Custom Search
Top Stories
Go to Site Index See "Top Stories" main page
Morton holding up a Harrison White Spring with the ISA virus
NEWS RELEASE · 3rd November 2011
Alexandra Morton
The New York Times Click here to read this did what I was not allowed to do - tell you there has been a second diagnosis of Infectious Salmon Anemia virus in wild BC salmon, this time in the Fraser River itself, the biggest wild salmon river in the world. The fish the New York Times is talking about is one that a small group of us picked up, sampled and sent to the world reference lab for the ISA virus. It was a beautiful coho salmon, in first blush of spawning colours. The salmon had navigated the river as a tiny fry, entered the sea as a fat and sassy little smolt eating everything in sight. It traveled north and west in search of the saltiness of the ocean and in doing so passed millions of European salmon in pens. Whether it got infected then or on the way home carrying the richness of a life at sea, her body shut down infected with a virus her ancestors never had a chance to prepare her for. We found her drifting dead downstream passing Harrison Mills. We scooped her up took a sliver of her heart and gills and sent them to one of the world authorities on ISA virus.

We did this because we want to know how widespread the European ISA virus is in BC waters and I don't see anyone else out there trying to map the damage. The lab never reported back to me, muzzled I suspect, but the information got out. We now have two diagnoses, 600 km apart, in two different species, of two different generations.

I don't know how no one saw this coming. We are the buffalo racing for the cliff, even as we watch videos of buffalo falling off cliffs. EVERY COUNTRY WITH SALMON FARMS has taken this path. I am so exhausted with trying to explain this to Ministers, bureaucrats, streamkeepers, environmentalists, fishermen. People just don't want to believe it. It is easier to write me off than deal with this.

Look, it is simple. Salmon farms break the natural laws and viruses, bacteria and parasites are the beneficiaries of this behaviour. If you move diseases across the world and brew them among local pathogens, in an environment where predators are not allowed to remove the sick - you get pestilence. There is no other outcome.

The reason I can see this, and where we are headed is not because I am particularly bright, it is because I have taken great care not to allow myself to become dependent on anyone's money. I am not climbing any social ladder. I don't want to be a politician, academic, or CEO of a "save the environment" company. I just want to be able to live between Kingcome and Knight Inlet and not watch it die.

Read the rest and all of Alexandra Mortons writings by clicking here.