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

Burns Lake resident close to reaching her blood donation goal

The 73-year-old just needs to donate four more pints

Wildfire season in Burns Lake a “rollercoaster of emotions”

Burns Lake residents share their experiences

Chamber says good bye to Bill Miller

The Burns Lake & District Chamber of Commerce held its monthly meeting… Continue reading

Northern B.C. needs faster response to wildfires: regional district chair

Bill Miller shares takeaways from Burns Lake’s wildfire season

Burns Lake area wildfires contained, but still burning

Smouldering ground fires and smoke still expected in the coming weeks

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

B.C. could provide clues as to how New Brunswick electoral results shake out

Premier Christy Clark faced a strikingly similar scenario following the province’s 2017 election

Most Read