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Is disease affecting salmon abundance?

By Pacific Salmon Foundation, 🕔Tue, Feb 10th, 2015


If you followed the news stories about salmon last year, you may remember the concern around salmon disease. Although disease is suspected to be a significant factor in the high mortality rate of salmon, scientists don't know enough about what specific pathogens or diseases may be involved.

Through the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, the Pacific Salmon Foundation is partnering with Genome BC and Fisheries and Oceans Canada on the Strategic Salmon Health Initiative. The initiative will investigate the possible presence of 47 known microbes of salmon in all species of wild salmon, hatchery-reared salmon, and aquaculture-raised (sea pens) Atlantic salmon. Just as the human body is full of bacteria, not all microbes in fish are necessarily harmful.

A brand new approach to salmon disease

The five-year project will consist of four phases to answer if present microbes are causing problems, and are linked to the disappearance of juvenile Chinook and Coho salmon once they leave freshwater. While traditional methods of monitoring fish health are not sensitive enough to detect disease in the early stages, recent advances in molecular and genomic technology has made this possible. This will be the first time these technologies are being applied to wild migrating salmon.

Leveraging and matching your donations

Just like other projects through the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, donors can look to in-kind support from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and funding from Genome BC to maximize their donations. Genome BC is funding one-third of the project and Fisheries and Oceans Canada is providing access to labs, staff, vessels and equipment. 

Here's four easy ways to support the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project:

1. Donate online through our secure online portal at

2. Text SALMON to 45678 to make a $10 tax-deductible donation.

3. Shop our online store

4. Mail a cheque to:
     Pacific Salmon Foundation
     300 – 1682 West 7th Avenue
     Vancouver, BC V6J 4S6

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