Fisheries and Oceans Canada has four months to start testing for piscine orthoreovirus, or PRV, in fish farms following the federal court ruling on Monday, February 5.
The virus causes heart and skeletal muscle inflammation and is often found in raised Atlantic salmon along the B.C. Coast. In March 2018, new research linked the disease to wild B.C. Chinook.
Nathan Cullen, Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP, welcomes the federal court judgment requiring DFO testing for PRV virus before farmed salmon is transferred or released.
An existing DFO policy allowed fish companies to move young salmon to open net money before being tested for PRV.
The Pacific Salmon Fund survey in March showed strong signs that wild chinook was exposed to farmed salmon PRV, which was only added to concerns raised by First Nations and environmentalists.
After Cecily Strickland's lawsuit, Cullen said, "Today's verdict is a great victory for wild salmon and for anyone who cares to see healthy salmon return to our rivers every summer."
"The fact that Canadians have to go to court to force this liberal government to actually protect our salmon from disease is astonishing. This is a government that claims to respect science, but decisions such as this by DFO undermine Canada's confidence in their ability to do their work and support fishing, "he said in a press release.
Protecting wild salmon, and not fishing, needs to be focused forward, says Cullen.
DFO said in a statement that it is a review of the federal court's decision. Fisheries and Ocean Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the government understands that a strong science-based approach to aquaculture regulation is crucial, and therefore, we and will continue to undertake extensive research that informs our policies and regulations.
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Shannon Lough | Editor
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