Salmon Confidential


Follow biologist Alex Morton as she unravels the mysteries of BC’s declining salmon stocks using some of the world’s top fish labs. What she uncovers will surprise anyone who cares about our fish and all that depends on them. This 70-minute film documents Morton’s journey as she attempts to overcome roadblocks thrown up by government agencies and bring critical information to the public in time to save BC’s wild salmon. Learn about our changing coastal ecology, grassroots science-based activism, and the inner workings of government agencies tasked with overseeing our fish and the safety of our food supply. “Salmon Confidential” is a film for all Canadians.

Our first project

The first project of the Department of Wild Salmon is testing wild and farmed salmon in BC for European viruses.  To accomplish this we are traveling through BC sampling, training First Nations, conservation societies, wilderness user groups and fishermen to take samples.

We are working with top laboratories and making the results public here. If you would like help with the lab bills you can donate.  We are still in the concept-phase as we build capacity, please return to this site where we will post updates.

If you would like to know more, look at testing a stock of salmon, or to report your observations pleaseuse the contact tab above.

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.