly virus, CFIA reports: Global TV
Tests find no cases of infectious salmon anemia in BC : CTV News
B.C. salmon virus tests find no infectious anemia: CBC, Canadian Press
No ISA in B.C. says CFIA: Salmon Farm Science
Canada officials: no salmon virus in BC: Seattle Times
Canada officials: no salmon virus in BC: Seattle PI
Canada officials: no salmon virus in BC: SF Examiner
Further Tests Fail to Detect Salmon Virus: New York Times
Tests fail to show salmon anemia in B.C. salmon: King 5 News
Canada officials say no salmon virus found in BC: Seattle PI

 Media Advisory: Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Nov. 8, 2011, 10:23 a.m. EST

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, Nov 08, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of British Columbia will hold a news teleconference on the suspected infectious salmon anaemia investigation in BC on November 8, 2011, at 2 p.m. EST (11 a.m. PST).

Reporters can dial in at 877-413-4814 passcode: 5810360

A question and answer session for the media will follow the news conference. Technical experts from the CFIA, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of BC will be available for questions.


Federal government tests find no cases of ISA
BCSFA, Tuesday November 8th, 2011

News that no Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) was detected in follow up testing of Pacific salmon samples by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is welcome information for B.C.'s salmon farmers.

Following up on unconfirmed results publicized widely by anti-salmon farm campaigners four weeks ago, the CFIA tested the same sample collection plus additional samples collected and had no positive results for ISA.

"This is a significant result for everyone involved: researchers, regulators, wild salmon advocates, salmon farmers and our coastal communities," said Mary Ellen Walling, Executive Director. "After seeing the original news distributed in such an inflammatory way, we hope this update will allay those concerns."

On Oct. 17, Simon Fraser University hosted a press conference claiming that positive results had been found in two of 48 smolt samples tested for ISAv.  This was contrary to every other previous test for ISA in BC with nearly 5,000 fish analyzed since 2003. They all showed negative for the virus.

In the follow up testing done by CFIA, all of those 48 smolts tested negative as did other samples collected by CFIA from researchers involved. Some samples were too degraded for testing to be completed.

The allegation that ISA had been found in BC was concerning to BC salmon farmers who, while confident that the extensive testing showed ISA is not on their farms, were worried about the possible effect of the virus which is harmful to Atlantic salmon. Pacific salmon are relatively immune to ISAv.

"This is a good example of why proper sampling, testing and reporting procedures are in place and should be followed: the unconfirmed report from Simon Fraser appeared to be designed to create as much hype as possible.  This has cost significant resources in time and money in emergency follow-up while also potentially impacting international markets for our business," said Walling.

"We're pleased to see the thorough way CFIA is following up, but are dismayed at the way campaigners used this to create fear about our operations," said Walling.

The BCSFA understands that the investigation by the CFIA is continuing. The industry is providing any additional information to the CFIA as needed. In the meantime, our farmers continue in their regular, ongoing sampling/monitoring program.

The BCSFA represents salmon farm companies and those who supply services and supplies to the industry. Salmon-farming provides for 6,000 direct and indirect jobs while contributing $800-million to the provincial economy each year.


No evidence of ISA in B.C., CFIA tests conclude
Mainstream Canada, Tue, 2011-11-08

Thousands of tests have shown that there is no ISA virus in B.C. salmon, farmed or wild.

Today the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced the results of a battery of tests on sockeye salmon smolts seized from anti-fish farm activists last month. The tissue quality of the 48 samples originally submitted for testing was sufficient to allow CFIA's retesting to confirm the Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) virus was not present.

All additional tests by CFIA were also negative.

"As the chief veterinarian of B.C. said today, it defies logic and common sense to assume that a few samples taken at random from the coast would indicate the presence of ISA when thousands of controlled tests of good-quality samples indicate no such thing," said Dr. Peter McKenzie, Mainstream Canada's fish health manager and professional veterinarian.

Since 2003, farmed salmon in B.C. have been tested by regulators for the ISA virus. Nearly 5,000 farmed salmon have been tested, and all were negative for the virus. Wild fish are also tested for the virus. In 2011 alone, nearly 1,200 samples of farmed and wild fish have been tested for the virus and have all come back negative. As well, in reaction to recent speculation that ISA might be in B.C. these 1,200 samples were retested by the B.C. Animal Health Centre and again showed no sign of the virus.

