Lethal salmon virus now detected in four species

Vancouver Ca.  From The Provence:   http://www.theprovince.com/news/Lethal+salmon+virus+detected+four+species/5652786/story.html

By Sean Sullivan, Postmedia News
November 3, 2011

VANCOUVER — A lethal virus that could pose a new threat to British Columbia’s prized Pacific salmon has now been detected in four wild species, prompting fears about its effect on the multi-billion-dollar fishery.

On Wednesday, biologist and salmon advocate Alexandra Morton learned an infectious salmon amenia (ISA) lab at the Atlantic Veterinary College in P.E.I. found evidence of the virus in three of 10 dead fish — a Chinook, coho and chum — she pulled from the Harrison River on Oct. 12.

Researchers at Simon Fraser University announced last month the virus was found in two of 48 sockeye smolts collected in B.C.’s Central Coast.

“The terrible thing about the work that myself and (SFU researcher Rick) Routledge have done is that it’s tiny,” Morton said. “We looked at 60 fish, and we got it in two different generations, 600 kilometres apart, four different species. That’s a huge red flag.”

ISA’s effect on Pacific salmon — if any — is not known. This is the first time the disease has been found in wild Pacific salmon, raising fears among advocates that the already stressed wild stocks could be further jeopardized.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Morton’s samples are now being tested in Canada’s official ISA lab in Moncton, N.B.

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