Cohen Aquaculture Daily: August 29, 2011

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Transcript: August 29, 2011 Hearing Transcript

Summary:
Cross-examination continued of the Aquaculture expert panel and the techniques they used in their expert reports. Much of the discussion focused on how the report authors applied analytical methods and interpreted farm disease records, scientific literature and other available data.

The questioning of the Aquaculture witnesses included discussion about:

  • Dr. Connors’ analysis regarding surface sea temperature, farm production and pink salmon abundance in the North Pacific. Dr. Korman generally agreed with the validity of the analysis despite disagreement by Dr. Noakes.
  • A graph by Dr. Morton which used Dr. Korman’s spreadsheet showing large spikes in mortality in 2003 and 2007 in farms along the Fraser sockeye migration route.
  • Noakes and Korman used the number of “fresh silvers” (recently deceased farm salmon) as the maximum number of fish considered dying of disease, which was challenged as an assumption; about 60% of diagnoses in provincial audits were classified as “open” (not definitively diagnosed) and as a result were not included in the analysis by Dr. Korman.
  • On average, provincial audits examined about 5 fish per audit per farm—at maximum a few times per year. Government sampling guidelines tabled by the Aquaculture Coalition indicated that a statistically relevant sample of 60 fish should be collected to detect a disease with a prevalence of 5% in a population of 100,000.
  • The number of Infectious Salmon Anemia-like (ISA) lesions and marine anemia symptoms on farm fish along the Fraser River outmigration route could be correlated.
  • An email from Provincial veterinarian, Dr. Marty which suggests marine anemia may be better characterized as a syndrome than a disease and that the cause may not be known.
  • Conville Bay farm which contained Chinook salmon along the Fraser River sockeye out migration route had a marine anemia outbreak up until 2007.
  • Some fish were unhealthy at farms but at the farm-level they were not diagnosed as diseased.
  • 60% of diagnoses from audits are “open” (no final diagnosis); the BC Salmon farmers Association records contained practically no “open” cases.
  • A compilation of historical data on the abundance and health of farmed salmon along the sockeye migration route should be done in order to better understand the potential for transmission of disease and parasites to wild salmon.
  • Bacteria, more specifically furunculous bacteria, can be transferred by sea lice between Atlantic salmon.
  • ISA can be transferred by Leps (sea lice) as shown by EU research.
  • Declines of wild fish can be reduced by short growing cycles from farm fish, medicating farm fish, and keeping farm stocking levels low. Declines can be avoided only by ensuring that wild fish do not share water with farmed fish, either by locating sea cages very far from wild fish or through the use of closed-containment aquaculture systems.
  • The province withdrew their objection to publicizing their farm audit data.

 

Witnesses – Aquaculture:

  • Dr. Brendan Connors – School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University
  • Dr. Larry Dill – Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University
  • Dr. Josh Korman – Ecometric Research Inc.
  • Dr. Don Noakes – Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Thompson Rivers University

 

See evidentiary documents page for a listing of key exhibits discussed at the hearings.

News Coverage resulting from August 29th Cohen hearings: List is updated as additional media is published.

  • BC Local News; August 30, 2011; “Sockeye probe reports split on aquaculture risk”
  • Vancouver Sun; August 30, 2011; “BC gives nod to release of salmon farm audits”
  • The Tyee; August 30, 2011; “Province agrees to make fish farm audits public”
  • Vancouver Sun; August 31, 2011; “Province allows release of salmon audits”
  • FIS Canada; September 1, 2011; “Cohen Commission releases audits of salmon farm deaths”

 

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