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December 16, 2011

Scientist claims evidence of salmon virus from early as 1986

Scientist claims evidence of salmon virus from early as 1986, feared lab would be closed

A Canadian scientist testifying in front of a commission over the collapse of the Fraser River salmon fishery says that in original tests done as far back as 2002 her lab did find indicators of the ISA Virus in pacific salmon.
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.
When asked by commission lawyer Brock Martland if there was any indication of a virus, Dr Miller testified, "there is a virus here very similar to ISA."
Miller added that it has not been established if the virus causes any disease.  Miller is continuing to test for the virus. Miller also tested fish samples stored in her lab from 1986 and found evidence of ISA. It is not yet known what strain of the virus may exist in the Pacific salmon.
Miller is testifying with two other scientists from Canada and one via teleconference from Norway. The Cohen Commission was created two years ago to study the decline of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River, which also habitate in American waterways.
This hearing regarding the ISA virus is being held in a modern conference room with dozens of lawyers and onlookers gathered around in elevating levels of circles.
The lawyers represent multiple levels of government and stakeholders involved in the fishing & aquaculture industries. The scientists were crossed examined by some of those lawyers.

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