The next segment of the film begins with a Dr. Gary Marty (D.V.M., Ph.D., Diplomate, A.C.V.P.) stating that he is confident Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) virus is not present in BC.
In some sort of strange camera-intimidation technique, the camera stares at Dr. Marty for 15 seconds after he makes his statement. No other interviewee in this documentary is given 15 seconds of awkward, dead air.
The film cuts to Ms. Morton responding to Dr. Marty, stating “I don’t understand how Dr. Marty has not found it (the virus)…I simply don’t understand that.” She then attacks Dr. Marty’s ethics – suggesting it is in his vested interest not to find the virus.
To the filmmakers’ credit, they do include some more information from Dr. Marty including his good explanation of how fish health works (for those not experienced in fish health). When you have no evidence of disease and no confirmed virus, the best interpretation is that there was “false positive test results,” he says.
This is indeed the case and these false positive were even confirmed in the required follow up tests that Ms. Morton requested – the results that the film does not share.
Next, Ms. Morton attempts to analyze raw data from lab reports commissioned by BC salmon farmers for routine fish health checks. She is not a fish pathologist or virologist, but seems to feel that she knows better than all other professionals trained in this area of expertise. As detailed in this blog time and time again, her omission of important details is frightening. Another example of her tendency to omit facts she doesn’t like is found at this point in the film when she reads a lab report and quotes:
“Sinuscidal congestion is one of the classic lesions associated with ISAV infections…”
She doesn’t bother reading the rest of the same sentence which continues
“…but ISAV has never been identified in British Columbia.”
The film now jumps back to concerns about “pre-spawn mortality” of wild salmon, which it touched on in the first five minutes. Ms. Morton states that there “is a lot of pre-spawn mortality.” This is a not-so-subtle attempt to link a non-existent disease in farm-raised salmon to “mysterious” death of wild salmon.
The continues by highlighting fish health concerns in wild salmon that have returned to rivers to spawn. It’s important to note that all salmon returning to rivers are very near death and their immune systems are very challenged – the naturally poor condition of returning adult salmon could shock a person who knows little about the lifecycle of a salmon. But as scientists have known for a century, and as First Nations have known for even longer, when wild salmon return to spawn they are dying. They are often very sick and in very rough shape. But they survive just long enough to lay billions of eggs so the next generation can live. It’s nature’s brute force solution to the problem of disease and predation in the ocean.
Film disproves itself
We now witness fish and tissue samples being described by Jody Erikkson – the film does not reveal his qualifications. Also not revealed is exactly where these fish and tissue samples were taken. But if you look closely, the labels on each fish state “Denny Island.” Denny Island is located on the Central Coast of BC – an area about 250 kms north of salmon farms near Vancouver Island. It’s extremely unlikely any of these fish passed salmon farms: there are only four salmon farms operating in the area near Denny Island, and they are at least 70 kms away and not on the migration route of Denny Island salmon.
Because these fish probably never came anywhere near a salmon farm, the samples being “analyzed” by Jody Erikkson are actually a great example of what naturally occurs in wild salmon. In fact, what the filmmakers have done without even realizing it is disprove their own hypothesis (that diseases from salmon farms are killing wild salmon). The Denny Island fish show that diseases and signs of illness in wild salmon are natural, and occur in places where there are salmon farms, and where there are no salmon farms.
More silly statements
- Pre-spawn mortality is not new, and not novel to BC as suggested in this film. It has been studied for decades, as this blog pointed out earlier, and affects fish in places where there are salmon farms and where there are no salmon farms. Scientists are investigating this phenomenon in California, Oregon, Washington, BC and Alaska. It is not novel to British Columbia as suggested in this film.
- At 42:50 Ms. Morton boldly states “DFO does not want to know what these fish died of.” Really? Isn’t that the exact reason why the Canadian government initiated the Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River, to find out what these fish died of? The government spent $26 million on this commission, showing that they are indeed interested.
- At 43:00 Ms. Morton says that if she could track “these viruses” anywhere she wanted, she would go straight to the salmon farms. She had apparently forgotten that just minutes earlier in the film, she was looking at the original lab reports that were “straight from the farms.” These lab reports confirmed no evidence of disease, and no ISA virus. But apparently, and according to Ms. Morton, only Ms. Morton is capable of taking samples, shipping samples, receiving lab reports and analyzing those reports the “right” way. Quite egotistical, to say the least – especially when she has already been found guilty of omitting lab results from the documentary when they don’t agree with her hypothesis.