Biologist: Pacific herring in Canada bleeding from eyeballs, faces, fins, tails — I’ve never seen fish looking this bad — All 100 examined were bloody — Officials informed of hemorrhaging soon after 3/11 — Gov’t ignoring problem (PHOTO). Unprecedented: Sockeye salmon at dire historic low on Canada’s Pacific coast — “We think something happened in the ocean” — “The elders have never seen anything like this at all”


Published: August 19th, 2013 at 12:29 pm ET
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The Globe and Mail, Aug 13, 2013 (Emphasis Added): Independent fisheries scientist Alexandra Morton is raising concerns about a disease she says is spreading through Pacific herring causing fish to hemorrhage. [...] “Two days ago I did a beach seine on Malcolm Island [near Port McNeill on northern Vancouver Island] and I got approximately 100 of these little herring and they were not only bleeding from their fins, but their bellies, their chins, their eyeballs.  [...] “It was 100 per cent … I couldn’t find any that weren’t bleeding to some degree. And they were schooling with young sockeye [salmon]

SOURCE: Alexandra Morton via Vancouver 24 hrs

Sun News, Aug 12, 2013: [Morton] dragged up several hundred of the fish this past weekend and found the apparent infection had spread – instead of their usual silver colour the fish had eyes, tails, underbellies, gills and faces plastered with the sickly red colour. “I have never seen fish that looked this bad,” [...] In June, the affected fish were only found in eastern Johnstone Strait, but have since spread to Alert Bay and Sointula, she said.

Canada.com, Aug 16, 2013: Morton [...] pulled up a net of about 100 herring near Sointula and found they were all bleeding. “It was pretty shocking to see,” said Morton [...] Herring school with small sockeye salmon and are also eaten by chinook and coho.

Cover of Vancouver 24 hrs (SOURCE: Alexandra Morton)

‘Response’ from Canadian Government

Vancouver 24 hrs, Aug 11, 2013: [Morton] says Fisheries and Oceans Canada [FOC] is ignoring the problem. [...] According to emails from FOC, the federal authority had asked the marine biologist to send in 20 to 30 herring in September 2011, saying that would be “more than sufficient for the lab to look for clinical signs of disease and provide sufficient diagnostics.” She did, and hasn’t heard back since. [...] FOC officials did not respond to a request for comment by the 24 hours presstime.

Canada.com, Aug 16, 2013: Fisheries and Oceans Canada is trying to confirm reports from an independent biologist that herring around northern Vancouver Island have a disease that is causing bleeding from their gills, bellies and eyeballs. [...] Arlene Tompkins of DFO’s [Department of Fisheries and Oceans'] salmon assessment section said staff in the Port Hardy area have not found bleeding herring. “We are trying to retrieve samples, but [Monday] we were not successful because of heavy fog,” she said. “We haven’t had any other reports of fish kills or die-offs [see salmon report below].” Tompkins has seen photographs provided by Morton [...]

From earlier today: Unprecedented: Sockeye salmon at dire historic low on Canada’s Pacific coast — “We think something happened in the ocean” — “The elders have never seen anything like this at all” — Alaska and Russia also affected (MAP)

UPDATE: Canadian official publicly claims ‘no concern’ over new Fukushima leak info… Yet privately requested tests on salmon, due to “great public concern about potential radiation contamination in these fish”

Unprecedented: Sockeye salmon at dire historic low on Canada’s Pacific coast — “We think something happened in the ocean” — “The elders have never seen anything like this at all” — Alaska and Russia also affected (MAP)

Aboriginal people in British Columbia who rely on Skeena River sockeye are facing some extremely difficult decisions as sockeye salmon returns plunge to historic lows.

Lake Babine Chief Wilf Adam was on his way to Smithers, B.C., on Monday for a discussion about whether to entirely shut down the food fishery on Lake Babine, something he said would be drastic and unprecedented [...]

Last month, the department noted returns for the Skeena River sockeye run were dire. [...]

[Mel Kotyk, North Coast area director for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans] said department scientists don’t know why the return numbers are so low. “[...] we think something happened in the ocean.”

“[...] We’ve never seen anything like this in all these years I’ve done this. I’ve asked the elders and they have never seen anything like this at all.” [said Chief Wilf Adam]

More: “The sockeye runs way up north in the Skeena are low. The [fish] out of Bristol Bay, Alaska is down 30 to 35 per cent over last year. Russia has got a limited number of fish in the market. They are down about 40 per cent over all their salmon fisheries.”

Gundersen: We are going to see top of the food chain animals like tuna and salmon and things like that that bioaccumulate [...] I am concerned that the FDA is not monitoring fish entering the United States [...] I am thinking by 2013 we might see contamination of the water and of the top of the food chain fishes on the West Coast.

Gundersen: Federal and state agencies are not measuring this… I’ve been working on the West Coast and I’ve been trying to get the people of Oregon to demand of their state, the people of Alaska to demand of their state: Check the salmon, it is not difficult.

See also: Marine biologist in Canada: Salmon species needs to be tested for radiation — Gov’t doesn’t want us to know

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