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Study finds disease on B.C. salmon farm

Scientists say that more research is needed on lesions found on fish

Scientists have detected a potential disease in farmed Atlantic salmon for the first time in British Columbia, but say more research is needed to determine if it could affect wild populations of the fish.

Dr. Kristi Miller, head of the molecular genetics research program in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, says pathologists found lesions on salmon on one farm in Johnstone Strait indicating they had heart and skeletal muscle inflammation.

Miller says the lesions were present for at least eight months.

She says the disease has been found in several countries, including Norway in the late 1990s, where it has been linked to low levels of mortality, with some farms showing no salmon deaths, while up to 20 per cent of fish die in others.

The disease is not considered reportable by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency or the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health.

The research using new technology and scientists from several countries was done between 2013 and 2015 on four Vancouver Island fish farms using over 2,400 live and dying salmon.

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