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Editor 03-11-2013 08:59 AM

Largest study of salmon health ever undertaken set to begin in B.C.
 
Source: The Globe and Mail

by Mark Hume

For years Kristi Miller has been probing the complex and controversial world of fish diseases on the West Coast, where scientists are trying to unravel the mystery of why millions of apparently healthy salmon die annually.

Now Dr. Miller, the groundbreaking head of molecular genetics for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Brian Riddell, a former top scientist with DFO who directs the non-profit Pacific Salmon Foundation, are teaming up with Genome B.C. in the most comprehensive study of salmon health ever undertaken in the world.

“This is going to be the first really large-scale effort to look at the health of all salmon,” Dr. Riddell said. “It’s exciting. It’s incredibly exciting.”

Dr. Miller, whose cutting-edge genomic research has largely been kept under wraps by the government, testified at the Cohen Commission inquiry into the collapse of Fraser River sockeye stocks in 2011. But she was not allowed to talk to the media at the time.

In her first interview since then, she said the research project will rely on new technologies designed at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

“There is … technology that I have been developing for the past year … that has the capacity to run about 45 microbes across 96 individual [fish samples] at a time, so one can quite rapidly generate a lot of information from a platform,” she said. “And that’s our goal at the moment – to assess 45 microbes that are known or suspected to cause disease in salmon worldwide.”

Dr. Miller made a startling find a few years ago when she detected a genomic signature in salmon that died in rivers before they had a chance to spawn. Her research caused a big splash in the U.S. journal Science, because it suggested a virus was causing those pre-spawn mortalities. But she was not cleared by DFO to talk about her work. Her silencing was one of the key events that led to complaints against the federal government for “muzzling” scientists.

But Dr. Miller got approval from Ottawa to talk this week about her new research, which she says will build on her earlier work.

Continue reading the full article...

klunker 03-11-2013 10:09 AM

Re: Largest study of salmon health ever undertaken set to begin in B.C.
 
"Dr. Miller made a startling find a few years ago when she detected a genomic signature in salmon that died in rivers before they had a chance to spawn. Her research caused a big splash in the U.S. journal Science, because it suggested a virus was causing those pre-spawn mortalities. But she was not cleared by DFO to talk about her work. Her silencing was one of the key events that led to complaints against the federal government for “muzzling” scientists."

This shows again that the biggest roadblock to fixing any problem is the Government. Canada or U.S. Gov. or anyone's. It does not matter who. I hope there is no obstruction or coercion from Gov. officials while she is doing her work and the truth will be allowed to see the light of day.

jsquires 03-11-2013 10:45 AM

Re: Largest study of salmon health ever undertaken set to begin in B.C.
 
Well, I'm looking forward to learning the results of this study - could be very interesting. I hope we are deemed worthy of learning the results this time around.

littledavid123 03-11-2013 01:33 PM

Re: Largest study of salmon health ever undertaken set to begin in B.C.
 
Thanks Paul for the post, it would be great news if able to bring the salmon population back.

Jsquires: I would dare guess the government leaders must first figure out how to personally profit from the research before going public.

Dave

jsquires 03-11-2013 01:35 PM

Re: Largest study of salmon health ever undertaken set to begin in B.C.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by littledavid123 (Post 535621)
Thanks Paul for the post, it would be great news if able to bring the salmon population back.

Jsquires: I would dare guess the government leaders must first figure out how to personally profit from the research before going public.

Dave

Or they're already profitting and don't want the results to interfere with said profits.

c_cap 04-02-2013 07:50 PM

Re: Largest study of salmon health ever undertaken set to begin in B.C.
 
Sadly, this extraordinary film epitomizes the current state of affairs not only in salmon in Canada but what is happening around the world


Guest1 04-02-2013 08:05 PM

Re: Largest study of salmon health ever undertaken set to begin in B.C.
 
Unfortunately, there is a good deal of “muzzling” that is done by the scientific community itself. If you try to publish the 'wrong' things anymore, you can be blackballed, and have about as much chance of getting grant money or for that matter, a job, in the future becomes about as likely as hitting the powerball jackpot. Actually less. People do hit that.


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