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Lethal Virus Found in Farmed Salmon

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What worries biologist and watchdog Alexandra Morton is not just that IHN has been identified in the salmon, but how the outbreak is being handled. She is also concerned that if the BC Liberals pass an amended Animal Health Act, scheduled for a vote May 31st, news concerning virus outbreaks would be withheld from the public. She writes on her blog:

I will be breaking the law if I inform you about a reportable disease like IHN and ISA. The lab reports will have to remain secret from you, and this Animal Health Act being proposed by Christy Clark’s government seeks not only to override Access to Information, she also seeks to override the Offence Act opening the door to harsher penalties. The offence for failing to keep information confidential will draw the highest penalty.

Whether or not the current outbreak is a threat to wild stocks, it is one more concern added to the list of risks associated with fish farming. Sites such as Farmed and Dangerous call attention to an industry that poses such ongoing threeats as sea lice, algae blooms, marine mammal deaths and marine debris.

Problems with aquaculture are similar to those that leave a trail of environmental problems associated with industrial agriculture. Helene York described them this way in The Atlantic:

The few large-scale operators that are positively rated by conservation organizations grow fish in land tanks that come with high energy inputs, an environmental cost generally not measured by marine scientists. Others are lauded for using grains rather than fish meal to feed their farmed creatures. That’s good for the ocean’s stock of healthy little fish, but not good when the fertilizers applied to grow the grains create dead zones in the ocean like the massive one in the Gulf of Mexico. Scaling up in concentrated locations has its problems.

Voltaire was right. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” The IHN virus issue is just one more example of the consequence of addressing one problem (dwindling fish stocks) by creating another (environmental degradation and disease).

Related Care2 Stories

BC Law Could Hide Animal Disease Outbreaks

Farmed Fish and Sea Lice Endanger Wild Salmon Stocks

Infectious Salmon Anemia – The Next Deadly Illness?

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Photos of Adams River sockeye salmon run by Cathryn Wellner

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8:16AM PDT on Sep 21, 2012


7:54AM PDT on Jun 10, 2012

thanks for sharing :)

7:52AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

So there goes the eating of one of the healthiest fish around, you can not trusts a single thing one eats anymore all because stupid humans always screw everything they touch up!

5:33AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

So what's new the human race are always messing with nature. In England they want to cull badgers because of foot and mouth disease but the badgers caught it from the cattle in the first place by living on dirty farms that were not cleaned and disinfected properly. It is always natures fault according to humans!!!

7:03PM PDT on Jun 3, 2012

I've found the name of a vegetable that might reduce the demand for wild salmon - purslane.
It supplies the same EPA and DHA forms of omega-3 that are found in wild salmon. Since farmed salmon often have little omega-3 in their diets (as opposed to the large amounts from their natural diets), it also seems worthwhile to try adding purslane to their diets and see if that improves their health. Not very well known as food in the US; it is often considered a weed instead in the US. More popular in Europe, where it grows wild. Sometimes available as an ingredient in mesclun salads.

2:49PM PDT on Jun 3, 2012

Salmon fish farms need to be removed from the ocean. They are putting wild salmon at risk.

7:02PM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

Dresia V. Fish has been contaminated for a long time, especially in the oceans around Asia, where they are highly contaminated with mercury.

7:02PM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

Dresia V. Fish has been contaminated for a long time, especially in the oceans around Asia, where they are highly contaminated with mercury.

9:57AM PDT on Jun 1, 2012

To me this old news. We have been told to buy only wild salmon.
Of course anything for money, otherwise our wild fish, chicken, pork, beef and Produce would be as nature intended. No offence to vegetarians - I have two in my family and am thinking of changing my whole diet to vegetarian, but husband still ls a meat and potatoes man.

5:34AM PDT on Jun 1, 2012


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