Tofino BC — M
Fatal Salmon Virus Outbreak in Clayoquot UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
ainstream Canada, a Norwegian-owned company, has reported
an outbreak of Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis virus (IHN)
on one of
their open net-cage salmon farms in Clayoquot Sound.
The farm, one of 20 sites in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere
Reserve, is located at the entrance to a provincial park that
encompasses a fjord, the Megin River estuary, old-growth Sitka spruce
forests and salmon spawning habitat.
IHN is endemic to wild Pacific fish, and at low concentrations is not
deadly to them. However salmon farms amplify diseases like this, much
like in a crowded hospital, where pathogens which are normally not an
issue can become deadly.
r. Kristi Miller, Head of the Molecular Genetics section at the
Pacific Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), found
Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus (ISAv) and Piscine reovirus (PRV) on 2
other Clayoquot Sound salmon farms late last year. Both viruses are of
European origin and deadly to wild salmon. These farms were not culled
and no further testing has taken place.
Friends of Clayoquot Sound campaigner Bonny Glambeck said, “Despite
the abundance of pristine salmon habitat, Clayoquot's salmon runs are in
dramatic decline, with some runs now being counted in the tens, rather
than in the tens of thousands.”
“Mainstream has applied for a new salmon feedlot to be located at
Plover Point along the shore of Meares Island near Tofino. With the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Fraser River Sockeye Salmon
report not due out until September 30, and these deadly viruses present
here in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, this is not the time to
be expanding this industry.”