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Ottawa to test for risks of virus transfer from farmed to wild salmon

Last Updated Sep 25, 2018 at 6:21 pm EDT

OTTAWA – A science review to assess the risks associated with the transfer of a virus from farmed Atlantic salmon to wild salmon has been launched by the federal government.

Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says the results of the assessment of the piscine reovirus will guide decisions on aquaculture in Canada, including in the area of the Discovery Islands and Broughton Archipelago off B.C.’s coast.

The government says in a news release the review will include domestic and international scientific experts, with a final report made available by early next year.

Wilkinson says the government is committed to using the best available science to protect wild Pacific salmon, including Fraser River sockeye.

Ecojustice sued the fisheries minister in Federal Court earlier this month, alleging the government fails to test farmed salmon for the virus before it allows companies to transfer the fish to open-net pens along salmon migration routes.

The ministry says the study is one of 10 risk assessments that the department is conducting to understand the potential of pathogen transfers associated with aquaculture activities.