A farmed Atlantic salmon, one of several caught off of French Creek within the past several days, has been frozen and will be delivered to Fisheries and Oceans Canada for examination. (J.R. Rardon photo)

Virus found in farmed salmon linked to disease in B.C. chinook

New research by Pacific Salmon Foundation shows a strain of the virus may be affecting wild salmon

New research has shown that a virus known to cause disease in farmed Atlantic and Pacific salmon may cause a related disease in wild B.C. chinook salmon.

The results of a study by the Pacific Salmon Foundation show strong evidence that wild chinook is at risk of being exposed to high levels picscine orthoreovirus (PRV), a virus causing heart and skeletal muscle inflammation disease (HSMI) in farmed Atlantic salmon.

“These findings add to the existing concerns about the potential impacts of open net salmon farming on wild Pacific salmon off the coast of B.C.,” said Dr. Brian Riddell, president and CEO of the Pacific Salmon Foundation, in a press release.

Decline in wild salmon stocks on the West Coast of Canada has lead to commercial and recreational fishing closures. On May 8, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans closed fishing to recreational anglers on the Skeena and Nass rivers on the North Coast. More restrictions or possible closures are expected to be announced in June for the commercial industry, and for First Nations food, ceremonial and social fishing.

READ MORE: Salmon closures a devastating blow to North Coast business

The Pacific Salmon Foundation estimates a high prevalence of PRV — up to 75 per cent — in net pen salmon. Some strains of the virus have been associated with jaundice-related diseases in Pacific salmon, but for the first time new research shows the PRV strain that causes HSMI has been found in B.C. wild salmon. The study found this particular strain of PRV was related to the development of jaundice and anemia in chinook salmon.

“This research confirms our worries that migrating juvenile wild Pacific salmon are vulnerable to diseases transmitted from open net-pen fish farms. Disease transmission could be the additional stressor that tips the scales for some wild salmon populations,” said Jay Ritchlin, David Suzuki Foundation director-general for B.C. and Western Canada.

READ MORE: DFO contemplating sweeping North Coast salmon fishery closure



shannon.lough@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Viral video shows Sooke resident calling out illegal crab fishers

The video shows a man and woman with 12 undersized crabs in Sooke

Marijuana-related business requires rezoning in Oak Bay

Council plans to add cannabis laws to priorities list

Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

If green-lighted, first priority would be Langford to Victoria route

Esquimalt senior’s complex getting redeveloped

The Esquimalt Lions Lodge is one of the projects to receive funding for affordable housing

Firefighters rescue horse stuck in Saanich mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Dog psychic can help Vancouver Islanders better connect with their pets

Michele Wonnacott hosts one-day seminar in Nanaimo on Saturday, Nov. 17

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Cowichan school district defends lack of notice to parents following elementary student arrest

Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.

Older B.C. drivers subsidizing younger ones, study finds

ICBC protects higher-risk drivers, pays for testing costs

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

Most Read