Norwegian Disease Strikes at the Heart of British Columbia

The Norwegian-owned salmon farming industry is embroiled in yet another disease disaster with supermarkets in Canada now caught in the cross-fire of contamination. 

“A newly identified Norwegian virus that affects salmon has made its way into Canadian markets, with test results confirming the presence of the virus in 44 out of 45 farmed salmon bought from Vancouver supermarkets,” reported The Vancouver Sun yesterday (16 April). 

“The piscine reovirus, which causes heart and skeletal muscle inflammation in salmon, was found in fish bought by advocacy group SalmonAreSacred.org.  The stores' seafood departments told the group the fish were B.C.-raised farmed salmon, SalmonAreSacred said in a news release.”

Read more via ‘Salmon virus hits Canadian supermarkets: Norwegian disease found in 44 of 45 Vancouver-bought fish
 
Salmon Are Sacred reported on Friday (13 April) under the headline ‘Farmed Salmon Disease Just Keeps Coming’: 

Read more via ‘Farmed Salmon Disease Just Keeps Coming

“If these fish are not from BC, we have a breach in BC’s food security protocol,” said Alexandra Morton in her blog (13 April). 

“There is something very wrong when four women with shopping carts can find this and the salmon flu virus in Atlantic salmon in BC but almost no one else seems to know anything about it.  Are the industry and government really unaware of HSMI, or is no one concerned there about wild salmon?”

 

Read more via ‘New Norwegian Virus in Supermarket Farm Salmon
 
The BC salmon farming industry (which is over 90% owned by Norwegian corporations) continue to refute the damning findings. 
 
“We are not seeing any indication of a virus with the impacts that she has described in the release,” said Mary-Ellen Walling, Executive Director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association, to CBC News (14 April).  “I think that it is probably quite unscientific to test samples from a supermarket. There is no research design, the fish have no internal organs to sample and there is a lot of opportunity for cross-contamination.”
 

Read more via ‘New Salmon Virus Found in Farmed Salmon: Advocate
 
Yet, during testimony in December 2011 at Canada’s judicial inquiry into the decline of wild salmon (the ‘Cohen Commission’), Dr. Kristi Miller dropped the disease bomb that salmon farms in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve were under attack from a piscine reovirus associated with Heart & Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI).

Read more via ‘Clayoquot Under Virus Attack!’   
 
Wired magazine labelled HSMI (Heart & Skeletal Muscle Inflammation) a ‘Salmon Killer’ back in 2010 reporting that: “Infected fish are physically stunted, and their muscles are so weakened that they have trouble swimming or even pumping blood.  The disease is often fatal, and the original outbreak has been followed by 417 others in Norway and the United Kingdom. Every year there’s more of the disease, and it’s now been seen in wild fish, suggesting that farm escapees are infecting already-dwindling wild stocks.”
 
Read more via ‘Salmon Killer Disease Mystery Solved
 
HSMI is fast becoming Norway’s #1 disease problem with the number of cases leaping like a sea-lice infested farmed salmon up the league table.

A report – ‘Fish Farmageddon: The Infectious Salmon Aquacalypse’ - published last year by GAAIA pointed out:

The heart disease is spreading like a cancer around the coasts of Norway, Scotland, Chile – and now it seems Canada. 

Read more about HSMI and other infectious diseases via ‘Fish Farmageddon: The Infectious Salmon Aquacalypse
 
In October last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that HSMI had hit the Chilean salmon farming industry. 

Read more via ‘Chile Detects New Virus in Local Farmed Salmon Industry
 
The Chilean newspaper Diario Financerio reported that “the detection of a new virus in the Chilean salmon industry set off alarms at the Chilean Fishing Service (Sernapesca).”  “This one is considered an emerging infectious disease in Norway, a country where control actions are not being implemented even though the virus is widely distributed but in sea and fresh water hatcheries,” said Juan Luis Ansoleaga, the director of Sernapesca. 

HSMI is not the only virus or infectious disease spread by the Norwegian salmon farming industry.  The New York Times reported in July 2011 that Norwegian companies exported Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) to Chile. 

Read more via ‘Norwegians Concede a Role in Chilean Salmon Virus
 
Cermaq – whose principal shareholder is the Norwegian Ministry of Trade & Industry – publicly conceded in April 2011 that the spread of ISA from Norway to Chile occurred via ‘vertical transmission’.   
 

