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.
This gallery contains 4 photos.
Photos of the Lois Lake steelhead samples.
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.
- 8 came back positive for the salmon heart virus, piscine reovirus (PRV)
- 7 came back positive for Salmon Alphavirus (SAV)
- 7 tested positive for both
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.
From 35 samples taken in April 2012 from Atlantic salmon purchased in BC supermarkets, we have identified 24 positive tests for piscine reovirus (PRV). PRV is a common virus in Norwegian salmon farms, with plausible causal relationships to Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (Palacious et al. 2010).
An outbreak of Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNv) is currently occurring in farms and hatcheries on Vancouver Island and Washington state. Mainstream farms (Bawden, Dixon farms) are reporting the spread of IHNv infections and culling thousands of fish, while Grieg (Ahlstrom farm) also appears to be culling and selling hundreds of thousands of fish (however, have not identified IHNv directly). American Gold Seafoods, on Bainbridge Island, and a sockeye hatchery in Baker Lake are also reporting positive results of IHNv.