Ecojustice Blog – Nature Posted on March 16, 2017 (updated: February 27, 2018)

Act now to protect wild salmon

alex-and-tatoo photo by Ivan AlexisAlexandra MortonClient
Photo of Alexandra Morton holding juvenile salmon by April Bencze
Photo of Alexandra Morton holding juvenile salmon by April Bencze

B.C.’s wild salmon need your help. The federal government has long dismissed concerns about piscine reovirus (PRV) — a highly-contagious virus that has infected 80 per cent of B.C. farm salmon — insisting it will not harm wild salmon. But recent research suggests otherwise.

In March, a federal scientist confirmed that PRV appears to cause the disease heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI). The heart damage caused by HSMI would be a death sentence to wild salmon – as they must be supreme athletes to catch prey, escape predators, and swim upstream to spawn.

Despite this alarming discovery, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Dominic LeBlanc outright refuses to test farm fish for PRV before allowing them to be transferred into ocean pens where they are infecting wild salmon. Failing to test for PRV is a reckless course of action for a Minister whose primary mandate is to protect and conserve wild fish.

As an independent biologist, I track PRV in wild salmon exposed to B.C. fish farms. Concern about the spread of PRV to wild salmon led me to work with Ecojustice lawyers, who helped me take legal action — and win. But it’s important to show the Minister that wild salmon matter to all of us.

Please join me in urging the Minister to test B.C. farm salmon for PRV before allowing them to be transferred into open-net pens in the ocean.

Take action now and tell Minister LeBlanc to step up and protect wild salmon!

Healthy wild salmon mean life on the coast can thrive. They feed the trees that make the oxygen we breathe, and are an important food source for more than 100 species. Act now and help give them a voice.

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