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ISA Discovery Covered Up

NORTH AMERICA - Fishyleaks has made public a secret Canadian Government report (believed to be from 2004) detailing 117 positive cases of Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) in farmed Atlantic and wild Pacific salmon (sockeye, chinook and pink) from Southeast Alaska, the Bering Sea, Queen Charlotte Strait, the West Coast of Vancouver Island and Cultus Lake.

According to the report, ISA was successfully sequenced and 22 per cent of the salmon (over 500 samples) tested positive for ISA. Over half of the positive tests were from the Fraser River – where 100 per cent of the Cultus Lake sockeye tested positive for ISA (64 out of 64 samples). 10 out of 37 chinook caught ‘Inside East Alaska’ tested positive for ISA and 22 out of 40 chinook caught ‘Inside Vancouver Island (inlets)’ tested positive.

According to Superheroes4Salmon, co-author of the report, Dr Simon Jones of the Department of Fisheries & Oceans (DFO) Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, attempted to block the report’s release but another co-author, Dr Fred Kibenge of the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island, deemed it of current interest stating: “I think that this historical data may also clarify some of the issues around recent ISAV testing in British Columbia.”

The unpublished and undated report – “Asymptomatic Infectious Salmon Anaemia in juvenile Oncorhychus species from the North Pacific Ocean” - was made available last week (November 23) privately to participants in Canada’s judicial inquiry into the decline of Fraser River sockeye salmon (‘the Cohen Commission’) – in advance of a hearing on ISA on 15/16 December in Vancouver.

According to the Government report, ISA virus found in the infected fish was 94 per cent to 98 per cent homologous with Canadian ISAV isolates and 92 per cent to 93 per cent with European ISAV isolates. ISA detected in chinook salmon had an identity of 99.7 per cent and 95.8 per cent with ISAV isolates 810/9/99 from Norway and NBISA01 from New Brunswick, respectively. The ISA-infected farmed Atlantic salmon had 98 per cent identity to most Canadian ISAV isolates and 93 per cent identical to European isolates.

The report concluded: “These results lead us to conclude that an asymptomatic form of ISA occurs among some species of wild Pacific salmon in the north Pacific.”

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Charlotte Johnson

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