Salmon alphavirus in Lois Lake farmed steelhead

On March 25, 2012 we purchased 11 farmed steelhead and 3 Arctic Char heads from the Fairway Market in Victoria, BC and sent samples from them for testing for three European farm salmon viruses.

Salmon Alphavirus

This is the first-ever report of Salmon Alphavirus (SAV) in BC, identified by positive PCR. However, Dr. Michael Kent, wrote of the disease it causes, Pancreas Disease, in Atlantic farm salmon being raised in BC in 1987. Dr. Gary Marty also identified differentials (symptoms) of SAV going back to 2007 in his reports to salmon farming companies in British Columbia (Cohen Commission exhibits).

Salmon Alphavirus is not a “reportable disease” internationally, but it is killing salmon and trout in Norway, Scotland and Ireland. Chile has requested that it be listed as a reportable pathogen and has also requested permission from the World Trade Organization to block import of eggs from regions with Salmon Alphavirus.

Where did these farmed steelhead come from?

Fairway Markets told us they source their steelhead from a trout farm in Lois Lake. West Coast Fish Culture (WCFC) reports it is a family owned business rearing 600 tonnes of steelhead a year in a hatchery and Lois Lake. The facility exists within Sliammon Territory. WCFC is one of the six members of the BC Salmon Farming Association.