B.C.'s Missing Salmon Mystery: Cohen Inquiry Hots Up

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Inquiry Ramps Up: Cohen Inquiry Ramps up after cross examination from Alex Morton's lawyer
by Alexis l Salmon Are Sacred
This week saw the Cohen Inquiry take on questions about unknown diseases, untested salmon farms and (perhaps blindly) blaming global warming instead of looking at what causes "early river entry" and therefore Pre-Spawn Mortality which could be killing up to 90% of certain stocks.
For the thousands of Canadians that have stood up for wild salmon in the pacific, March 8 was a victorious day that helped to shed light on some of the secret findings top scientists have made about sockeye health in the last decade.
Greg McDade of Ratcliff and Co. was questioning expert witness Dr Scott Hinch and things started really heating up. It had not been made clear until now that up to 90% of some late run stocks were dying because the river was too warm- but the river was too warm because they were entering it in mid summer instead of their usual time of September, when temps had considerably cooled.
McDade made that clarification in court on the 8th.
Sockeye early river entry happens because the fish have a virus, or in cetain terms a "purported virus" according to Hinch- they had a genomic signal which told scientists they had suppressed immune systems.
Dr Hinch had to agree the purported virus could be a " top reason" for early river entry which ultimately leads to our sockeye's demise. DFO scientists (Dr. Miller) published these findings in the journal of Science.
[For complete article features, please see source at Salmon are Sacred here.]

The DFO's lawyer seemed unaware as he questioned Hinch on climate change and over population affecting the fish.

According to Elena Edwards via Cohen Inquiry Notes:

"One thing that is being brought into play this time around is the disease data from the fish farms and the province. Small potatoes? I think not. One does not have to dig very deep to find an unending supply of information about the devastating impacts open net salmon farms have had on wild salmon stocks on a global scale. At virtually every public forum held from August through September of 2010  people spoke of their concerns about fish farms and the effect they have on wild salmon. Through much perseverance by Dr. Alexandra Morton and Stan Proboszcz, the release of disease records from 120 fish farms from 2000-2010 has been issued by the commission and will be thoroughly examined in the months to come.

The topic of fish farms is the can of worms that  has yet to be opened in the Cohen Commission, with the lid being quickly resealed when mention of them arises in the courtroom at this juncture. But make no bones about it, when that lid comes off there will be no putting it back on and some very fishy business will be put on the table! Dinner anyone?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

The Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River continues until 17th March (for spring break until 4th April).  Thursday 17th March sees Dr. Laura Richards, Regional Director, Science at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans take the witness stand. 

Hearings are open to the public and will be held at the Federal Court at 701 West Georgia Street, 8th floor, in Vancouver.  As topic and witness schedules are subject to change, media and the public are advised to consult the calendar on the commission's website.


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