Submission 1166-RUSSELL

Submitter: Mary Russell

Community: Port Hardy

Date Submitted: December 20, 2023

DFO is incorrigible, because it has known ISA is here and done nothing but cover and deny. The Commissioner should come down with firm hand to assure that DFO will not be able to carry on as before.

We are grateful that you have re-convened your Inquiry to address the emerging crisis of ISAv in our waters. And we are encouraged and grateful too, for DFO’s courageous scientists who have come forward to expose at great peril, what we have feared for so long—that DFO is incorrigable, for it has known ISA is here and done nothing but cover and deny, to the degree it is perhaps the greatest threat our wild salmon face. In fact I believe DFO has become an inter-continental threat to food security and the survival of the great gifts of nature we enjoy, and as such, is guilty of the indictable crime of betrayal of its sworn first mandate–to protect to conserve the wild resource.

Our wild salmon and wild fisheries and the golden stream of life they uphold, belong to the people of Canada and to the world and our children. DF0 has no right to call the shots on whether they live or die, in its indifference to and protection of new and deadly disease and viruses in the farms. Is it not a case of dereliction of duty, to declare with arrogance that BC is free of ISA when it is all over the place, and do nothing about it? Seven years ago it found 100% of 64 sockeye samples from Cultus Lake, an indangered run, tested ISA positive, and did nothing, and to this day has failed to declare this most reportable disease to the worldwide authorities, as is not international law? DFO and the industry have shown in their state of denial and secrecy that both are well aware of the destructiveness of what they are doing.

Wherefore, I hope and pray that you will come down with firm hand to assure that DFO will not be able to carry on as before, and I hope and that you will rule that DFO has no right to assume itself to be the last word on the truth as to samples being ISA positive or negative. I suggest the the two OIE labs in Norway and PEI be the final judge, and that independent collection of samples under strict but elemental protocols of santitation and disinfection protocols be allowed, and these to be sent also the the OIE lab in PEI or Norway. For the coming years it should be a must to have a transit lab on Vancouver Island where samples can be stored or testing done by again, those with no ties to industry or government agendas.

I further think it absolutely critical that all the farms, all hatcheries, both Industry and Enhancement, be tested for ISA, and our rivers, and our lakes where sockeye salmon hold and grow before heading to sea, and which feed the rivers our wild salmon come home to be tested as well, and that this be done by people who can be trusted and are not under the thumb or thrall of government and the industry. I think it would be fair that funding DFO spends on PR for the farms be directed into funding the above endeavors.

I further suggest Federal funding be directed to investiagting our fishbearing rivers on Vancouver Island and the Mainland for the presence and breeding status of escaped Atlantics that one study about 10 years ago found were breeding with successful offspring in three named Vancouver Island rivers, and these have full potential to displace, outcompete for food, prey on, or afflict with deadly disease our native wild runs.

I close in hoping you will be the fulcrum that turns this nightmare around for our wild salmon and those fighting for their sustianability and a future worth having.

Respectfully yours,
Mary Russell

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