Published Date: 2011-11-08 12:09:24
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Infectious salmon anemia - Canada (02): (BC)
Archive Number: 20111108.3321
INFECTIOUS SALMON ANEMIA - CANADA (02): (BRITISH COLUMBIA)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Thu 3 Nov 2011
Source: The Province, Postmedia News [edited]
Lethal salmon virus now detected in 4 species
A lethal virus that could pose a new threat to British Columbia's
prized Pacific salmon has now been detected in 4 wild species,
prompting fears about its effect on the multi-billion-dollar fishery.
On Wednesday [2 Nov 2011], biologist and salmon advocate Alexandra
Morton learned an infectious salmon anemia (ISA) lab at the Atlantic
Veterinary College in PEI [Prince Edward Island] found evidence of the
virus in 3 of 10 dead fish -- a chinook, coho, and chum -- she pulled
from the Harrison River on 12 Oct .
Researchers at Simon Fraser University [SFU] announced last month
[October 2011] the virus was found in 2 of 48 sockeye smolts collected
in BC's Central Coast.
"The terrible thing about the work that myself and (SFU researcher
Rick) Routledge have done is that it's tiny," Morton said. "We looked
at 60 fish, and we got it in 2 different generations, 600 kilometres
[373 mi] apart, 4 different species. That's a huge red flag."
ISA's effect on Pacific salmon -- if any -- is not known. This is the
1st time the disease has been found in wild Pacific salmon, raising
fears among advocates that the already stressed wild stocks could be
A spokeswoman for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Morton's
samples are now being tested in Canada's official ISA lab in Moncton,
NB [New Brunswick]. Vancouver-area MP [Member of Parliament] Fin
Donnelly, raised the issue in Ottawa Thursday [3 Nov 2011], calling on
the government to develop an action plan to deal with the virus on
Canada's West Coast.
"Concern is mounting both in British Columbia and the United States
that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is not taking this threat
seriously," the New Democrat fisheries critic said.
Some have suggested the virus may have come from Atlantic salmon eggs
imported to local fish farms from Chile or Norway. Salmon farmers have
been quick to shoot down those claims, as has the federal government.
"In recent years we tested over 5000 wild and farmed BC salmon without
a single case of confirmed ISA in BC," Randy Kamp, the parliamentary
secretary to the minister of Fisheries and Oceans, said Thursday [3
Chile, a major producer of farmed Atlantic salmon, has seen its wild
fish stocks decimated by ISA over the last 4 years, with USD 2 billion
in estimated losses.
[Byline: Sean Sullivan]
ProMED-mail from HealthMap alerts
[This highly contagious marine influenza virus has for the 1st time
been officially reported in the North Pacific (see ProMED-mail post
20111019.3120). Outbreaks of infectious salmon anemia occur in farmed
Atlantic salmon (_Salmo salar_). Wild Atlantic salmon might also be
susceptible. Rarely, isolates have been reported to affect other
salmonids, like here. More information on the disease may be found at
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of British Columbia can be
seen at http://healthmap.org/r/1pX3. - Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ]