Simon Fraser University must address issues of science, ethics

May 4, 2012

Letter to editor as published in the Nanaimo Daily News.


It seems as though Simon Fraser University keeps making the same mistakes.

In October, it issued a press release stating one of its faculty members had found a new fish virus in B.C. salmon. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency soon found that claim to be false. SFU responded by blaming the lab that tested the fish.

Now, just last week, SFU released a statement inviting media to speak with the same faculty “expert” about another suspected fish disease. The “expert” is a statistician, not a veterinarian or fish pathologist, and not involved in this particular research.

The “expert” claimed that a new disease had been found in B.C. salmon, but the actual lab report – initially unavailable to the public but since posted by other sources – clearly states that no such disease was found.

In October, I called this “shoddy science.” Today, I refer to it as “shoddy ethics” and is something that I would expect this educational institution to address.

Ian Roberts

Marine Harvest Canada

Campbell River