 
Read more via ‘ISA virus in Chile: evidence of vertical transmission

In British Columbia, further evidence of the spread of ISA was published earlier this month.  “The ISA virus findings I am reporting here do not prove these viruses came from Norway or Chile, the lab report indicates only that they carry the same mutation,” reported Alexandra Morton in her blog (10 April).  “They may or may not be related to the Norwegian or Chilean strains.”
 

Read more via ‘More ISA Virus Test Results’ and ‘ISA Backgrounder
 
The disease-ridden Norwegian-owned salmon farming industry in British Columbia has become an international laughing stock.  Greg ‘The Lion’ McDade, legal counsel for Alexandra Morton, hit the last nail in coffin during his final oral submission at Canada’s salmon inquiry (the ‘Cohen Commission’) in November 2011 when he said:
 
“Like the Monty Python sketch, we have a dead parrot.”

Read more via ‘Norwegian Blues: Monty’s Python’s Dead Farmed Salmon

The people of British Columbia, however, simply don’t see the funny side of a deadly Norwegian virus infecting salmon.  “I challenge them to let me test their fish,” said Alexandra Morton in an interview with The Montreal Gazette (16 April). 

“Someone has to be testing the wild salmon for this,” said Morton in an article published today (17 April) via Fisheries Information Service.  “We need to know, so we can go there and have a look at how the wild salmon are doing with this disease.”


Read more via ‘Salmon Testing Hotline
 
Meanwhile, the Norwegian-owned BC salmon farming industry (three Norwegian corporations - Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Grieg – control over 90% of production) and the Canadian Government are still parroting denial after denial.
 
Department of Fisheries and Oceans spokesman Frank Stanek told Postmedia News (16 April) that the link between PRV and HSMI has not been verified. “Government of Canada scientists have not confirmed the presence of this virus in Canadian fish, despite extensive monitoring and testing. Every indication shows Canadian salmon are healthy and safe,” he blustered.

Gary Marty, B.C. provincial fish pathologist, said the fact that Morton found most supermarket farmed salmon have PRV shows that the virus is not causing disease.  “If the fish were infected with a deadly virus, they would not have survived to be harvested or sold,” he flapped.


 
“The actions that returned these positive tests are highly unscientific and the information released alongside them is considerably speculative,” squawked Mary-Ellen Walling.  “In B.C., the government fish health lab assesses heart muscles routinely for indications of disease and has not found any consistency between these tissues and the presence of this virus.”


 
Read more via ‘Government officials, salmon farmers contradict claims of disease in farmed salmon’ 
 
Sadly, no amount of rattling the cage will resuscitate this ‘Norwegian Blue’.

Not even the kiss of life will bring the disease-ridden salmon farming industry back to life (Mary-Ellen Walling of the BC Salmon Farmers Association pictured below blowing a kiss with Cermaq’s PR flak Grant Warkentin). 

Watch the Monty Python ‘Norwegian Blue’ dead parrot sketch with John Cleese and Michael Palin including the immortal line: “It’s just pining for the fjords!” - online here!


If HSMI and other infectious diseases continue to be spread all around the world then there will certainly be no love lost for the Norwegian salmon farming industry. 

It seems heart problems and deformities are endemic in farmed salmon.  Norwegian research published in 2009 showed that almost half of all farmed salmon suffer from inflammation of the heart and nine out of 10 have excess epicardial fat.   
 

The study also showed that the heart of the farmed salmon has a different shape than that of wild salmon.  While wild salmon have a more triangular-shaped heart, the heart of farmed salmon is often more rounded.  “These differences may be attributed to the fact that wild salmon are more athletic, swim a lot and move around a large area of sea, while farmed salmon swim around in cages and have become lazier than their fellow members of the genus,” said senior scientist Ingrid Olesen.
 
Read more via ‘Farmed Salmon Have Heart Problems
 
Have a heart and boycott farmed salmon.  For the love of wild salmon, get fish farms out now!

For the Love of wild Salmon, Fish Farms Get Out!

Even people in Norway are falling out of love with Norwegian farmed salmon - watch this new video from the Green Warriors of Norway (online here)!

[Warning: Farmed Salmon is the Most Poisonous Food in Norway!]

For more background on Norwegian salmon farming read 'Report on the Environmental Impact of Farming North Altantic Salmon in Norway'