However, for weeks, while the CFIA conducted its investigation, the world was whipped into a frenzy through the malicious activities of a small group of anti-salmon farming activists, the same group who submitted the samples for testing. These activists have made it clear their mission is to shut down the B.C. salmon farming industry, at any cost. The activists' approach was emotional, fear-driven and ignored any good science which disagreed with their pre-conceived conclusions.
Next steps

The CFIA is currently doing an evaluation of the current provincial ISA surveillance program. Mainstream Canada has already given CFIA approval to release all our lab information related to ISA.

"It is important to our company and for B.C. wild salmon that we co-operate fully with CFIA and we support their ongoing investigation," said Fernando Villarroel, managing director of Mainstream Canada. "Fearmongering by anti-salmon farming activists does nothing to improve our understanding of farmed and wild salmon in B.C. We encourage CFIA to swiftly conclude their investigation."

Last year, as part of our ongoing commitment to continual improvement and sustainable aquaculture, Mainstream contributed funds for the Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences to upgrade existing laboratory facilities. The equipment has already been purchased and the lab has been upgraded to increase its diagnostic capacity for RT-PCR testing (the type of test used to look for the ISA virus) in B.C.

Once it opens in 2012, the lab will be available for anyone in the province to use.

For more information contact Grant Warkentin, Communications Officer, 250-286-0022 ext. 247 grant.warkentin@mainstreamcanada.com


CFIA fires back on salmon study
VANCOUVER/CKNW AM 980, Charmaine de Silva 11/8/2011

A month after an S-F-U researcher announced the discovery of a lethal and contagious salmon virus in two sockeye smolts, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and department of fisheries and oceans is firing back.

The discovery of infectious salmon anaemia was used as part of a call to remove Atlantic salmon from BC salmon farms.

But now the CFIA's Con Kiley says the dfo's tests haven't found the same results.

Kiley says there have been no confirmed cases of infection salmon anaemia in wild or farmed salmon in British Columbia.

Kiley says that's backed up by an independent lab in Norway.

As for the research by an SFU prof that found the virus, the province's Doctor Paul Kitching says its not good science.


BC wild salmon test negative for deadly virus, CFIA reports
Vancouver Sun, November 8, 2011.

New testing by Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans has found no sign of the ISA virus in BC wild salmon.

SFU researcher Rick Routledge and salmon farming opponent Alexandra Morton reported last month that samples taken from BC sockeye salmon in Rivers Inlet had tested positive for the ISA virus, which is known to be lethal to Atlantic salmon of the kind widely farmed in BC.

The CFIA reported today that additional testing has not confirmed the results released by Morton and Routledge.

The virus is not known to be harmful to Pacific wild salmon, but it could have devastated the salmon farming industry.

The BC Salmon Farmers Accociation response to the news follows:

News that no Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) was detected in follow up testing of Pacific salmon samples by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is welcome information for B.C.’s salmon farmers.

Following up on unconfirmed results publicized widely by anti-salmon farm campaigners four weeks ago, the CFIA tested the same sample collection plus additional samples collected and had no positive results for ISA.

“This is a significant result for everyone involved: researchers, regulators, wild salmon advocates, salmon farmers and our coastal communities,” said Mary Ellen Walling, Executive Director. “After seeing the original news distributed in such an inflammatory way, we hope this update will allay those concerns.”

On Oct. 17, Simon Fraser University hosted a press conference claiming that positive results had been found in two of 48 smolt samples tested for ISAv.  This was contrary to every other previous test for ISA in BC with nearly 5,000 fish analyzed since 2003. They all showed negative for the virus.

In the follow up testing done by CFIA, all of those 48 smolts tested negative as did other samples collected by CFIA from researchers involved. Some samples were too degraded for testing to be completed.

The allegation that ISA had been found in BC was concerning to BC salmon farmers who, while confident that the extensive testing showed ISA is not on their farms, were worried about the possible effect of the virus which is harmful to Atlantic salmon. Pacific salmon are relatively immune to ISAv.

“This is a good example of why proper sampling, testing and reporting procedures are in place and should be followed: the unconfirmed report from Simon Fraser appeared to be designed to create as much hype as possible.  This has cost significant resources in time and money in emergency follow-up while also potentially impacting international markets for our business,” said Walling.

“We’re pleased to see the thorough way CFIA is following up, but are dismayed at the way campaigners used this to create fear about our operations,” said Walling.

