Submitter: Priscilla Judd
Date Submitted: September 8, 2011
When asked about pre-spawning mortality of sockeye in the Shushwap, DFO’s Regional Director of Science wouldn’t say if the fish had been tested for IHNV coming from fish farms. Copies of correspondence with DFO are included.
In the fall of 2010, I asked Alex Morton about the salmon in the Shuswap because so many of them died with their eggs still inside them and some people said that DFO did not reply to e-mails.
Alex Morton kindly sent our information to Dr Laura Richards.
Dr Laura Richards kindly provided information on pre-spawn mortality. She said that DFO took samples of salmon (in 2010) for testing and that those tests would completed by the spring 2011.
In July I asked Dr.Richards for the results of tests samples and I received her reply. (email posted below).
Dr.Richards provided possible reasons for pre-spawn mortality - there was no mention that Fish Farms carry disease or the symptoms of disease or that wild salmon swim under the farms and may be exposed to disease causing pre-spawn mortality.
I was really disturbed by this particular statement:
"It is possible that IHNV could play a role in pre-spawning mortality although this has not been documented."
So I asked: "Have you tested our salmon? and is the virus present or not? or Are you NOT testing for it and that's why it's not documented? My e-mail is attached as a submission
I believe it was an error in communication (likely my error) but Dr.Richards, doesn't mention the Shuswap samples so I still have not seen the results of the samples that were being tested in regards to Pre-spawn mortality in the Shuswap salmon.
Subject: RE: pre-spawn mortality Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2011 11:13:30 -0700
From: Richards, Laura Add to Contacts
Cc: Johnson, Stewart
Dear Ms. Judd
I would like to respond to your e-mail dated July 27, 2011, in which you requested information on pre-spawning mortality in Shuswap sockeye salmon. Pre-spawning mortality is the situation where individuals that successfully reach their spawning ground die prior to spawning. Pre-spawning mortality can be influenced by many factors including unsuitable environmental conditions such as high water temperature and the presence of naturally occurring pathogens such as the myxozoan parasite Parvicapsula minibicornis. With respect to infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) this virus is consistently present in sockeye salmon populations in the Fraser River, as well as other areas of the Pacific Northwest. This virus affects all life-history stages of sockeye salmon with the adults being most resistant to the development of IHN disease. It is possible that IHNV could play a role in pre-spawning mortality although this has not been documented. This could be especially the case if the fish were also subjected to other stressful conditions on the spawning grounds. Examination of salmon on the spawning grounds, including fish which die prior to spawning, results in the identification of numerous types of naturally occurring pathogens and other problems associated with their advance stage of maturity. If you have additional questions, I suggest that you contact Dr. Stewart Johnson who is the Section Head for Aquatic Animal Health (; ).
With respect to your inquiry about the 2010 samples, I assume that you are referring to our health assessment program of juvenile sockeye salmon from the Strait of Georgia. Dr. Johnson is leading the program and will be able to update you.
Thank you for writing me with your concerns.
Dr. Laura Richards
Regional Director Science
I have attached my reply which I also cc'd to the Cohen Commission but with another error I didn't copy the Commission's full e-mail address. My apologies.