Alexandra Morton’s struggle against fish farms has made her a folk heroine in British Columbia. Two years ago, she approached the legal firm ecojustice with a report that aquaculture company Marine Harvest Inc. had transferred Atlantic salmon infected with piscine reovirus (PRV) into net pens located along the Fraser River salmon migration route. On May 6, 2015, they won what Morton calls a victory for wild salmon.
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By Roy L Hales
Alexandra Morton’s long awaited suit against the Department of Fisheries and Oceans opened in Vancouver today. Morton’s lawyer, Margot Venton, filed the suit after learning that fish allegedly infected with the piscine reovirus (PRV) had been transferred into an open-pen fish farm operated by Marine Harvest along the Fraser River sockeye migration. BC salmon farms face Multiple Legal Threats .
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As many as 70 million sockeye salmon may return to the Fraser this year. These numbers have not been seen for decades and are quite a stark contrast to 1.6 million catch that sparked the Cohen commission a few years ago. That was when Dr Kristi Miller, head of Molecular Genetics at the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s (DFO) Pacific Biological Station, testified that a ‘viral signature’ of a disease was contributing to as high as 90% pre-spawn mortality in returning Fraser sockeye. One of the reasons there is so much hope for this year, is the returning 2010 run were not infected. But, according to biologist Alexandra Morton, the real key to fighting for the future of BC’s fisheries is Dr Kristi Miller’s lab in Nanaimo.
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