Protect Wild Salmon From Dangerous Virus

Target: Dominic LeBlanc, Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Goal: Protect wild salmon from becoming infected with a virus from commercial fish farms.

Farmed salmon in British Columbia have tested positive for Piscine Reovirus (PRV). Although this virus is not dangerous to humans, it appears to be spreading to wild Pacific Ocean salmon, posing a major threat. Irresponsible practices, such as dumping fish processing waste back into the ocean without treating it, have exacerbated the problem. Fish farms in B.C. must take steps to prevent the spread of PRV to wild fish.

As many as 80 percent of farmed salmon in B.C. may have PRV. Wild salmon can catch the virus when they swim near the nets that enclose the fish farms. Even worse, salmon processing companies are dumping fish blood and byproducts directly into the ocean. Researchers have determined that this fish waste contains PRV, and is thus a potential threat to any fish swimming near the processing plants. So far, the government has taken no action to stop this dangerous practice, claiming that PRV is not actually harmful to fish.

Although the effects of PRV on salmon are controversial, evidence now suggests that the virus is, in fact, harmful. While the virus may not directly kill salmon, it can infect red blood cells and weaken the fish, making them more susceptible to predators. Research has also found that infected fish are more likely to be found in the downstream section of rivers, whereas uninfected fish are found upriver. This indicates that infected fish may not be strong enough to make it upriver, which means that they will not be able to breed.

Sign this petition to demand that the Canadian Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans take action to prevent the infection of wild salmon with PRV.


Dear Mr. LeBlanc,

Fish processing facilities in B.C. cannot be allowed to continue to dump infected fish blood and byproducts into the ocean. The majority of farmed salmon are infected with PRV and tests have confirmed the presence of PRV in fish byproducts that are emptied into the ocean. PRV poses a significant threat to wild salmon; the virus seems to weaken them and impair their ability to swim upstream to spawn.

Salmon are already threatened by pollution, over-fishing, and habitat loss. Salmon are an important species in ocean and river ecosystems and over 100 other species depend on the nutrients that salmon provide. Wild Pacific salmon also support a multi-billion dollar fishing industry that provides tens of thousands of jobs. For both ecological and economic reasons, it is imperative that we protect Pacific salmon.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Andrew E. Russell

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