Transcript: August 26, 2011 Hearing Transcript

Today, there were important developments regarding fish health records and whether they will be made public or not.
Despite the public nature of the Cohen Inquiry, the Province of British Columbia continued its objection that farmed fish health audits be made public as a Cohen Inquiry exhibit. These records, which are considered essential in determining if there was disease found in open net-pen farms, will be “non-public” until objections from the Province can be processed.
The BC Salmon Farmers Association had no objection to their fish health databases being made a public exhibit.

The questioning of the Aquaculture witnesses included discussion about:

  • The Province’s objection to fish farm health data being made public being that it would cause a “chilling effect” by impeding volunteer disclosure of disease information from agricultural farmers and, that the disclosure of the data would not allow provincially-employed fish pathologist Dr. Gary Marty to publish a science paper based on these data.
  • Dr. Noakes disagreeing with Dr. Connors that production levels on salmon farms is significant due to the abundance of hosts being a fundamental part of pathogen transmission to wild salmon.
  • Dr. Noakes disagreeing with Dr. Dill that disease need not manifest in farmed fish if a pathogen were present. Dr. Dill stated that disease may not manifest in farmed fish as susceptibility to the pathogen may be different for farmed fish and wild fish and that the farmed fish may be avirulent for a disease.
  • Dr. Noakes disagreeing with Dr. Dill that sea lice strongly impact pink salmon in the Broughton.
  • Dr. Noakes disagreeing with Drs. Dill and Connors that there is a “likely to possible” correlation between the number of pink salmon with which the Fraser River sockeye interact and the survivorship of Fraser River sockeye.
  • Discussion about the difference in the literature and statistical limits of proof used in Dill Report and the Noakes Report.
  • Dr. Dill disagreeing with Dr. Noakes that sea lice were common on juvenile salmon (of the size of juvenile pink salmon parasitized in the Broughton Archipelago) prior to open net-pen salmon farms; that, before fish farms, they would not usually acquire lice prior to moving offshore and encountering adult wild salmon.
  • The difference in findings between two recent sea lice studies – Marty et al (“Relationship of farm salmon, sea lice, and wild salmon populations”) and Krkošek et al (“Effects of parasites from salmon farms on productivity of wild salmon”).
  • The relationship between sea lice on pink salmon and open net-pen fish farms being confirmed by the Marty et al paper.
  • Dr. Gary Marty’s statements in BCSFA fish health records that refer to “ISA-like symptoms”.
  • Whether Dr. Dick Beamish’s July 2011, non-published paper “Assessing the impacts of salmon farming on Pacific salmon at the population level in British Columbia” should be marked as an exhibit for the Inquiry. Objections included that the paper is not peer-reviewed and was produced for the BC Salmon Farmers Association for presentation at the Commission after Dr. Beamish’s testimony.

Witnesses – Aquaculture:

  • Dr. Brendan Connors – School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon
  • Fraser University
  • Dr. Larry Dill – Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University
  • Dr. Josh Korman – Ecometric Research Inc.
  • Dr. Don Noakes – Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Thompson Rivers
  • University


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

News Coverage resulting from August 26th Cohen hearings: List is updated as additional media is published:

  • Vancouver Sun; August 26, 2011; “B.C. wants to keep audit data on salmon out of public eye”