The BCSFA understands that the investigation by the CFIA is continuing. The industry is providing any additional information to the CFIA as needed. In the meantime, our farmers continue in their regular, ongoing sampling/monitoring program.

The BCSFA represents salmon farm companies and those who supply services and supplies to the industry. Salmon-farming provides for 6,000 direct and indirect jobs while contributing $800-million to the provincial economy each year.


No sign of virus in tested salmon: CFIA
By Jeff Nagel - BC Local News, November 08, 2011

Federal testing has refuted claims that several wild salmon sampled in B.C. were infected with a deadly virus that has ravaged farmed fish stocks elsewhere in the world.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency​ (CFIA) said its tests at the national reference lab did not find any Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) virus in the samples.

"All the sampling done to this point in time is negative," said Con Kiley, a veterinarian and acting director of the CFIA's aquatic animal health program.

"There have been no confirmed cases of ISA in wild or farmed salmon in B.C."

The CFIA retested all 48 salmon originally sampled by SFU researchers as well as hundreds more sampled at the same time that weren't initially tested.

It also tested other samples independent biologist Alexandra Morton​ collected and claimed were infected.

Kiley said the results were consistent with the findings of a lab in Norway that also tested the samples.

He said some of the results must be considered inconclusive because of the poor quality of the samples, which had been kept in freezers for an extended period.

More tests are continuing, he said, adding the CFIA and Department of Fisheries and Oceans felt it important to release the findings so far.

Asked when the CFIA might be able to say with confidence whether or not B.C. is ISA-free, he said it may not be possible.

"'All clear' is not something we could probably ever say," Kiley said. "It's very hard to prove a negative. All we can do is state that we have not found a virus in all the sampling that's been done already."

Kiley said the CFIA is still assessing whether it needs to expand sampling of Pacific salmon as a result of the investigation.

Morton, who suspects fish farms imported the virus with Atlantic salmon eggs and  transmitted it to wild stocks, said she's not convinced by the CFIA results.

"I still remain very concerned," she said. "If they're giving British Columbia a clean bill of health because the samples they looked at were too degraded, what kind of confidence can I have in that?"

Morton wants a much-expanded independent program set up to sample and test for ISA in B.C. salmon.

Reports of the first-ever West Coast ISA infections had rocked the B.C. salmon farm industry. It also raised concern for wild stocks – not just in B.C. but from U.S. officials in Alaska and Washington State.

The B.C. Salmon Farmers Association executive director Mary Ellen Walling welcomed the results.

"We're pleased to see the thorough way CFIA is following up, but are dismayed at the way campaigners used this to create fear about our operations," she said.

The "inflammatory" unconfirmed report announced by SFU Oct. 17 seemed intended to "create as much hype as possible," Walling said, adding it had potential to disrupt markets for B.C. salmon farms.

NDP federal fisheries critic Fin Donnelly called for more sampling and accused the federal government of being too slow to react to the reports of infections.

"This scare should serve as a wake-up call," he said, adding it's the wrong time for a planned $57-million cut to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans budget.

He wants the federal government to force fish farms to phase out open-net pens and move to closed containment systems, adding that would eliminate the potential of farms to transit disease to wild stocks.

ISA has mainly been a disease of farmed Atlantic salmon. The European strain can kill up to 90 per cent of infected Atlantic salmon but it's thought to be less dangerous to sockeye.


No confirmed cases of virus found in B.C. salmon
By Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist, November 8, 2011

No confirmed cases of infectious salmon anemia have been found in B.C. wild or farmed salmon tested by the federal government, spokesmen for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Fisheries and Oceans said Tuesday.

Results of follow-up tests, carried out at DFO’s reference laboratory in Moncton, run contrary to findings from tests on the same fish samples conducted at the University of Prince Edward Island, but confirm results from an independent laboratory in Norway, said Con Kiley, director of the CFIA’s national aquatic animal health program.

However, some questions remain, Kiley said.

“The supplementary results must be considered inconclusive because of the poor quality of the samples,” he said, adding, “Additional testing will continue and the results will be provided when we are ready.”

The timing of further testing will be decided by scientists, Kiley said.

Peter Wright, national manager of DFO’s research and diagnostic laboratory system, said the samples were received in such poor condition that no definite conclusions could be drawn.

“Most are halfway or totally, totally degraded,” he said.

