Ecojustice Blog – Nature Posted on September 10, 2018 (updated: September 12, 2018)

Wild salmon finally get their day in court

Devon PageLawyer
Pacific wild salmon spawning

This week, Ecojustice lawyers go to court to protect Pacific wild salmon from a highly contagious virus found in up to 80 per cent of B.C. farmed salmon

Whew. Not a moment too soon. Wild salmon finally get their day in court.

Today, Ecojustice lawyers will make the case that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is breaking the law by allowing farmed fish to be transferred into the ocean without first screening them for a harmful, highly-contagious virus called Piscine orthoreovirus, or PRV.

Our longtime client, independent biologist Alexandra Morton, knows all too well the impacts that fish farms have on wild salmon and the marine environment. She has published more than 20 research papers on the topic.

Alex is not alone. You might recall that scientists from within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans led a recently-publicized study that shows PRV can cause cells in Chinook salmon to burst “en masse,” leading to severe organ damage and even death.

And yet, the minister still refuses to screen farmed salmon for PRV, and that’s why we are turning to the courts.

We first joined forces with Alex in 2013, when we successfully argued that the minister could not pass his legal responsibilities to regulate fish farms off to the very companies he’s supposed to oversee. Supporters like you played a major part in helping us win that case.

Now, as our current hearing unfolds, we’re counting on your continued support.

As a triathlete, I’m awed by the strength and endurance of wild salmon. To reach their feeding and spawning grounds, Pacific wild salmon migrate between 300 and 1,000 kilometres. Can you imagine running the equivalent of 24 marathons?

Alex often says that wild salmon need to be “supreme athletes” to survive. Exposing them to PRV, which is found in 80 per cent of farmed salmon and associated with jaundice-anemia in Pacific salmon, is like playing Russian roulette with this iconic species.

As our legal team makes the case that infected farmed fish have no place in the ocean, I invite you to join the fight by making a gift today.

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