Fraser River sockeye salmon

Cohen Commission
4:04 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Canada's final report on the collapse of sockeye salmon released

Cohen Hearing on December 15th, 2011 in Vancouver, BC.
Craig McCulloch

The two year long Canadian inquiry into disappearing sockeye salmon has finally been released.  In the end, the report didn't pinpoint one cause for the collapse, but fish farms and Canada’s fisheries department was singled out for criticism.

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Salmon virus
1:19 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Canadian gov. defends actions in dustup over salmon virus

Scientists testify at the Cohen Commission in Vancouver, B. C., in December. One scientist testified that she feared the government would remove salmon samples from her lab if she reported her findings suggesting a virus was present.
Craig McCulloch KPLU

Widespread concerns that Canadian officials are silencing scientists have not been assuaged by a detailed government response to the accusations. The battle over “muzzling” Canadian scientists has been broiling for months after it was revealed that a virus deadly to salmon might have been discovered in salmon returning to the Fraser River.

The January response crafted by the Canadian government and submitted to the Cohen Commission after three days of hearings in December absolved officials for not reporting “suspected detection” of Infectious Salmon Anemia, or ISA, in waters off the Pacific Northwest.

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Salmon virus fears
2:28 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Scientist claims early evidence of salmon virus, feared lab would be closed

Canadian scientist Kristi Miller testifying that she found evidence of the ISA virus in salmon at the Cohen Commission hearings in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday.
Craig McCulloch KPLU

VANCOUVER, B.C. – A Canadian scientist testifying in front of a commission on the collapse of the Fraser River salmon fishery says that tests done as far back as 2002 did find indicators of the Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) virus in pacific salmon and that her lab had discovered evidence of the virus from fish gathered in 1986.

Dr Kristi Miller, Head of Molecular Genetics in Nanaimo for the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Ocean, testified in Vancouver, B.C., that Canada's food inspection agency was not happy with her doing the tests.  

She said there was a general feeling she should not be looking at viruses or diseases. She was fearful that all samples would be taken from her lab and was also very concerned that samples from her genomics program, also based in the lab, would be removed.

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Salmon virus controversy
10:23 am
Wed November 30, 2011

For 2nd time, salmon virus information withheld in Canada

Adult Sockeye salmon in the lower section of Adams River, British Columbia. The U.S. Senate has approved an amendment that calls for a rapid federal response to the ISA virus found in B.C. Sockeye.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Flickr

Sen. Maria Cantwell is calling for stronger communication between American and Canadian officials following the disclosure that Canada failed to reveal the results of tests that appear to show the presence of a potentially deadly salmon virus nearly a decade before a salmon-virus scare this fall.

This is the second time that Canadian officials have been accused of muffling a scientist’s findings concerning viruses and salmon.

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Fraser River salmon
1:00 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

Sockeye salmon in Canada to be tested for radiation from Japan

Sockeye preparing to spawn.
Chris Pike Flickr

Sockeye salmon returning to Canada this year will be tested by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for radiation contamination that might be picked up in the North Pacific from Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster.

However, Washington state officials have no plans to test salmon specifically for radiation related to the Japanese disaster because earlier environmental testing showed so few signs of radiation that current levels in fish, if any, would be "undetectable," a spokesperson for the Department of Health said.

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Fraser River salmon
12:26 pm
Wed July 27, 2011

Controversy growing in Canada over ‘muzzling’ of salmon expert

Here is a stretch of the Fraser River in Vancouver, British Columbia. Scientists working with sockeye salmon struggling to cope with warming temperatures in the Fraser River have identified broad genetic traits that can predict which fish will live or die
Associated Press

Government officials in Ottawa are getting heat for apparently muzzling a scientist whose study discovered that a viral infection – which has been referred to as "salmon leukemia" – may be the cause of salmon stocks crashing off Canada’s west coast.

The Vancouver Sun reported that the Privy Council Office, which supports the Prime Minister’s Office, stopped the study’s lead scientist “from talking about one of the most significant discoveries to come out of a federal fisheries lab in years.”

The Canadian government told the Postmedia News, which wrote the story, that scientist Kristi Miller has not been permitted to talk about her work because she is expected to testify later this summer before a commission looking into the decline of the Frazer River sockeye salmon.

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