The virus has various lethal and non-lethal strains. It is believed the European strain, which has devastated salmon farms in Norway, Chile and eastern Canada, kills Atlantic salmon, which are grown in B.C. fish farms, but has less effect on Pacific salmon.

Most of the samples were collected by biologist Alexandra Morton, who fears the virus could have been introduced to the north Pacific through salmon eggs imported by fish farms.

Morton said she wonders why, if the original samples were degraded, tests are not being done on fresh samples she has submitted and why DFO is not immediately collecting more samples.

“If the samples are degraded, what confidence can we have in the tests?” Morton asked.

“Given the very severe nature of this virus, wouldn’t it be wise to be testing out here? I don’t understand how they can be saying the coast is clear given the poor quality of the samples.”

Mary Ellen Walling, executive director of the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association, said the results are welcome news.

“This is a significant result for everyone involved — researchers, regulators, wild salmon advocates, salmon farmers and our coastal communities,” she said.

Initial allegations, made at a news conference at Simon Fraser University, that the virus had been found in wild salmon were inflammatory and potentially affected international markets, she said.

“We’re pleased to see the thorough way CFIA is following up, but are dismayed at the way campaigners used this to create fear about our operations,” she said.


Canadian Food Inspection Agency Finds No Evidence of ISA Virus in Pacific Waters
Newscast (Youtube) : CTV Vancouver Island Report , November 08, 2011
Salmon farmers are claiming victory after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed there is no evidence that the highly contagious 'ISA' virus is spreading in Pacific Waters.

Just a few weeks ago researchers from Simon Fraser University said the opposite.

They joined prominent activist Alexandra Morton to reveal the results of their own testing which showed that ISA was not only present, it was spreading and they placed the blame squarely on the province's aquaculture industry.


Tests find no cases of infectious salmon anemia in B.C.:food inspection agency
Winnepeg Free Press By: The Canadian Press, 11/8/2011

OTTAWA - Tests on 48 wild salmon samples have found no cases of infectious salmon anemia in B.C., a Canadian Food Inspection Agency official says.

Con Kiley, director of the agency's national aquatic animal health program, said Tuesday the tests the Fisheries Department did were verified by an independent lab in Norway.

The samples were tested after a laboratory at the University of Prince Edward Island suspected the highly infectious salmon anemia in juvenile sockeye from Rivers Inlet on B.C.'s Central Coast.

Paul Kitching, the chief veterinary officer for B.C., said anyone who says the virus is present in the province based on the PEI results involving such a small sample size is misrepresenting the science.

"I can also say that as editor-in-chief of an international veterinary journal, this would be considered poor science and not likely publishable."

The ongoing Cohen Commission, which is studying what caused the collapse of the Fraser River sockeye run in 2009, will hold two days of hearings next month to put details of the virus on record.

Fred Kibenge, the PEI scientist who made the findings, has not commented on them and has repeatedly deferred calls to the food inspection agency.

Rick Routledge, a Burnaby, B.C.-based Simon Fraser University researcher, said he sent the PEI lab the 48 samples from Rivers Inlet.

However, he said the testing done in Norway leaves some questions.

"He got one positive test result he couldn't repeat," likely because the samples were of poor quality, Routledge said.

"I feel that what is needed more than anything else is that more fresh samples be collected under rigorous protocols," he said, adding he didn't freeze his samples in ideal conditions because the temperature wasn't cold enough.

Opponents of B.C.'s aquaculture industry have said the presence of infectious salmon anemia could be the "smoking gun" to link wild salmon decline with fish farms.

A European strain of the virus devastated fish farms in Chile, but it's not clear whether the virus affects wild salmon.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly reported tests were also done on farmed salmon and that they involved coho from a B.C. lake.


BC salmon test negative for deadly virus, CFIA reports
Global TV News, Randy Shore, Vancouver Sun, November 08, 2011

New testing by Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans has found no sign of the ISA virus in B.C. wild salmon.

SFU researcher Rick Routledge and salmon farming opponent Alexandra Morton reported last month that samples taken from B.C. sockeye salmon in Rivers Inlet had tested positive for the ISA virus, which is known to be lethal to Atlantic salmon of the kind widely farmed in B.C.

The CFIA reported today that additional testing has not confirmed the results released by Morton and Routledge.

