Lethal Atlantic Salmon Virus Found in BC SockeyeOctober 17, 2011
The European strain of Infectious Salmon Anemia virus (ISAv) is reported for the first time in Pacific salmon - in wild sockeye caught in Rivers Inlet on the Central Coast.
The highly contagious marine influenza virus, Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISAv) has for the first time been officially reported after being found in the Pacific on B.C.’s central coast.
Now it threatens both wild salmon and herring, say biologist Alexandra Morton and Simon Fraser University professor Rick Routledge, whose laboratory led to the discovery of ISA in B.C. salmon smolts.
Morton is calling for removal of Atlantic salmon from B.C. salmon farms. “Loosing a virus as lethal and contagious as ISA into the North Pacific is a cataclysmic biological threat to life,” said Morton. “The European strain of ISA virus can only have come from the Atlantic salmon farms. European strain ISA infected Chile via Atlantic salmon eggs in 2007.”
Morton says ISA was first found in Norway in 1984. “Since then, there have been lethal outbreaks in every important salmon-farming region around the globe, with the exception – or so we thought – of B.C. Now we know for sure that it has hit B.C.
“The Cohen Inquiry revealed ISA symptoms have been reported in farm salmon in B.C. since 2006. The Fisheries Ministers have written me repeatedly that B.C. is safe from ISA. Clearly they are not in control of the situation.
“If there is any hope, we have to turn off the source: Atlantic salmon have to be immediately removed.”
The virus was found in two of 48 sockeye smolts collected as part of a long-term study, led by Routledge, on the collapse of Rivers Inlet sockeye populations.
Dr. Fred Kibenge of the ISA reference laboratory at the Atlantic Veterinary College in P.E.I.made the diagnosis and notified the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) of the positive results for the European strain of ISA virus.
Says Routledge: “ISA is a deadly exotic disease which could have devastating impacts on wild salmon and the many species that depend on them throughout much of British Columbia and beyond.
“The combined impacts of this influenza-like virus and the recently identified parvovirus that can suppress the immune system could be particularly deadly.” Read more at salmonaresacred.org
- Morton, Alexandra. "Lethal Atlantic salmon virus found in BC sockeye."
- Morton, Alexandra. "What is happening to the Fraser sockeye?" Based largely on documents submitted to the Cohen Commission. August 14, 2011
- Shore, Randy. "Wild B.C. Sockeye Salmon Test Positive for Potentially Devastating Virus." Vancouver Sun.