Alaska DF&G Monitoring Reported Evidence of Disease Exposure in B.C. Sockeye Salmon

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The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is closely monitoring and evaluating a recent report that samples taken from sockeye salmon in British Columbia show exposure to Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus (ISAv). The test results, reported by researchers from Simon Fraser University, are based on a very limited sample of sockeye salmon smolts from Rivers Inlet in central B.C. The smolts were not exhibiting any outward signs of infection.

Research on ISAv indicates that the risk to Alaska’s salmon stocks is low. Pacific salmon have been shown to be mostly resistant to ISAv, which is a flu-like disease of Atlantic salmon. ISAv does not transmit to humans and is not a human health or food safety issue.

“Right now, there is a lot of misinformation out there about this finding and this disease,” said Dr. Ted Meyers, ADF&G Fisheries Scientist. “The Rivers Inlet results are being analyzed through additional testing in a second laboratory to rule out any false positives. At this point we are concerned, but do not want to over react as we await more definitive information from Canada.”

Live Atlantic salmon are not allowed to be imported into Alaska. However, if the virus is confirmed present in B.C. migratory Pacific salmon or the Atlantic salmon stocks prevalent in B.C. fish farms, there is concern over potential impacts to Alaska salmon stocks.

“The department’s pathology lab is in contact with agencies in Canada and will continue monitoring the situation,” said Cora Campbell, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Fish and Game. “We will take all necessary measures to protect our stocks.”

Additional information on ISAv and the reports from B.C. can be found on the ADF&G web site at The department will keep Alaskans informed as additional information becomes available.


Retired2hunt's picture

  Reading the report there


Reading the report there was 2 positive hits of a total of 48 sockeye salmon smolts.  With this low of a hit rate I would think more testing of additional smolts would be the standard operating procedure.  The report states a separate testing lab is used to confirm the two positive hits so more will be known afterwards.  The report also states herring are carriers of the virus but do not get diseased from it however this just may be how the salmon get infected.

While Pacific salmon are resistant according to the officials I would not rule out a chance of another strain of the virus that could make the disease within these fish.

Protecting Alaska's stocks as well as any other state's fishing industry - including Canada has to be the #1 priority to prevent a castastrophe and financial devastation to those who rely on the fish.


numbnutz's picture

I read a story on this the

I read a story on this the other day on our local news site. I really hope this doesn't spread to bad. The article I read explained it as a influenza for salmon and it will kill them. Pacific salmon is one of our biggest money makers. If the fish start dying off it will devistate the local economy. So many fisherman will loose their jobs as a result. Also the recreational fishing season would probably be inpacked as well. About 15-20 years ago something similair killed off a bunch of salmon and our fish numbers have finally recovered from that. The past few years we have had record breaking fish runs. I hope officails can get this figured out and help the fish survive.