Since SFU researchers found positive results for ISA in 2 out of 48 BC wild salmon smolts a few weeks ago, the press has gone wild over the subject. Newspapers, not only in Canada, but also in the States and Europe, have been making it known that one of the most serious and devastating Atlantic salmon viruses has been detected in BC’s wild salmon. In the past, the virus has managed to wipe out massive numbers of farmed Atlantic fish in Chilean salmon farms and Norwegian salmon farms, among others. Upon learning about the infected salmon in BC, people have become fearful of another outbreak, and rightfully so, given the virus’ history.
But now, three weeks after the positive results were made public, today’s Vancouver Sun article is telling us that,
“There are no confirmed cases of ISA in wild or farm salmon in B.C.,” said Con Kiley, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s national aquatic animal health program director.
“There’s no evidence that it occurs in fish off the [coast] of B.C.”
Apparently, the DFO (Department of Fisheries) and the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) are arguing, after testing the original salmon smolts again, that the original samples were of poor quality. No positive results could be determined from these deteriorated samples, and as such they are claiming there is not enough evidence of ISA in BC fish to announce a presence of the virus. [Read full article].
What is not clear to me, despite the necessity for more information and testing, is the results of the first tests from SFU? Are they considered invalid? Since the original test samples are now in such poor shape, can the recent results be definitive? Is Con Kiley jumping the gun?