A recent study in British Columbia found traces of a potentially deadly virus in two sockeye salmon in a remote inlet on the B.C. Coast. This is the first time infectious salmon anemia (ISA) has been found on the West Coast. When ISA was found in Atlantic salmon farms in Europe, it often killed over 70 percent of the fish. Salmon farming critics are quick to blame the farms for introducing the virus, but some scientists caution it’s too soon determine the origin.
Regardless of it’s origins, the disease could have a devastating effect on the farming industry in the northwest, which farms Atlantic salmon because they don’t die when they spawn. It’s effect on pacific salmon is harder to predict. This is the first time the virus has been found on pacific salmon, so scientists are now trying to figure out if the virus is as lethal or communicable in pacific salmon as atlantic salmon.
What questions do you have for Oregon Fish and Wildlife about what the newly discovered virus could mean for Oregon?
- Ashley Ahearn: EarthFix reporter based in Seattle.
- John Kaufman: Fish Virologist for Oregon Fish and Wildlife