Transcript: August 22, 2011 Hearing Transcript

Technical Reports 1: Infectious Diseases and Potential Impacts on Survival of Fraser River Sockeye Salmon and 1A: Assessment of the potential effects of diseases present in salmonid enhancement facilities on Fraser River sockeye salmon were entered into evidence (see evidentiary documents) and cross-examination of the witnesses was conducted by the Commission Counsel, the Crown and the Province of British Columbia. The Province’s questioning will continue on the morning of August 23rd.

Report 1 stated that the “pathogens considered to be potential “High Risk” to Fraser River sockeye salmon are: the IHN virus, three bacteria (Vibrio anguillarum, Aeromonas salmonicidaRenibacterium salmoninarum), and two parasites (Ich – Ichthyophtheirus multifillis and the myxozoan Parvicapsula minibicornis).”

Witnesses discussed the challenges in determining the impact of disease on wild salmon.

From Report 1 ” . . . we cannot conclude that a specific pathogen is the major cause of demise to the Fraser River sockeye salmon. However, pathogens cannot be excluded at this time as adequate research on the impacts of disease on this population has not been conducted.”

From Report 1A “We could not determine if diseases present in salmon enhancement facilities present potential for serious or irreversible harms to Fraser River sockeye salmon. Limitations in scientific understanding, lack of ongoing surveillance of wild and cultured fishes, and deficits in data provided to us were the primary reasons for our inability to make specific cause-effect conclusions and to qualitatively or quantitatively assess risk.”


  • Dr. Stewart Johnson (Head, Aquatic Animal Health, DFO)
  • Dr. Michael Kent (Professor, Microbiology & Biomedical Sciences, Oregon State University)
  • Dr. Christine MacWilliams (Fish Health Veterinarian – Salmonid Enhancement Program, DFO)
  • Dr. Craig Stephen (Director, Centre for Coastal Health & Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary)


Note: The schedule of witnesses has been updated. The August 24th witnesses Dr. Kyle Garver (Research Scientist, DFO) and Dr. Kristi Miller (Head, Molecular Genetics, DFO) will also be on the stand for the morning of August 25th. Click here for the latest schedule of witnesses.

See the evidentiary documents page for a listing of key exhibits discussed at the hearings.

News Coverage resulting from the August 22nd Cohen hearings:

  • The Canadian Press; August 22, 2011; “It’s unclear whether diseases are killing Fraser River sockeye, inquiry told”
  • Vancouver Sun; August 22, 2011; “No ‘smoking gun’ to explain vanishing of millions of sockeye salmon: expert”
  • Globe and Mail; August 22, 2011; “Use closed containment for fish farms, ex-Canuck tells Cohen Inquiry.”
  • Click here for a bundling of news stories related to the new sea lice study published on August 22nd in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.