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 2017, a federal scientist confirmed that the virus appears to cause the disease heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI)1. 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.
This puts wild salmon at enormous risk. Not too long ago, the Cohen Commission, the $36-million federal inquiry into the 2009 collapse of Fraser sockeye, concluded that farm fish can spread infectious disease to wild fish2. Not only does Minister LeBlanc’s refusal to test farm fish for PRV run counter to government’s promises to act on Cohen Commission’s recommendations to protect wild salmon, it undermines this government's commitments to:
• Take a precautionary approach to managing wild fish stocks 3
• Use scientific evidence 4
• Respect Indigenous rights and culture 5
Last fall’s wild sockeye salmon run was the lowest in recorded history. Now is the time for action.
Tell Minister LeBlanc to step up and protect wild salmon today!
Salmon swimming upstream via Flickr
Healthy wild salmon mean life on the coast can thrive.
For thousands of years, they have sustained entire ecosystems, cultures and local economies. Today, they are an important food source for 100 species, including endangered orcas, grizzly bears, eagles and humans. They fuel a $1.4 billion wilderness tourism industry. They cause watersheds to flourish by nourishing forests and are vital to the livelihood and culture of First Nations communities.
Allowing the salmon farming industry to infect wild salmon with pathogens puts this whole coast at enormous risk. The Minister must test farm fish for PRV before allowing them to be put into the ocean.
Take action today and stand up for wild salmon.
Remind Minister LeBlanc of the federal government’s promises and that you’re counting on him to do the right thing and screen farm salmon for PRV before allowing them to be put into the ocean.
Your voice is incredibly important. Please send your letter today.