Cermaq's Crisis in Canada!

A letter was sent today (24 May) to Cermaq's CEO Jon Hindar regarding the non-disclosure of disease data - read online here!

The Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) also filed a formal complaint with the Oslo Stock Exchange (Børs). GAAIA’s complaint provides evidence of non-disclosure in Canada relating to:
 
1) Cermaq’s refusal to publish disease data
2) Damning disease data released via the Cohen Commission
3) Cermaq’s refusal to allow Government inspectors onto sites
4) Lack of transparency on risks of Infectious Salmon Anaemia
5) Breach of bio-security relating to Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis

Read in full via 'Damning Evidence of Non-Disclosure of Disease Data'

The latest news from British Columbia certainly does not inspire confidence in Cermaq’s bio-security procedures.  Indeed, Cermaq could well be in deep water with the authorities for failing to properly inform the public, First Nations and the relevant authorities.

The Ha-Shilth-Sa newspaper reported yesterday (23 May) that "local First Nations were not notified of the plan according to Tseshaht Councillor Les Sam.”  "Apparently there is an offloading plan that sanitizes the boats after they are done. The fish are put into pumper trucks and taken to a composting facility,” Sam said.
 
“But I’m still not satisfied. We weren’t informed or consulted, and we don’t like the fact that is being brought to Port Alberni. We thought it was a bad place to unload, and it shouldn’t be here."
 
Mainstream spokeswoman Laurie Jensen admitted her company failed to contact the full range of stakeholders in its haste to deal with what threatened to become a crisis situation.


 
“We erred. We were so focused so much on biosecurity, on safety, and on making sure the site was de-populated in a proper manner–and trying to keep people from breaking the quarantine,” Jensen said, adding that activists endangered the process at both the off-load and the composting site.
 
“Unfortunately, our focus got changed, and we missed a whole group of stakeholders. Not just Tseshaht First Nation, we missed others. We missed the mayor [John Douglas], other First Nations–we even missed some of our colleagues,” Jensen said. “I apologize to the First Nations. We had put our [media] releases out, but there were gaps.”
 
On Tuesday, Tseshaht fisheries manager Andy Olsen said Mainstream Canada could have eased First Nations’ fears by making samples of the fish available for independent scientific testing.
 
“We had some discussions with Mainstream Canada, through Mike Peterson, the local rep,” Olsen said. “I asked him for a fish to sample and he said ‘Absolutely not–no way could we get a fish to sample.’”
 
Sam said his concern was the possibility that the vessels may have leaked a blood trail all the way up Alberni Inlet.  “When we’re fishing in the river and we rinse out our totes, you can see the [salmon] fry feeding on the blood. It attracts all kids of sea life,” he said. Any contaminated blood would move directly into the food chain, and that would endanger wild salmon stocks, Sam said.
 
Read more via ‘Mainstream apologizes for failing to inform local First Nations about fish disposal

Watch a video of Mainstream Canada’s Dave Pedersen man-handling a videographer and putting up bio-security tape after IHN-infected farmed salmon had started to be transferred from the boat to the disposal truck at a public dock in Port Alberni – online here


 

“At 8 am trucks started coming alongside the boat, pumping out the dead Atlantic salmon infected with a disease the company is saying is IHN,” said Alexandra Morton reporting from the scene via her blog 922 May).  “There was no containment around the boat, so if a pipe connection fails all the young salmon coming out of the rivers right now will be bathed in the virus.” 

Watch video footage – online here


 

“The Mainstream crew were hostile,” continued Morton.  “However, after I told them several times that blood water was dripping from the hoses as the trucks pulled away, they used the caps and sealed them.”   

“We followed the trucks and found they were dumping them nearby at the Earth, Land and Sea "organic" composting plant. Perhaps there is containment that is not visible in this picture to prevent it from flowing into the inlet, or being carried by the birds.”
 


 “We alerted the local First Nation fishery biologist,” continued Morton.  “Les Sam, the ex-chief and a councilman requested some of these fish for testing, to find out exactly what virus is in these fish and thus have the capability to track it in their fish. They had not been notified that their territory was being used to dump diseased Atlantic salmon. The mayor also showed up, apparently he had not been contacted by Mainstream either.”

“We are headed for Dark Ages of pestilence and war lords. If this corporate dream legislation passes you won't be hearing from me anymore. Mainstream, Marine Harvest and Grieg, the three Norwegian operators in BC will have won. They can have massive epidemics of mutating viruses and you won't be allowed to know that you are consuming a side order of viruses in every bite.  I am in shock. We could try using democracy to stop this, but far far more people would have to engage than is typical.  As I write this the Ocean King Mort Packer is on her way for another helping of diseased farm salmon. Are we dammed to hell?”
 

Watch video online here

Read more online via ‘IHN infected farm salmon transported through Alberni Inlet - one of the last farm-free migration routes left

 
Anissa Reed and Alexandra Morton of Salmon Are Sacred were accused by Mainstream Canada of having “harassed” employees and for choosing “to ignore bio-security protocols.”  CTV News reported (22 May) Laurie Jensen, Cermaq's PR flak in Canada, claiming that activists of violated quarantine rules and were “spreading the disease themselves.”

Watch the CTV News report online here

Yet it appears clear that it was Mainstream which was guilty of breaching bio-security and failing to notify the public, First Nations or the police.  As Anissa Reed wrote on Facebook:

Mainstream Canada also accused (18 May) a videographer of “violating bio-security” when he filmed at the IHN-infected site in Clayoquot Sound.  However, as was pointed out on Facebook:

The suggestion that Cermaq is guilty of failing to follow proper bio-security procedures was backed up by another posting on Facebook:
 

CTV News last night (23 May) broadcast another report on Cermaq’s breach of bio-security.  “Reed says there were no signs indicating there was a quarantine at the government dock where the salmon were being offloaded,” reported CTV News.   “What’s happening to this virus?” asked Anissa Reed.  “The public deserves transparency here.”

Watch CTV News online here

"If Cermaq is found guilty of breaching bio-security during this latest IHN outbreak the financial fall-out alone could be significant (even more so if ISA and/or other infectious diseases are officially reported at Cermaq’s Canadian operations)," concluded the letter from GAAIA to Cermaq.  "Hence the need to be more transparent in disease reporting to investors, shareholders, First Nations, the public and the Oslo Stock Exchange."

Read in full online here!