The virus is not known to be harmful to Pacific wild salmon, but it could have devastated the salmon farming industry.

The BC Salmon Farmers Association response to the news follows:

News that no Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) was detected in follow up testing of Pacific salmon samples by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is welcome information for B.C.'s salmon farmers.

Following up on unconfirmed results publicized widely by anti-salmon farm campaigners four weeks ago, the CFIA tested the same sample collection plus additional samples collected and had no positive results for ISA.

"This is a significant result for everyone involved: researchers, regulators, wild salmon advocates, salmon farmers and our coastal communities," said Mary Ellen Walling, Executive Director. "After seeing the original news distributed in such an inflammatory way, we hope this update will allay those concerns."

On Oct. 17, Simon Fraser University hosted a press conference claiming that positive results had been found in two of 48 smolt samples tested for ISAv. This was contrary to every other previous test for ISA in B.C. with nearly 5,000 fish analyzed since 2003. They all showed negative for the virus.

In the follow up testing done by CFIA, all of those 48 smolts tested negative as did other samples collected by CFIA from researchers involved. Some samples were too degraded for testing to be completed.

The allegation that ISA had been found in B.C. was concerning to B.C. salmon farmers who, while confident that the extensive testing showed ISA is not on their farms, were worried about the possible effect of the virus which is harmful to Atlantic salmon. Pacific salmon are relatively immune to ISAv.

"This is a good example of why proper sampling, testing and reporting procedures are in place and should be followed: the unconfirmed report from Simon Fraser appeared to be designed to create as much hype as possible. This has cost significant resources in time and money in emergency follow-up while also potentially impacting international markets for our business," said Walling.

"We're pleased to see the thorough way CFIA is following up, but are dismayed at the way campaigners used this to create fear about our operations," said Walling.

The BCSFA understands that the investigation by the CFIA is continuing. The industry is providing any additional information to the CFIA as needed. In the meantime, our farmers continue in their regular, ongoing sampling/monitoring program.

The BCSFA represents salmon farm companies and those who supply services and supplies to the industry. Salmon-farming provides for 6,000 direct and indirect jobs while contributing $800-million to the provincial economy each year.


Tests find no cases of infectious salmon anemia in B.C.
CTV News, The Associated Press, Nov. 8, 2011

OTTAWA — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says tests on 48 wild salmon samples have found no cases of infectious salmon anemia in B.C.

Con Kiley, director of the agency's national aquatic animal health program, says the tests were verified by an independent lab in Norway.

The samples were tested after a laboratory at the University of Prince Edward Island suspected the highly infectious salmon anemia in juvenile sockeye from Rivers Inlet on B.C.'s central coast.

Paul Kitching, the chief veterinary officer for B.C., says anyone who says the virus is present in the province based on the PEI results is misrepresenting the science.

He says that as editor-in-chief of an international veterinary journal, he considers the science to be poor and not likely publishable.

The Cohen Commission, which is studying what caused the collapse of the Fraser River sockeye run in 2009, will hold two days of hearing next month to put details on the virus on record.


B.C. salmon virus tests find no infectious anemia
CBC, The Canadian Press, Nov 8, 2011

Tests on 48 wild salmon samples have found no cases of infectious salmon anemia in B.C., a Canadian Food Inspection Agency official says.

The tests the Fisheries Department did were verified by an independent lab in Norway, said Con Kiley, director of the agency's national aquatic animal health program.

The samples were tested after a laboratory at the University of Prince Edward Island suspected the highly infectious salmon anemia in juvenile sockeye from Rivers Inlet on B.C.'s central coast.

Paul Kitching, the chief veterinary officer for B.C., said anyone who says the virus is present in the province based on the PEI results involving such a small sample size is misrepresenting the science.

"I can also say that as editor-in-chief of an international veterinary journal, this would be considered poor science and not likely publishable."

The ongoing Cohen Commission, which is studying what caused the collapse of the Fraser River sockeye run in 2009, will hold two days of hearings next month to put details of the virus on record.

Fred Kibenge, the P.E.I. scientist who made the findings, has not commented on them and has repeatedly deferred calls to the food inspection agency.

Rick Routledge, a Burnaby, B.C.-based Simon Fraser University researcher, said he sent the P.E.I. lab the 48 samples from Rivers Inlet.
Testing questioned

However, he said the testing done in Norway leaves some questions.

