Piscine reovirus may be the biggest industrial spill in the history of British Columbia.
The virus that the salmon farming can't get rid of,
the law says they can't operate with and
wild salmon may not survive.
There is only so much I can do without your help:
- Write Premier John Horgan - email@example.com
"Protect wild salmon and respect the rights of First Nations. DO not renew the BC salmon farm tenures that start expiring in June 2018"
- The industry says they don't have a disease problem, I say they do. It is time to settle this. Sign the petition.
Salmon farming and wild Pacific salmon have been on a collision course since salmon farms were first introduced to BC in the late 1980s. These marine feedlots are also causing severe impact on wild salmonids in other countries including, Scotland, Ireland, Chile, eastern Canada and Norway, where the industry was first developed. The risk to wild salmon from release of high levels of pathogens from farm populations was known to be a problem 30 years ago. Because of this a member of the Norwegian government came to Canada and warned us that the industry was coming to BC to escape the rules Norway was imposing on this mushrooming industry. For reasons no one has explained Canada welcomed the industry into the pristine, wild salmon-rich waters of BC. Wild salmon collapse everywhere this industry operates.
Salmon farms are a threat to wild salmon because they release biological waste that carries infection. The yellow stringy matter in this photo is farm salmon fecal matter, which along with urine and mucus, is released from each site by the ton daily.
Fisheries and Ocean Canada virologist, Dr. Kyle Garver testified at the Cohen Commission into the decline of Fraser River sockeye salmon, that a salmon farm can shed 65 billion infectious particles per hour. This is a threat to wild salmon survival.
Because the industry insisted on importing Atlantic salmon to British Columbia, they have also threaten Pacific salmon with exotic diseases they have no natural immune response to.
Piscine reovirus is particularly dangerous to wild salmon for a suite of reasons:
- It is highly contagious, and capable of spreading long distances in the water
- It appears to have come from Norway
- It does not outright kill the fish, it slows them down, so wild fish can spread the virus until a predator kills them
- The salmon farming industry is so infected, they are fighting me in court to adapt the laws of Canada to allow them to grow Atlantic salmon infected with PRV.
The reason I state in the film that government gave this virus a headstart, is because the Federal Minister of Fisheries, currently, Dominic Leblanc, have chosen to ignore the laws of Canada and refuse to screen farm salmon for piscine reovirus before signing the permit required for transfer from the freshwater hatcheries into marine pens throughout wild salmon habitat.
As I raise in the film, I am very concerned about the research published by government and industry together. The three papers co-published by Marine Harvest and BC and federal scientists conclude that piscine reovirus is natural to BC and harmless to Pacific salmon. The papers published without Marine Harvest, conclude the opposite, the piscine reovirus found in BC is from Norway and is causing harm to Pacific salmon.
There are significant concerns about the validity of the government/industry science: SEE LETTER
The industry/government papers
I am grateful that Ecojustice is working with me to take this issue to court, but the relationship between government and industry is so strong that even after we won the case, the minister continues to allowed infected farm Atlantic salmon into the migration routes of wild salmon that are collapsing. We sued him again, but even as this case winds it way slowly through the courts over the past 5 years, the Minister of Fisheries has begun the process of offloading disease testing on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The danger in this is that the CFIA has no responsibility to protecting wild fish from disease, they are responsibly for human health and trade in agricultural products.
I have chronicled the past nine years of trying to limit the impact of salmon farming on wild salmon on my blog AlexandraMorton.typepad.com
This is my research society Raincoast Research Society
Materials Referenced in the Film
The three government / Marine Harvest papers suggesting that piscine reovirus is not from Norway, and does not cause the salmon heart disease Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI)
Dr. Miller's research team's paper on HSMI in BC farm salmon
Affidavit of Marine Harvest s- industry would be "severely" impacted if they were prohibited transfer of PRV-infected fish