NDP: Threat of Disease in BC Wild Salmon Requires Immediate Action from Federal Government

OTTAWA – Reports today that Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISAV) has been found in the Pacific ocean has set off alarm bells and the federal government must deal with this potentially deadly disease, said NDP Fisheries and Oceans critic Fin Donnelly.

“The Department of Fisheries and Oceans must take immediate steps to identify the source of the virus and ensure that it does not spread,” said Donnelly. “While the Minister is looking to cut $57 million from the budget, he is dropping the ball on the health of our wild salmon.”

Donnelly wrote to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in July, asking what measures were in place to determine and detect if ISAV, salmon leukemia, marine anemia or any other disease harmful to Canada’s wild salmon are present on the Pacific coast or at any stage of the industrial process. The Minister responded in September with a letter outlining an overview of aquaculture management and a factsheet that claims that “no cases of ISAV have been identified in British Columbia” and that “no salmon in British Columbia have tested positive for this virus.”

“Scientists have been raising concerns that this disease may exist in the Pacific,” said Donnelly. “The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has a mandate to protect our wild salmon. In all other jurisdictions where ISAV has been found it has proven to have deadly consequences.”