"He got one positive test result he couldn't repeat," likely because the samples were of poor quality, Routledge said.

"I feel that what is needed more than anything else is that more fresh samples be collected under rigorous protocols," he said, adding he didn't freeze his samples in ideal conditions because the temperature wasn't cold enough.

Opponents of B.C.'s aquaculture industry have said the presence of infectious salmon anemia could be the "smoking gun" to link wild salmon decline with fish farms.

A European strain of the virus devastated fish farms in Chile, but it's not clear whether the virus affects wild salmon.


No ISA in B.C. says CFIA
Salmon Farm Science, Nov. 08, 2011
Today the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced there was no Infectious Salmon Anemia virus detected in samples of wild salmon from B.C.

  • Tests on 48 wild salmon samples have found no cases of infectious salmon anemia in B.C., a Canadian Food Inspection Agency official says.
  • Con Kiley, director of the agency’s national aquatic animal health program, said Tuesday the tests the Fisheries Department did were verified by an independent lab in Norway.
  • The samples were tested after a laboratory at the University of Prince Edward Island discovered what it suspected was the highly infectious salmon anemia in juvenile sockeye from Rivers Inlet on B.C.’s Central Coast.
  • Paul Kitching, the chief veterinary officer for B.C., said anyone who says the virus is present in the province based on the PEI results, which  involve a small sample size, is misrepresenting the science.
  • "I can also say that as editor-in-chief of an international veterinary journal, this would be considered poor science and not likely publishable.”

Strong words from Kitching, and words which should be at top of mind in any further discussion of these results.

Activists need to shut up now and let real scientists work.


Canada officials: no salmon virus in B.C.
The Associated Press, Seattle Times, November 8, 2011

Canadian government officials say they have not been able to confirm any cases of a deadly infectious salmon virus in British Columbia.

Researchers with Simon Fraser University in British Columbia announced last month they had found the influenza-like virus in two juvenile Pacific salmon collected from the province's central coast. It was the first time the virus had been reported on the West Coast of North America.

But officials with several Canadian agencies said Tuesday tests performed of 48 samples collected from the province have all tested negative. They say additional tests on hundreds of samples at the national laboratory also turned up negative.

Infectious salmon anemia has caused losses at Atlantic salmon fish farms in Chile, Maine, New Brunswick and other areas. It does not affect humans


Canada officials: no salmon virus in B.C.
Seattle PI, November 8, 2011

SEATTLE (AP) — Canadian government officials say they have not been able to confirm any cases of a deadly infectious salmon virus in British Columbia.

Researchers with Simon Fraser University in British Columbia announced last month they had found the influenza-like virus in two juvenile Pacific salmon collected from the province's central coast. It was the first time the virus had been reported on the West Coast of North America.

But officials with several Canadian agencies said Tuesday tests performed of 48 samples collected from the province have all tested negative. They say additional tests on hundreds of samples at the national laboratory also turned up negative.

Infectious salmon anemia has caused losses at Atlantic salmon fish farms in Chile, Maine, New Brunswick and other areas. It does not affect humans.


Canada officials: no salmon virus in B.C.
San Francisco Examiner, By: The Associated Press, 11/08/11

Canadian government officials say they have not been able to confirm any cases of a deadly infectious salmon virus in British Columbia.
Researchers with Simon Fraser University in British Columbia announced last month they had found the influenza-like virus in two juvenile Pacific salmon collected from the province's central coast. It was the first time the virus had been reported on the West Coast of North America.
But officials with several Canadian agencies said Tuesday tests performed of 48 samples collected from the province have all tested negative. They say additional tests on hundreds of samples at the national laboratory also turned up negative.
Infectious salmon anemia has caused losses at Atlantic salmon fish farms in Chile, Maine, New Brunswick and other areas. It does not affect humans.


Further Tests Fail to Detect Salmon Virus
New York Times, By WILLIAM YARDLEY, November 8, 2011

SEATTLE — Canadian fisheries and food safety officials said Tuesday that new government tests showed no evidence of a deadly salmon virus in fish that advocates for wild salmon reported last month contained traces of the virus.

The officials, from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the national Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and British Columbia, said they had retested fish that advocates had collected from rivers on the Pacific coast and found no evidence of infectious salmon anemia, which has devastated farmed fish in Chile and elsewhere. Yet they also said some of their tests were inconclusive, and advocates immediately questioned the government announcement.

