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

Most cows saved during massive fire on Agassiz farm thanks to fast work of farmers, neighbours

Agassiz Fire Department responded to late night call Wednesday

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Massive fire destroys Agassiz dairy barn

Reports say at least one cow died in the blaze

Chilliwack firefighter seeking to reunite Rosedale VFD’s old auxiliary fire pump with antique engine

It’s been four decades, but Pat Liebault is hoping to reunite Rosedale’s auxiliary pump and engine

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read