Small risk to wild Fraser River salmon for rare virus

Concerns were raised due to the transfer of IHNV from Atlantic salmon farms in the Discovery Islands

A report released today by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, says there is minimal risk to the wild Fraser River sockeye salmon population due to the transfer of IHNV from Atlantic salmon farms in the Discovery Islands.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) released a science advisory report today on the assessment of the risk to Fraser River sockeye salmon due to Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis Virus (IHNV) transfer from Atlantic salmon farms located in the Discovery Islands area of British Columbia.

The report concludes that there are minimal risks to the wild Fraser River sockeye salmon populations due to the transfer. Current fish health management practices such as vaccination and eradication of infected fish, help to minimize the risk. The advice in the report was developed by consensus.

This report is the first in a series that will assess the risk of pathogen transfer associated with aquaculture activities to wild fish and the environment in the Discovery Islands.

All reports will be made available to the public. DFO carried out the analysis under the Aquaculture Science Environmental Risk Assessment Initiative.

The request for Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat advice supports DFO’s role of managing aquaculture in BC and aligns with recommendations in the Cohen Commission Report on the risks to wild fish populations related to pathogen transfer from fish farms.

The peer review group was made up of 39 experts from various disciplines selected for their expertise and knowledge. The participants included scientific expertise from DFO, provinces, academia (Canada and International), Indigenous peoples, and stakeholders.

More to come…

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