Sockeye salmon virus

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. — A deadly fish virus detected in Washington state waters for the first time has forced a salmon fish farm to kill its entire stock.

Craig McCulloch / KPLU

Widespread concerns that Canadian officials are silencing scientists have not been assuaged by a detailed government response to the accusations. The battle over “muzzling” Canadian scientists has been broiling for months after it was revealed that a virus deadly to salmon might have been discovered in salmon returning to the Fraser River.

The January response crafted by the Canadian government and submitted to the Cohen Commission after three days of hearings in December absolved officials for not reporting “suspected detection” of Infectious Salmon Anemia, or ISA, in waters off the Pacific Northwest.

Craig McCulloch / KPLU

VANCOUVER, B.C. – A Canadian scientist testifying in front of a commission on the collapse of the Fraser River salmon fishery says that tests done as far back as 2002 did find indicators of the Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) virus in pacific salmon and that her lab had discovered evidence of the virus from fish gathered in 1986.

Dr Kristi Miller, Head of Molecular Genetics in Nanaimo for the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Ocean, testified in Vancouver, B.C., that Canada's food inspection agency was not happy with her doing the tests.  

She said there was a general feeling she should not be looking at viruses or diseases. She was fearful that all samples would be taken from her lab and was also very concerned that samples from her genomics program, also based in the lab, would be removed.

In British Columbia on Thursday, Canadian scientists will testify about the decline of salmon in the Fraser River. 

Even if you don’t like fish, advocates say you should still be concerned.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Flickr

Sen. Maria Cantwell is calling for stronger communication between American and Canadian officials following the disclosure that Canada failed to reveal the results of tests that appear to show the presence of a potentially deadly salmon virus nearly a decade before a salmon-virus scare this fall.

This is the second time that Canadian officials have been accused of muffling a scientist’s findings concerning viruses and salmon.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / Flickr

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell is calling on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to independently confirm the presence of a deadly virus found in two Pacific salmon in British Columbia.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / flickr

Alarm over a potentially deadly salmon virus has reached the halls of Congress. The U.S. Senate has approved an amendment that calls for a rapid federal response. Last week, scientists in British Columbia announced they've found the fish-killing virus in wild Pacific Salmon for the first time.

It's the second virus suspected in salmon deaths to be discovered this year.

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Federal fisheries scientists plan to survey Pacific Northwest and Alaskan waters to determine if a harmful European fish virus has spread here.

And now, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and two senators from Alaska are calling for an investigation into the spread of the virus striking Canadian salmon.