Last year, we scored a major victory when we won a Federal Court case decision that scolded the Department of Fisheries and Ocean (DFO) for its unlawful practice of allowing fish farm companies to transfer fish carrying diseases into open-net pens located along wild salmon migration routes off the British Columbia coast.
As a result of the decision, DFO and fish farm companies would have to change their ways. Instead, they filed an appeal.
While we were in the midst of preparing for the appeal hearing initially scheduled for this Thursday, DFO asked to adjourn (delay) the hearing. Then it made a shocking announcement: Its scientists have diagnosed a potential case of Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI) in B.C. farmed salmon.
HSMI is thought to be caused by the very contagious Piscine Reo-Virus (PRV). Since the disease was first diagnosed in Norway, there have been outbreaks throughout salmon farms in that region. HSMI causes severe lethargy and weakness, ultimately robbing fish of their ability to swim upstream to spawn and making them easy prey for their predators.
If the disease spreads to wild salmon, it could be a death sentence for these iconic fish.
The potential discovery of HSMI on B.C. salmon farms underscores why the Department of Fisheries and Oceans must do more to live up to its legal obligation to protect wild salmon. The department unlawfully passed off its regulatory responsibilities to aquaculture corporations and allowed HSMI to arise in B.C.
In essence, this happened right under DFO’s nose. And now wild salmon are at risk.
Help us call on the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and urge the government to #SaveOurSalmon. We need to get these farmed fish out of our oceans before it is too late.
Learn more about the importance of protecting wild salmon from our client, Alexandra Morton: