issues and experts
B.C. fish controversy intensifies
Richard Routledge is available to comment on the latest salvo in an ongoing debate about whether deadly viruses linked to the deaths of farmed Atlantic salmon in Europe are turning up in wild B.C. salmon. The SFU fish population statistician and Alexandra Morton, an independent fish biologist, sparked controversy last fall with their discovery of Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) in wild B.C. salmon smolts. The highly contagious marine influenza virus has been linked to the deaths of farmed salmon worldwide. Routledge can comment on Morton’s latest finding that another virus, piscine reo virus (PRV), is turning up in store-bought fresh Atlantic salmon in Vancouver. PRV is a suspected causative agent of heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI) — another disease killing European Atlantic farmed salmon.
“I am indeed very concerned,” says Routledge. “Despite the announcement of the presence of this virus by a federal government scientist at last December's Cohen Commission hearings, the government did not pursue this very disturbing evidence with alacrity. It is apparent that it would not have taken much effort when a concerned private citizen readily found evidence of the virus in fish for sale in supermarkets. This is not acceptable. A virus that has been implicated in reduced heart function poses a serious risk to wild fish. That most definitely includes Fraser sockeye, most of which have to battle the strong currents of the Fraser Canyon to reach their spawning grounds.”
Richard Routledge, 778.782.4478; email@example.com