Monthly Archives: September 2012

“…Alexandra Morton is a great story teller, but much of what she says is just that: a story.”

There has been a very interesting exchange of Letters to the Editor in the Nanaimo Daily News recently. We have compiled a chronological summary of them  for your convenience and interest. It all started August 13, 2012 with the following Column:

Protecting wild fish must be made a priority
By Walter Cordery, The Daily News August 13, 2012

I spent some time during the past two weeks on the West Coast of the Island.

During that time, I decided to check out the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, established in 2000 to celebrate the unique ecosystems of the area. I hadn’t been in the Clayoquot since the “war in the woods.”…

…The West Coast of Vancouver Island is too precious to be put at risk by economic interests. It’s time the governments insist that fish farmers move towards closed-net, onshore pens that remove the risk of spreading infections.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, formerly the Department of Fisheries and Oceans must return to its original mandate and that is the protection of wild fish stocks in Canada.


The column above generated three response to the paper:

One by Mainstream Canada, another by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the third by Ian Roberts, Marine Harvest Canada:

Column claims about fish farming questioned
By Grant Warkentin, The Daily News August 15, 2012
Re: ‘Protecting wild fish must be a priority’ (Daily News, Aug. 13)
Columnist and reporter Walter Cordery makes errors and assumptions in his column about salmon farming in Clayoquot Sound that need to be corrected…

…Finally, it’s disappointing that despite spending two weeks in Clayoquot Sound, Cordery did not stop in at our Tofino office to see for himself what we do. He is welcome to contact us anytime in the future, we would be happy to answer his questions and arrange for a farm tour, if possible.

The Walter Cordery Column and Grant’s letter can be read here http://www.farmfreshsalmon.org/column-claims-about-fish-farming-questioned


Here is the CFIA response to the column:

CFIA committed to disease control process
Nanaimo, Thursday, August 16, 2012

Re: ‘Protecting wild fish must be made a priority’ (Daily News, Aug. 13)

I would like to address comments about protecting wild fish off the coast of British Columbia. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is committed to protecting the health of both wild and farmed fish…

…We remain committed to keeping Canadians informed of our disease control measures and surveillance results.

Dr. Ian Alexander, executive director, Animal Health Directorate Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The CFIA Letter can be read here: http://www.farmfreshsalmon.org/cfia-committed-disease-control-process


The third response to the column is as follows:

Much has changed in aquaculture in the past decades
Nanaimo Daily News, Opinion, August 21, 2012
BY IAN ROBERTS » Ian Roberts is a graduate of Sir Sandford Fleming’s aquaculture technician program and is Marine Harvest’s manager of communications.

Back in 1988, there were 5.1 billion reasons why I chose aquaculture as a career. Today, there are more than seven billion reasons…

…Regardless of whether you’re a proponent or opponent of fish farming, we all have a same motivation. That is, to take care of our oceans. For salmon farmers, we want to care for the oceans not only because it’s important to our coastal home, but because it’s critical to our success. This care is also imbedded in the strict regulations we operate under. These regulations help ensure that an aquaculture site is being farmed in a sustainable manner that can continue to provide food for future generations.

Jacques Cousteau once said “We must plant the sea and herd its animals using the sea as farmers instead of hunters.”

His point is a critical one. The world is no longer talking about whether aquaculture should happen but how to make sure it’s done well.

I agree and feel British Columbia will benefit from a conversation free of misinformation

Ian’s Opinion Editorial can be read here: http://www.farmfreshsalmon.org/much-has-changed-aquaculture-past-decades


The August 16th CFIA rsponse Letter:  ‘CFIA committed to disease control process’ prompted the following letter from Alexandra Morton:

Government testing of salmon a flawed process
By Alexandra Morton, The Daily News August 21, 2012

Re: ‘CFIA committed to disease control process’ (Your Letters, Aug. 16)

While I appreciate the concept that the CFIA is committed to the health of wild salmon, I cannot understand how they can fulfill this role if they refuse to examine Atlantic salmon…


Alexandra’s Letter generated very strong responses from Dr, Gary Marty and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Here is Dr. Marty’s:

Claims about salmon viruses simply incorrect
Gary Marty, Nanaimo Daily News, August 24, 2012

Re: ‘Government testing of salmon a flawed process’ ( Your Letters, Aug. 21)

As the fish pathologist for the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, I am disappointed to see Alexandra Morton continue to mislead readers with inaccurate statements about salmon diseases in British Columbia…

…Alexandra Morton is a great story teller, but much of what she says is just that: a story.

For the best information about salmon diseases and their control, I depend on CFIA, DFO, and the fish farm veterinarians.

Both Alexandra’s and Dr. Marty’s  letters can be read here: http://www.farmfreshsalmon.org/claims-about-salmon-viruses-simply-incorrect


Here is the CFIA response to Alexandra’s letter:

CFIA continuing with salmon disease control
Dr. Ian Alexander , CFIA, Nanaimo Daily News, August 25, 2012

Re: ‘Government testing of salmon a flawed process’ ( Daily News, Aug. 21)

Alexandra Morton’s assertion that farmed salmon are not being monitored for infectious salmon anaemia is untrue…

…We remain committed to keeping Canadians informed of our disease control measures and surveillance results.

The CFI Letter can be read here: http://www.farmfreshsalmon.org/cfia-continuing-salmon-disease-control


Alexandra Morton tries again to mislead with another letter to the Editor in response to the CFIA Letter:

Current salmon testing puts credibility at risk
Alexandra Morton Echo Bay, The Daily News, Published: Friday, August 31, 2012

I try to avoid the back and forth of too many letters, but the CFIA letter calling my words “untrue” requires clarity.

The issue is who is testing farm salmon for European diseases…


And once again, CFIA submits a strong response to Alexandra:

CFIA doing monitoring, testing of farmed salmon
The Daily News, Published: Thursday, September 06, 2012

Re: ‘Current salmon testing puts credibility at risk’ (Your Letters, Aug. 31)

Contrary to assertions made in the letter “Current salmon testing puts credibility at risk,” the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s approach to salmon disease testing will provide Canadians with clear, unbiased information about the health of salmon in British Columbia.

The CFIA launched a comprehensive surveillance initiative in the spring to determine the status of certain diseases, including infectious salmon anaemia, in B.C. waters. This initiative is rigorous, science-based and transparent.

Infectious salmon anaemia is a reportable disease, which means that the CFIA must be immediately notified of all suspected cases. Any detection of the disease in farmed salmon would be managed through science-based control measures, which may include quarantine and humane destruction and disposal.

An assessment of the monitoring and testing undertaken by industry will be included in the CFIA’s surveillance initiative. The CFIA is fulfilling all its responsibilities and will be reviewing all data. Additional testing of farmed fish will be undertaken if further information is needed to fully determine B.C.’s disease status.

We remain committed to keeping Canadians informed of our disease control measures and surveillance results.

Dr. Ian Alexander Executive Director Animal Health Directorate Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Both Alexandra’s Letter and the CFIA Letter can be read here:

 http://www.farmfreshsalmon.org/cfia-doing-monitoring-testing-farmed-salmon


We will keep this summary page updated if more Letters to the Editors are published