Advocates for wild salmon have long feared that infectious salmon anemia could take hold in fish farms in British Columbia and Washington State, which raise imported Atlantic salmon, and then spread to wild populations that migrate through nearby waters. Fishermen from Canada and the United States depend on wild fish in the region.

Last month, a professor at Simon Fraser University and a prominent fish biologist announced that wild salmon they had collected had tested positive at a prominent laboratory on Prince Edward Island. The announcement prompted a swift response. Many fish advocates, biologists and fishermen, worried that a linchpin species of the West Coast could be in jeopardy, called for more testing.

But some scientists in Canada and the United States questioned the test methodology. “For anyone to say that infectious salmon anemia is present in British Columbia on the basis of the Prince Edward Island results is misrepresenting the science,” said Dr. Paul Kitching, head of animal health for British Columbia.

Canadian officials said that in some cases the samples were too degraded to reach firm results.

Alexandra Morton, a salmon advocate and fish biologist who collected many of the fish tested, said, “We’re just full of questions right now, and I just don’t understand the government coming out and saying there’s no problem.”

A version of this article appeared in print on November 9, 2011, on page A18 of the New York edition with the headline: Further Tests Fail to Detect Salmon Virus.


Tests fail to show salmon anemia in B.C. salmon
King 5 News, by Associated Press, November 8, 2011

SEATTLE -- Canadian government officials said Tuesday they have found no signs of a potentially deadly, infectious salmon virus in British Columbia.

Researchers with Simon Fraser University in British Columbia announced last month they had detected infectious salmon anemia, or ISA, in two wild juvenile Pacific salmon collected from the province's central coast, prompting fears the influenza-like virus could wreck the salmon fishing industry in the Pacific Northwest.

"There's no evidence that (the virus) occurs in fish off the waters of British Columbia," Dr. Cornelius Kiley, a veterinarian with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Tuesday, announcing results from the government investigation.

Government tests of the original 48 samples collected from B.C. researchers at a national laboratory have turned up negative for the virus, Canadian officials said. Additional tests performed on other samples have also turned up negative, because the quality of some of those samples was too degraded to be conclusive.

The results are consistent with independent testing conducted by a lab in Norway, officials said. While that lab found one weak positive reading among multiple tests, it also noted the sample was poor and results could not be reproduced, said Peter Wright, national manager for the Research and Diagnostic Laboratory System with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Officials are continuing to test samples for the salmon virus, which has affected Atlantic salmon fish farms in Chile, Maine, New Brunswick and other areas. It does not affect humans.

Rick Routledge, a researcher with Simon Fraser University who announced the detection of the salmon virus in October, said Tuesday that one positive reading by an independent laboratory in Norway shouldn't be dismissed entirely.

"Given that he did get a positive reading once, from a degraded sample, I don't feel comfortable with the notion that you could dismiss that out of hand," he said. "I hope that further sampling and testing would continue."

The news that Canadian officials had not detected the virus, however, was welcomed by B.C.'s salmon farmers.

"This is a significant result for everyone involved: researchers, regulators, wild salmon advocates, salmon farmers and our coastal communities," Mary Ellen Walling, executive director of the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association, said in a statement. She added: "We hope this update will allay those concerns."

The virus was initially detected in two of 48 juvenile sockeye salmon collected as part of a long-term study of sockeye salmon led by Routledge. Fred Kibenge of the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island confirmed the presence of the virus in two fish.

The report that the virus had been detected in wild Pacific salmon for the first time on the West Coast, prompted concern by state and federal officials in the U.S.

U.S. senators have called for increasing surveillance, testing and research. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington, and Republican Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Mark Begich -- both from Alaska -- have also called for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to run its own tests on the salmon.

Meanwhile, Washington state officials have been working in recent weeks with U.S. agencies, tribes and Alaska state officials on a plan to sample additional fish for the virus.

Tuesday's news isn't likely to change plans to increase screening in Washington state, said John Kerwin, who supervises the fish health unit at state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"I believe we need a surveillance program, given the uncertainties," he said Tuesday, adding: "I'd rather err on the caution when we're talking about our natural resources."

"Regardless of this being a positive or negative (result), it's not appropriate to ignore," Dr. Jill Rolland, director of aquatic, swine, equine and poultry health program with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said in an interview last week.

The virus was first reported in North America in Canada in 1996, and first detected in the U.S. in Maine's Cobscook Bay in 2001.

