Canada | Environment

Virus found in wild salmon in British Columbia for first time

Researchers from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia have found an infectious and highly contagious virus in wild salmon.

Out of 48 juvenile fish in the Rivers Inlet, two were infected by salmon anemia. Researchers believe the virus originated from farm-raised salmon.

“If we test five million fish and found two sick, O.K.,” Alexandra Morton, a researcher who collected the samples, told The New York Times. “But 48 in the middle of nowhere?”

The study was led by Richard Routledge, an environmental scientist at Simon Fraser. The Rivers Inlet Project is particularly concerned about the impact on First Nations.

"Rivers Inlet, on the B.C. Central Coast, once vied with the Skeena River as the location of Canada’s second-most prolific sockeye salmon run – a run that has declined to an average over the last five years to less than 1% of its historic abundance," the project homepage states. "The once-vibrant commercial fishery has collapsed, the Owikeno First Nation has lost a vital component of its sustenance and culture, and grizzly bears and other predators have declined sharply."

Get the Story:
Salmon-Killing Virus Seen for First Time in the Wild on the Pacific Coast (The New York Times 10/18)
Deadly European virus found in B.C. salmon (CP 10/17)

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