ISA and the Cohen Commission
There are two different viruses at issue here – the first, Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) was responsible for decimating up to 80% of the farmed salmon industry in Chile throughout 2008 and 2009 and has affected Norway, Scotland and the East Coast of Canada. While it isn’t known officially to affect wild Pacific salmon yet, the concern is that it may mutate (or may already have done so – more on that later), with catastrophic results for our wild fish.
The second is known as Salmon Leukemia and results in brain lesions which are likely already affecting BC’s wild salmon stocks. Research on this virus is newer than with ISA and the potential of a connection to salmon farms requires immediate further investigation.
Salmon Leukemia was the subject of a recent paper published by DFO scientist Dr. Kristi Miller – whose muzzling by officials connected to the Prime Minister’s office has made headlines. The world’s most prestigious journal, Science, called Dr. Miller’s paper some of the most significant new salmon research in a decade, and yet she was barred from speaking with any media following its publication in January of this year. (More on that in Part 2 of this series).