How many movies can you count where an "incurable disease" threatens the worlds population? No worries if you can't think of any off-hand… they're still making them!
Unfortunately, this old plot is a bit too close to home for our local Puget Sound salmon runs. Recent news has reported a sample of wild Sockeye in British Columbia have contracted a European strain of Salmon Anemia. Which of course, is non-curable.This fish flu has historically only affected (devastated) the Atlantic Salmon farms in Norway, Scotland, Chile, and Eastern Canada but has never shown up on the Pacific side of the world… until now.
Like me, you may be asking what Atlantic Salmon are doing in the Pacific mixing with our own superior wild salmon species? Well, our northerly neighbors in British Columbia have been farming the Atlantic species for years now, buying the eggs from Norway (just like Chile did). Then it dawned on me that we have some aquatic salmon pens about 5 miles west of Beach Drive just inside the southern tip of Bainbridge Island inside Rich Passage.
I've motored over to the pens a few times each summer showing guests salmon splashing around and the seals begging a few get loose. A little research revealed: "Oly Yump'n yalmon!" those are Atlantic Salmon being farmed by American Gold Seafood for buyers such as Whole Foods who sells the fish outside our local market area (it's a "socially sensitive subject" in these parts). American Gold Seafood owns and operates over 120 salmon pens in Washington waters with this villian fish yet claim superior farming methods as compared to other competing sites. They have not detected the virus.
We've recently noticed the UW research vessel Thomas G Thompson snooping around between Beach Drive and Blake Island wondering if they're probing some of our friendly salmon or herring in their floating laboratory (place dramatic sci-fi music here).
Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog