Oh Nova! As if we didn't have enough worries about our food supply, now a lethal (to salmon) virus that previously had only been seen in fish farms has been found in wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest. This could be really bad, and not just for fans of bagels. Farms hit by the infectious salmon anemia virus in the past decades have seen 70 percent or more of their stock wiped out. In the wild, such a blight could be disastrous not just for the fish, but also for animals in their ecosystems (like bears) that live off them. What's worse, the disease wasn't even lethal until we started forcing salmon into fish farms.
Researchers said at a recent news conference that they've found the virus in two of 48 juvenile sockeye salmon randomly collected off the coast of British Columbia, during a study to try and understand the decline in the number of young sockeye. They may have found their answer. Researchers are now pushing for more studies to figure out how widespread this is. James Winton, who leads the fish health research group at the Western Fisheries Research Center in Seattle, an arm of the United States Geological Survey, called it a "disease emergency."
And of course the lethal version of the disease appears to be our fault:
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infectious salmon anemia virus morphed from a benign form in nature into a “novel virulent strain” when salmon stocks entered Norway’s densely packed salmon farms. Rather than getting picked off by a predator, a sick fish would undergo a slow death in a crowded pen, shedding virus particles.
So yeah, by stuffing salmon into close quarters we may, in the end, have hastened their demise. Maybe Agent Smith was right: we are the virus. Good thing the Rapture is almost upon us!