"This is not the final end of the issue," said James Winton, who directs the fish health section of the U.S. Geological Survey's Western Fisheries Research Center in Seattle. He said he had not yet reviewed the details of the Canadians tests.

Plans in place for increased surveillance will continue, though perhaps without the immediate urgency had Canadian officials confirmed the virus, he said. The disease may not currently be here, but it's still a threat if it is to be introduced in the future, Winton said.

"The fact that they can't replicate the findings of the WHO lab does not necessarily negate the possibility that the virus is still escaping detection," Winton said. "We don't know right now."


Canada officials say no salmon virus found in BC
Seattle PI, PHUONG LE, Associated Press, November 8, 2011

SEATTLE (AP) — Canadian government officials said Tuesday they have found no signs of a potentially deadly, infectious salmon virus in British Columbia.

Researchers with Simon Fraser University in British Columbia announced last month they had detected infectious salmon anemia, or ISA, in two wild juvenile Pacific salmon collected from the province's central coast, prompting fears the influenza-like virus could wreck the salmon fishing industry in the Pacific Northwest.

"There's no evidence that (the virus) occurs in fish off the waters of British Columbia," Dr. Cornelius Kiley, a veterinarian with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Tuesday, announcing results from the government investigation.

Government tests of the original 48 samples collected from B.C. researchers at a national laboratory have turned up negative for the virus, Canadian officials said. Additional tests performed on other samples have also turned up negative, because the quality of some of those samples was too degraded to be conclusive.

The results are consistent with independent testing conducted by a lab in Norway, officials said. While that lab found one weak positive reading among multiple tests, it also noted the sample was poor and results could not be reproduced, said Peter Wright, national manager for the Research and Diagnostic Laboratory System with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Officials are continuing to test samples for the salmon virus, which has affected Atlantic salmon fish farms in Chile, Maine, New Brunswick and other areas. It does not affect humans.

Rick Routledge, a researcher with Simon Fraser University who announced the detection of the salmon virus in October, said Tuesday that one positive reading by an independent laboratory in Norway shouldn't be dismissed entirely.

"Given that he did get a positive reading once, from a degraded sample, I don't feel comfortable with the notion that you could dismiss that out of hand," he said. "I hope that further sampling and testing would continue."

The news that Canadian officials had not detected the virus, however, was welcomed by B.C.'s salmon farmers.

"This is a significant result for everyone involved: researchers, regulators, wild salmon advocates, salmon farmers and our coastal communities," Mary Ellen Walling, executive director of the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association, said in a statement. She added: "We hope this update will allay those concerns."

The virus was initially detected in two of 48 juvenile sockeye salmon collected as part of a long-term study of sockeye salmon led by Routledge. Fred Kibenge of the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island confirmed the presence of the virus in two fish.

The report that the virus had been detected in wild Pacific salmon for the first time on the West Coast, prompted concern by state and federal officials in the U.S.

U.S. senators have called for increasing surveillance, testing and research. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington, and Republican Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Mark Begich — both from Alaska — have also called for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to run its own tests on the salmon.

Meanwhile, Washington state officials have been working in recent weeks with U.S. agencies, tribes and Alaska state officials on a plan to sample additional fish for the virus.

Tuesday's news isn't likely to change plans to increase screening in Washington state, said John Kerwin, who supervises the fish health unit at state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"I believe we need a surveillance program, given the uncertainties," he said Tuesday, adding: "I'd rather err on the caution when we're talking about our natural resources."

"Regardless of this being a positive or negative (result), it's not appropriate to ignore," Dr. Jill Rolland, director of aquatic, swine, equine and poultry health program with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said in an interview last week.

The virus was first reported in North America in Canada in 1996, and first detected in the U.S. in Maine's Cobscook Bay in 2001.

"This is not the final end of the issue," said James Winton, who directs the fish health section of the U.S. Geological Survey's Western Fisheries Research Center in Seattle. He said he had not yet reviewed the details of the Canadians tests.

Plans in place for increased surveillance will continue, though perhaps without the immediate urgency had Canadian officials confirmed the virus, he said. The disease may not currently be here, but it's still a threat if it is to be introduced in the future, Winton said.

"The fact that they can't replicate the findings of the WHO lab does not necessarily negate the possibility that the virus is still escaping detection," Winton said. "We don't know right now