Environment Canada is investigating allegations that fish plants in British Columbia are spewing virus-laden bloody water from processed, farmed salmon into the sea off the coast of Vancouver Island. The virus, piscine reovirus, is commonly found in farmed salmon and is deadly to wild salmon.
There are provincial regulations for fisheries that include the requirement of an Effluent Discharge Permit. Two of the plants sited for infecting wild salmon were issued permits more than 20 years ago; one plant is in the process of updating its permit to reflect more modern standards including better filtration and disinfection technology.
BC Salmon Farmers Association Executive Director Jeremy Dun said in a written statement that he understands why people are concerned but insists the rules are being followed. The public is now calling for changes to the Fisheries Act that would tighten up food-safety regulations to be followed by salmon farmers.
The controversy was first sparked by a video shot by British Columbia photographer Tavish Campbell.