Government ISAv initial test inconclusive, extended sampling of both wild and farmed fish required urgently

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Province of BC held a joint media conference today (Nov 8th) to announce the results of further testing for ISA on samples taken in Rivers Inlet and a tributary of the Fraser River.

Dr. Con Kiley, Director of National Aquatic Animal Health with CFIA began by announcing all tests are negative.

However, within minutes the doctor was clarifying that conclusion. The findings, generated by the DFO lab in Moncton “must be considered inconclusive” because of the poor quality of the samples he stated.

Peter King, of DFO’s Moncton laboratory, stressed that they received the samples in either a partially degraded or totally degraded state. Given that, he noted “That’s why we call things inconclusive – because the degradation is so bad you can’t form an opinion….”

Based on the initial findings by Dr. Fred Kibenge, who is an expert in the field of ISAv detection, and one test run confirming a positive finding by Dr. Are Nylund of the University of Bergen, Norway, there are still strong indications that ISAv may be present in the North Pacific. The fact that further testing of the degraded samples could not confirm the initial results does not negate those results.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Our elected officials and staff at both CFIA and DFO need to expand the sampling efforts of both wild and farmed fish and do so urgently.