A shocking video on Facebook by a local activist and nature photographer shows that fish farm blood infected with piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) is still flowing into Discovery Passage, two years after first being uncovered.
Tavish Campbell published a video on Tuesday, December 2nd, in which he dives underwater next to the infected blood, visibly spilling out into the ocean in the middle of Canada’s largest wild salmon migration route.
In the video, Campbell explains the blood flow was first discovered in 2017, but hasn’t stopped despite community pressure.
“2019 and the blood is still flowing,” Campbell says in the video. “Unbelievable.”
The pipe from which the bloody waste pours out is connected to Brown’s Bay Packing, an Atlantic salmon processing company located in Campbell River.
This year marked the lowest sockeye salmon return in history, with 90% fewer fish returning to the river than were forecast by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).
Campbell says the virus PRV is highly infectious and was most likely brought over via Atlantic Salmon eggs imported by the fish farm industry.
According to the official DFO website, all experimental exposures of the B.C. strain of PRV to Atlantic and Pacific salmon has failed to induce any disease. Activists, however, claim the virus ruptures the red blood cells of salmon and leads to jaundice and organ failure.
The DFO began testing for the disease at B.C. fish farms in June 2019, after a federal court judge ruled the department had to revise its no-test-required policy in February.
In September 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to move all aquaculture in the province of British Columbia away from open fish farms and towards closed containment by 2025.