This was forwarded by Howard Breen of the Georgia Strait Alliance (GSA)
http://www.georgiastrait.org/ It contains editorial comments which are his
alone. The GSA is against salmon farming in net pens, stating that "The
risks from salmon netcages of pollution and antibiotics, infectious diseases
and colonization of rivers by escaped farm fish are very real threats to
wild fish, shellfish and marine mammals." The GSA is calling for a timely
phase-in of escape-proof and disease-safe closed-loop systems for all
existing net pen operations. I'm neither endorsing nor criticizing this
From: Howard Breen (by way of Howard Breen <hbreen_at_georgiastrait.org>)
Sent: Tuesday, November 09, 1999 2:01 PM
To: L. Neil Frazer; Jay DeLong
Subject: State of emergency: ISA spreads and infects wild fish
Scottish wild salmon are facing a state of emergency as fish farms spread
and infect wild fish with ISA.
Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) brought to Canada from Scotland have
infected wild salmon in Atlantic Canada. Now Scotland has found the same
transmission from farm to wild salmon. Is the Pacific Northwest next?
When will the Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans and the provincial Ministries
of Fisheries admit that netcages with vaccinated farm salmon act as disease
vectors for wild salmon? When will federal Ministers Dhaliwahl and Anderson
wake up to the fact that honoring the new Oceans Act doesn't mean
ecological compromise brought on by advancing the conflicting agendas of an
overbearing Federal Aquaculture Policy and wild salmon
Habitat Campaign Coordinator
GEORGIA STRAIT ALLIANCE
British Columbia, Canada
Copyright 1999 Aberdeen Press and Journal
Aberdeen Press and Journal
November 5, 1999
SECTION: Fishing: Salmon, Pg.1
LENGTH: 772 words
HEADLINE: Salmon farms facing a state of emergency
ISA spreads and infects wild fish
BYLINE: By Kim Munro
THE salmon industry was said to be close to a state of emergency last night
after the confirmation of six new suspected cases of a killer fish disease
- and the disturbing discovery of the virus in wild fish for the first time.
The Government has launched an urgent review of controls against Infectious
Salmon Anaemia (ISA) while demands are intensifying for a moratorium on any
Scottish Fisheries Minister John Home Robertson announced yesterday that ISA
was suspected on a further six salmon farms and tests had revealed the
but not the disease itself - in several types of wild fish.
The six farms are in Shetland at Burra, Gonfirth and on the east mainland
coast, one in the south of Orkney and two in Loch Roag in the Western Isles.
They bring the number of suspected ISA cases on farms to 24. It has been
confirmed on a further 11 farms.
Mr Home Robertson said the disappointing news came towards the end of a year
in which there had been few outbreaks, and in which restrictions had been
lifted in some areas.
"As well as fulfilling our responsibility to impose controls on these farms,
we are urgently considering the implication of this new evidence that the
is present in wild fish," he said.
"That means we will be reviewing our current controls and will be taking
stock of what action may be necessary in relation to wild fish."
He said one option was to learn from Norway and Canada, where the disease is
contained rather than eradicated.
The minister stressed the disease had no implications for human health but
acknowledged it had a devastating effect on fish farms. The disease is
estimated to have cost the industry GBP 37 million in 18 months.
The discovery of the virus in wild freshwater and marine species has alarmed
fishing and environmental groups.
Sea trout in Laxo Voe, Shetland and the River Snizort in Skye are affected,
along with eels in Loch Uisg on Mull.
Brown trout in the rivers Conan and Easaidh, Atlantic salmon par in the
rivers Conan, Easaidh and Tweed, and rainbow trout in freshwater farms in
Aberdeenshire and Kinross-shire are also harbouring the virus.
Officials admit they are unsure how significant these findings are but
rainbow trout and sea trout, although carriers of the virus, have never been
known to develop the disease.
The Salmon and Trout Association - which represents fishing interests -
to see an immediate ban on the expansion of fish farming until more is known
about the origin of the disease and how it spreads.
A spokesman said: "We are extremely concerned about this and the fact that
ISA has been found in wild fish stocks. Wild fish supports many jobs in the
rural economy - around 3,500 in Scotland - and a balance has to be made."
Environmental group Friends of the Earth warned that Scotland's fishing
industry was close to a state of emergency.
Dr Richard Dixon, head of research, said: Scotland's fish-farming industry
now on a knife edge. The Government told us that it had beaten ISA - it
They told us ISA would not spread to wild fish - it has."
The latest news has added weight to the campaign for an improved funding aid
package to help struggling salmon farmers.
The Government has so far refused to compensate fish farmers who have to
destroy stock to prevent the spread of the disease. It has offered a GBP
9 million aid package available over three years but this needs to be
farms pound for pound.
Lord Lindsay, the chairman of the the Scottish Salmon Growers' Association,
reinforced the need for the Government to work more closely with the salmon
industry to alleviate the problem.
He said: "In order to safeguard the thousands of jobs that support fragile
rural economies in the Highlands and Islands and maintain investor
the Scottish Executive must review, with the utmost urgency, measures to
the outbreaks of the virus and financial assistance to help the industry
recover from the subsequent losses of unaffected stock and the acute
repercussions for other parts of the industry."
