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Piscine reovirus—a salmon virus fresh from Norway

From the Department of Wild Salmon: Over 90 percent of B.C. farmed salmon are testing positive for a recently imported Norwegian virus that causes lesions in the hearts of salmon. Should we be concerned about its effects on wild salmon, one of B.C.’s most valuable natural resources?

So we have it, solid evidence in a peer-reviewed scientific paper that the salmon-farming industry appears to have imported an exotic virus considered to be the causative agent of a serious salmon disease. For any who look at the science, it’s pretty hard to deny this one. So far, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has made no statement about this virus that now appears to be widespread in B.C. farmed salmon being raised on the major migration routes of our wild salmon.

So will the industry get away with this? Will British Columbians just look the other way?

The piscine reovirus in B.C. was first made public by biologist Alexandra Morton in 2012 when she began sampling salmon in B.C. for European viruses. The reason she went looking for European viruses in the first place was because during the Cohen Commission, she gained access to the previously confidential fish-health files of the provincial farm-salmon veterinarian, Gary Marty.

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