Provincial vet should guard public interest

Re: “Salmon-farm diseases were quickly reported,” letter, May 7.

I shook my head in disbelief as I read the letter from provincial fish pathologist Dr. Gary Marty explaining why he requested permission from salmon farm veterinarians before releasing information regarding diseased farm salmon.

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His explanation was that like medical doctors and lawyers, his professional code of ethics requires him to seek permission before releasing confidential medical information obtained from the salmon-farming corporations. It’s more than a stretch to compare information about diseases of salmon farmed commercially in publicly owned waters to the confidential information collected by medical doctors and lawyers in private practice.

The responsibility of a provincial veterinarian should be to protect the public interest, which in this case is the welfare of the marine ecosystem, including wild salmon. Not only should veterinarians employed by commercial salmon farms be required to turn any information about threats to wild salmon over to government authorities, government officials should be monitoring them closely to see that they do so.

Harvey Williams

Victoria

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