David Sandison, general manager, of the Shetland Salmon Farmers Association,
last night wanted to see the Norwegian example followed which accepts that
ISA virus is in the water and suspected fish being contained rather than
He said: "I think we will possibly find that the Norwegian are right when
they say you can't control the virus. They are as strict as Scotland on the
fight against the disease, but they have a different set of rules when it
to deal with the virus. Containment is the way forward."
Copyright 1999 The Scotsman Publications Ltd.
November 5, 1999, Friday
SECTION: Pg. 1
LENGTH: 692 words
HEADLINE: FEARS FOR SALMON AS VIRUS SPREADS TO WILD
BYLINE: Ian Smith And Christopher Cairns
A DEADLY virus which has crippled Scotland's salmon farming industry has
spread to the wild for the first time.
Scottish executive officials confirmed yesterday that infectious salmon
anaemia (ISA) has been found in wild Scottish salmon, trout and eels in
Previously, the virus has been confined to farmed fish, but its spread
threatens to decimate the wild population if it goes unchecked.
The ISA virus, which is not a threat to humans, has been detected in wild
fish from several lochs and rivers. It can be carried by other species
including rainbow trout and brown trout without developing the full-blown
Last night, environmental campaigners and fish farmers accused the salmon
farming industry and the government for failing to check the spread of the
disease, saying officials were playing "Russian roulette" with fish stocks.
If the virus continues to spread, the implications could be devastating for
Scotland's tourism industry. Angling is estimated to generate about GBP 400
million for the economy each year, a high proportion from salmon fishing.
Confirmation of the virus's spread came as John Home Robertson, the
fisheries minister, announced that it had been found in six more salmon
There are now 24 fish farms across the country which have been suspected of
harbouring the disease and 11 in which outbreaks have been confirmed.
Under European law, fish infected with the virus have to be destroyed. The
disease has cost the industry millions of pounds since it was first
18 months ago.
Mr Home Robertson said: "Of course, we will be carrying out our usual
investigations into the source of the infection on the new farms, but we are
urgently considering the implications of this new evidence that the virus is
present in wild fish."
Monitoring this summer has confirmed the ISA virus in several species in
locations around the country including sea trout in Laxo Voe, Shetland, and
River Snizort in Skye. Eels in Loch Uisg, Mull, were also found to be
Laboratory results indicate that the virus may also be present in brown
trout in the Rivers Conon and Easaidh in Sutherland. Atlantic salmon in
rivers and the Tweed also show signs of the infection as do rainbow trout in
freshwater farms in Aberdeenshire and in Kinross-shire.
Three of the new fish farms affected by ISA are in Shetland as well as the
first ever cases in the Western Isles - two in Loch Roag, and one in Orkney.
Andrew Wallace, the director of the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards,
accused the government and the fish farming industry of playing "Russian
roulette" with wild salmon stocks. He said: "This news confirms our worst
about diseases associated with salmon aquaculture and demonstrates, once
the risks attached to intensive production of salmon in a relatively
environment in which disease and parasites can be transferred easily from
farmed to wild fish."
Dr Richard Dixon, head of research at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:
"Scotland's fish farming industry is now on a knife edge. The government
told us that it had beaten ISA - it hasn't. They told us ISA would not
to wild fish - it has.
"ISA in wild fish is a disaster, with major potential implications for the
environment and the rural economy. This could be a final nail in the coffin
wild salmon and sea trout in Scotland."
The Scottish executive said it would be reviewing its monitoring and control
procedures but did not envisage a fundamental change in its policy, which is
try to kill of the disease by slaughtering millions of infected or suspected
Lord Lindsay, the chairman of the Scottish Salmon Growers Association, said:
"In order to safeguard the thousands of jobs that support fragile rural
economies in the Highlands and Islands and maintain investor confidence, the
Scottish executive must review, with utmost urgency, measures to manage the
outbreaks of the virus and financial assistance to help the industry recover
from the subsequent losses of unaffected stock."
Copyright 1999 Times Newspapers Limited
The Times (London)
November 5, 1999, Friday
SECTION: Home news
LENGTH: 252 words
HEADLINE: Deadly virus spreads to wild salmon
BYLINE: Shirley English
A DEADLY salmon virus, which in the past year has devastated the Scottish
salmon industry, has spread to wild fish for the first time, ministers
announced last night.
Evidence of the Infectious Salmon Anaemia virus, but not the full-blown
disease, has been detected by scientists in wild fish populations off
Skye and Mull and in freshwater lochs and rivers such as the Tweed.
In addition six new fish farms on Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles are
suspected to be infected with the so-called fish flu, taking the total
number of affected farms in Scotland up to 24. Four million young salmon
smolts have been destroyed and three quarters of the salmon farms in
placed in quarantine since the crisis began last year.
Yesterday Friends of the Earth Scotland said the discovery of the disease in
wild fish could be "the final nail in the coffin for wild salmon and sea
Richard Dixon, FoE's head of research, said: "Scotland's fish farming
industry is now on a knife edge. The Government told us it had beaten ISA.
hasn't. They told us it would not spread to wild fish. It has. ISA in wild
is a disaster, and the outbreak has now affected several wild species ."
The Scottish Executive announced an urgent review of current control
measures and said scientists were trying to detect the source of the new
outbreaks. John Home Robertson, Scotland's Deputy Rural Affairs Minister,
that there were no implications for human health.
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