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The study referenced by Ian Bailey in the Globe & Mail was not conducted by the BC Salmon Farmers and we had no control over whether or when the manuscript was published. We understand the study was not published because the main co-authors did not agree on a conclusion based on the data. The manuscript has not yet gone through the peer review process because of this disagreement. Our sector supports the dissemination of sound science and information being released in the context of a peer reviewed published paper, rather than an ad hoc release of information through ATIP.

It is also important to note that in the decade since that study commenced, there has been substantial science and reporting on PRV. That reporting started with Dr. Kristi Miller-Saunders testifying about this very study at the Cohen Commission in 2011. To understand the facts on this issue we recommend reading peer-reviewed research based on more recent facts. The research below supports that farmed PRV is not considered to have any clinical significance by fish health scientists, and therefore is not a risk to wild Pacific salmon. 

  • In 2015,  researchers studied archival samples (from 1977) and found that Piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) existed in British Columbia well before salmon farming and WAS sequenced contrary to the researcher’s claims https://doi.org/10.1111/jfd.12285
  • In 2015, researchers found that they could not produce jaundice in the lab by injecting PRV-positive serumfrom Jaundiced Chinook salmon into Chinook, Atlantic and Sockeye salmon Therefore they failed to complete Koch’s postulates by reproducing the disease in the lab is a basic step to confirming that a virus or bacteria is indeed pathogenic (important given that there are 3 Million to a Billion viruses in a millilitre of seawater) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jfd.12329
  • In 2015 & 2019, the Government of Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans concluded that PRV attributable to Atlantic Salmon farms in the Discovery Islands area poses minimal risk to Fraser River Sockeye Salmon abundance & diversity http://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/363813.pdf   
  • In a 2018 survey of wild salmon in Alaska and Washington state, researchers found that PRV was widespread in wild populations and never any clear clinical evidence that PRV causes disease by itself. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29159930/
  • In 2020, a US-based study injected PRV extracted from Atlantic Salmon into juvenile Chinook, Coho and Rainbow trout and failed to produce any notable disease or mortality https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32476167/
  • In the latest study released July 13, 2021, researchers found that wild Pacific sockeye salmon injected with PRV in the nine-week experiment functioned normally, with their respiratory performance unaffected https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12915-021-01069-2
  • From Alaska to California, despite the myriad of viruses, bacteria and parasites that wild hatchery biologists and veterinarians have to deal with, no one is concerned or really looks for PRV.  PRV is not an issue among fish health professionals and never has been.

ABOUT THE BC SALMON FARMERS ASSOCIATION: 

Farm-raised salmon is B.C.’s highest valued seafood product, the province’s top agricultural export, and generates over $1.6 billion towards the B.C. economy, resulting in thousands of jobs. The B.C. Salmon Farmers Association represents over 60 businesses and organizations throughout the value chain of finfish aquaculture in B.C. Our members account for over 95% of the annual provincial harvest of farm-raised salmon in British Columbia.

For more information, visit https://www.bcsalmonfarmers.ca

MEDIA CONTACT

Michelle Franze
Manager of Communications, Partnerships and Community
michelle@bcsalmonfarmers.ca
604-202-4417