Edited and Compiled by Raoul Bedi, BASc
A film by Twyla Roscovich
This article compilation is dedicated to ‘Salmon Are Sacred ‘www.salmonaresacred.org , all its friends and supporters, and to Dr.Fred and Molly Kibenge . Sections A and B provide some background information and analysis about the breathtaking Salmon Confidential documentary , and its leading protagonists. Sections C and D deal with some of the current activism , latest research around harmful effects, and an update from marine biologist Dr. Alexandra Morton about the CFIA’s recent move to block independent farmed and wild salmon virus lab testing in Canada .
A: Salmon Confidential: Preserving BC’s Wild Maritime Heritage
Written by Raoul Bedi , BASc , www.biofield.ca
The film, “Salmon Confidential” (free viewing at www.salmonconfidential.ca ), tells the inside story of one of the biggest environment-related cover-ups in BC’s history. It follows Dr. Alexandra Morton as she studies BC’s declining wild salmon stocks using top independent fish labs. The 70 minute film documents her journey as she faces numerous roadblocks from various Canadian government agencies. Learn about the changing BC coastal ecology, grassroots science-based activism, and the inner workings of government tasked with overseeing the safety of our maritime food supply.
For those, in the raw milk accessibility, anti-GMO activism or any other food rights movement, who believe that their causes are purely matters of safety and science, and believe that problems with the Canadian provincial and federal governments can be solved with “good science” alone , this documentary provides a very sobering assessment about the true nature of the challenges citizens face when attempting to work for food and farmer rights, food security and food sovereignty .
Dr. Alexandra Morton (www.salmonaresacred.org ) is a multi-talented BC marine biologist, author, speaker, artist and photographer who has received dozens of awards for her numerous humanitarian contributions in the fields of nature, animal welfare, aquaculture, wildlife, the environment and literature. She has published 7 books, including “Beyond the Whales (2004) “, “Heart of the Raincoast (1998)”, and “Stain Upon Sea (2005)”, and co-authored dozens of articles and studies which have been published in dozens of distinguished scientific journals and commissions.
Alexandra Morton lives in a remote northern BC archipelago since 1984 and began her lifework there initially by studying and filming whales. However she was soon sidetracked by the introduction, in 1987, of the first Norwegian Salmon factory farm, in the nearby town of Echo Bay, with its numerous detrimental side effects, both to the community, the environment and the wild fish, lobsters and whales. After numerous failed attempts at communicating about these harmful impacts to the government, she enlisted the support of international scientists, who assisted her with measuring and documenting the undesirable effects of these fish factory farms.
She has since turned her home into a Coast Field Station for other marine biologists wishing to study harmful salmon farm impacts (www.salmoncoast.org) . She is also the director of the Raincoast Research Society and founded the Pacific Coast Wild Salmon Society ( www.adopt-a-fry.org ) to try and use the courts to correct some of the serious issues of the industry.
To listen to the recent and informative May 22, 2013 podcast interview, sponsored by the Vedic Harmony Centre, of Dr.Alexandra Morton by Andrew Rezmer on Conscious Living Radio please visit http://www.consciouslivingradio.org/?p2=/customcode/consciousliving/viewcomments.jsp&bid=439 .
Riverful Pinks” Photo by Dr. Alexandra Morton ( www.alexandramorton.typepad.com )
B: Salmon Confidential—How a Canadian Government Cover-Up Threatens Your Health, and the Entire Ecosystem
World Renowned Osteopathic physician and author Joseph Mercola (www.mercola.com ) has published an in depth review of the Salmon Confidential movie, and related background issues, on April 13 ,2013 . This article has proven to be extraordinarily popular and has, in less than 3 months, already had 350,000 hits.
by Dr. Joseph Mercola
- Salmon Confidential draws back the curtain to reveal how the Canadian government is covering up the cause behind British Columbia’s rapidly dwindling wild salmon populations: fish farms
- In British Columbia, pacific salmon are an essential species for the ecosystem. They fill hundreds of streams and rivers, feeding hundreds of species, including humans. Since the early 1990’s, salmon numbers have rapidly dwindled, coinciding with the introduction of farmed salmon pens
- Fish farms breed pathogens that can spread like wildfire and contaminate any wild fish swimming past. Wild salmon that died before spawning have tested positive for a number of salmon viruses, including the highly lethal “salmon influenza”
- Farmed fish, purchased in stores around British Columbia have tested positive for at least three lethal fish viruses, including the dreaded ISA virus (aka salmon flu), salmon alpha viruses, and Piscine reovirus, which causes the salmon to have a heart attack, preventing them from swimming upriver
- I recommend buying locally-grown foods, and wild fish only. Fish farms are a breeding ground for disease and toxic waste, and produce fish of inferior quality. Due to the dramatically increased disease risk—a natural side effect of crowding—these animals are further contaminated with drugs, and in the case of salmon, synthetic astaxanthin, which is made from petrochemicals that are not approved for human consumption
For the full story please visit : http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/13/salmon-confidential.aspx
C: Farmed Salmon Toxins Proven Unsafe
BC’s Common Ground magazine ( www.commonground.ca ) has been running a monthly series on the wild Salmon issue entitled “Wild Salmon Warrior News” with Adam Sealey. Adam is a native of the BC coast who grew up in places like the Discovery Islands.
by Adam S. Sealey , BC Common Ground Magazine writer
” I do not recommend pregnant women, children or young people to eat farmed salmon.” — Norwegian doctor Anne-Lise Birch Monsen
Last month, “Wild Salmon Warrior News” explained why salmon farms must be removed from wild salmon migration routes. This month, we tell the other side of the story: how farmed salmon in BC, Norway and elsewhere is full of toxins. First some shocking news from Norway, the country where modern salmon farming originated and which owns most of the salmon farms in BC . For the full story go to : http://commonground.ca/2013/07/wild-salmon-warrior-news-2/ .
Eddie Gardner (T’it’elem Spath) is a member of the Skwah First Nation in Chilliwack, BC. Eddie is currently an Elder-in-Residence at the University of the Fraser Valley. He is devoted to working with First Nations authorities, Salmon Are Sacred, environmental groups, scientists and the food industry to protect and restore wild salmon. He has started a series of actions to educate the public about the dangers of eating farmed salmon, especially for children. “I choose a restaurant or food outlet that sells farmed salmon and ask the manager to remove farmed salmon from their shelves. I let them know there will be a rally in front of their establishment to help raise awareness. I also give the manager information to hand out to customers. A media advisory is issued announcing there will be a boycott on a specific date at the store or restaurant and I also post the event on social media. I present a certificate of acknowledgement and appreciation if the store or restaurant joins the feedlot salmon boycott. I also reward them with a ‘cash mob’ by having 8 to 12 people show up for a meal at their restaurant. This encourages other restaurants to follow suit.” Contact Eddie at firstname.lastname@example.org .
For the full story go to : http://commonground.ca/2013/07/wild-salmon-warrior-news-2/
For more viewpoints and events, listen to Wild Salmon Warrior Radio, with host and artist Jay Peachy, Tuesdays 10:30AM. Begins July 2 on CJSF 90.1FM or online at cjsf.ca . WSW Radio is a show exploring how people relate to the Wild Salmon and the communities that protect it.
D: The deck keeps stacking higher against wild salmon
By Dr. Alexandra Morton
The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), our global first line of defence against farm animal epidemics, just stacked the odds against stopping ISA virus from spreading in British Columbia. They stripped the lab I am using to track ISA virus of its international certification.
Farm animal epidemics are considered one of the greatest threats to human food security and health. The OIE expects member countries to report diseases of global significance. One of these “reportable” diseases is the influenza family Infectious Salmon Anemia virus, ISAv.
The OIE designates “reference” labs for each reportable disease. Being a reference lab is a perilous responsibility, because calling a new region “positive” for a reportable virus will cause economic hardship to large, powerful agri-businesses. They don’t like that. We, the public, depend on these labs to stand up to this pressure and not take the easier course of action.
I became concerned ISA virus could be spreading into the North Pacific from the Atlantic salmon feedlots when I read the BC government’s many reports of the “classic lesions associated with ISA virus infection” in the Atlantic salmon being reared in BC.
A small team of us have now sampled farm salmon from supermarkets across Canada and wild salmon throughout BC and I sent them to the closest ISA virus reference lab, Dr. Kibenge’s lab at the Atlantic Veterinary College. This was the lab that diagnosed ISA virus in Chile, just before the virus went epidemic causing $2 billion in damages. No one in Chile recognized they had ISA until Kibenge diagnosed it, but by then it was too late. The virus had come from Norway in farm salmon eggs and raged through the country killing salmon.
British Columbia is currently rated as an ISA-free region by the OIE and this brings considerable value to the BC farm salmon product. The USA has stated they do not want ISA virus contaminated salmon, so being ISA-free is critical to accessing the enormous US market, to the survival of the Norwegian salmon feedlot industry using BC to grow its fish.
The CFIA testified at the federal Cohen Commission into the collapse of the Fraser sockeye salmon that if ISA virus is “confirmed” BC farm salmon trade will grind to a halt (see film above). These are big agribusinesses with Norway heavily invested.
The Kibenge lab found pieces of RNA sequence, in my samples. When virologists detect sequences of RNA, they run them through databases that look for matches, like police run fingerprints. These RNA sequences matched European ISA virus, known to infect Atlantic salmon.
Canada refuses to accept these matches as “confirmation” of the ISA virus, because they are only pieces of the virus. Canada does not even see these results as “suspect” for ISA virus. Canada requires the entire viral sequence or “virus isolation,” before reporting to the OIE. However, no one has found the whole ISA virus in salmon which are simply carriers of the virus. The fish has to be dying of the virus for “virus isolation” to be successful. To get a fresh dying Atlantic salmon, you have to have access to salmon in the farm.
This rule sets the bar so high, it prevents any kind of an early warning. It means the virus can be seeping out of the feedlots into the wild and no response is required. No lab studying ISA virus has ever faced the kind of samples I sent to the Kibenge lab, because nobody has ever gone looking for ISA BEFORE it goes epidemic. Most ISA virus researchers have access to dying farm salmon, we only have access to farm salmon in supermarkets. I have been highly criticized for testing the farm salmon in markets – but this is the only way I could ground-truth the BC vet’s reporting that farm salmon in BC only look like ISA virus, but not to worry that the virus is not actually present.
Seven other labs testified at the Cohen Commission that they too found ISA virus sequence, but they have all gone silent since they were questioned under oath. Kibenge’s lab is the only independent lab in Canada running samples provided by an independent biologist.
Kibenge Lab News coverage:
b) On June 13, 2013, the OIE removed their reference lab status from the Kibenge lab.
For the rest of this unfolding current story please click here : www.alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2013/06/the-world-organization-for-animal-health-oie-lists-as-its-number-one-objective-to-ensure-transparency-in-the-global-anima.html
c) Here is a June 30, 2013 update, about the unfolding CFIA saga (Entitled “Shooting the messenger: Lab stripped of credentials after finding infectious virus in BC salmon“) with the distinguished Kibenge Lab, from the Salmon Confidential filmmaker Twyla Roscovich ( www.callingfromthecoast.com ) : www.vancouverobserver.com/opinion/shooting-messenger-lab-stripped-credentials-after-finding-infectious-virus-bc-salmon
d) OFFICIAL JULY 4, 2013 PRESS RELEASE :
One of Eastern Canada’s leading scientists and his lab stripped of international credentials after reporting a controversial virus in British Columbia salmon
E. ACTION PLAN
If you would like to help to try to stop the spread of ISA virus in BC here are some of different ways you can contribute :
1 – Please share the film www.salmonconfidential.ca everywhere
2 – Use your consumer power and join the farm salmon boycott These companies will change their behaviour if you refuse to buy farm salmon raised in the ocean.
3 – Write to the OIE and the CFIA and DFO and your provincial and federal representatives.
a) Director General of the OIE – Bernard Vallat
b) CFIA – email@example.com
c) DFO – BC Regional Director General – Susan Farlinger
Please let them know the following :
Wild salmon are essential to Canada and I don’t feel that the risk to wild salmon from the ISA virus has been given adequate consideration. It is not acceptable that the only response by the OIE to the ISA virus positive results in BC from seven labs has been to damage the credibility and standing of the only independent lab on the forefront of this research. This decision should have been delayed until the research is finished and published, where the broader scientific community could examine the evidence. I have concerns regarding the CFIA’s refusal to test Atlantic salmon for this Atlantic virus to declare BC ISA virus – free. I see DFO’s failure to return to Cultus Lake and retest the region for ISA virus as irresponsible management. British Columbians are not pleased with performance of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, DFO, and the decline in wild salmon. We do not want Atlantic viruses entering the food chain, threatening the ecology, economy and food security of British Columbia.
4 – Please donate to help keep this research work independent and ongoing at www.gofundme.com/FishFeedlotsOut .
About Raoul Bedi : has worked in the field of educational seminars and products with a focus on Nutrition and Health for 25 years. Over the past 5 years he has been actively involved in educational and fundraising initiatives and campaigns for Farmer’s Rights and Food Security, Seed-saving and anti-GMO activism in Canada and the US. Raoul can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org .His company, Vedic Harmony Centre, sponsors a variety of Health and Wellness events, radio interviews about Conscious Living ,Food Security and Green Solutions. Vedic Harmony Centre’s website for events, educational materials and products is www.biofield.ca.