What the hell is turning pink salmon yellow in the Fraser River?

Alexandra Morton wants to know why pink salmon in B.C. are turning yellow.

Earlier this week, the biologist and environmentalist found four of these salmon up the Fraser River.

Morton has posted an open letter on her blog addressed to Laura Richards, Pacific regional director of science for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, demanding answers. She asserts the federal department must be aware of the case of the yellow salmon.

The biologist states:

We want the diagnosis on the yellow salmon. We want to know if we a getting a side order of brain tumour in the salmon we are eating. Please give us a timeline on receiving this information and when we can expect updates from you.

In her letter, Morton notes a provincial scientist has diagnosed a form of jaundice in farmed salmon that is similar to a virus found in coho salmon in Chile. Some B.C. fish farmers have operations in the South American country, she points out.

That's not all. Morton begins her letter with the following:

I am writing to ask for your progress report on the thousands of silver-bright sockeye and now Coho that are floating dead down the Fraser River tributaries feeding into the Harrison River. People on the river say this has been ongoing since early August reaching upstream of Harrison Lake and estimate 100,000 sockeye have died in this area without spawning.

"There is something very wrong here", Morton tells Richards.

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Comments (44) Add New Comment
Oh, Oh, I know, I know!
It's pee and other interesting household chemicals. Maybe from that fairly large city that drains directly into the Fraser River. I think it's called Vancouver.
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don in terrace
Pollution,. a combination of industry,. multitude of boats running up and down the river,. fish are clean when they leave the ocean and when travelling thru johnson straite they're nice & silver,. after they get there-- weird things happen,.
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fxjbird
I think you don't just mean Vancouver. You must also mean Abbotsford.... and Mission, Maple Ridge, Coquitlam, New West..... you get the picture
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James G
What the Hell has turned all the pink activists green in communities along the Fraser River?

Oh, Oh, I know, I know!

It's salaries and skyrocketing house values. Maybe from inventing issues like "sustainability" I can still look like an activist while my investments flow capital into my accounts like a river.

It's called Denial.
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RadBoy
Maybe Fukushima? Do they glow in the dark?
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Goldorak
It is what makes environmentalists who predicted low numbers of slamon turn green: anger! LOL
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Odd
The article said:
"....floating dead down the Fraser River tributaries feeding into the Harrison River."
&
"...found four of these salmon up the Fraser River."


Clearly these salmon are not affected by the lower mainland population. Tributaries above the Harrison are virtual wilderness areas!
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Anissa Reed
I was with her talking the pictures and samples... It is disease people. the livers are green with yellow/red spots. The flesh of the fish is almost yellow. These fish were full of eggs and milt. The Chinook in the salmon farm feedlots in Clayoquot Sound may have the very same thing (we learned at the Cohen Commission) Are they spreading disease to our wild salmon? I would like to know but DFO director Dr Laura Richards just told us on the stand at Cohen that it is no ones job to look at the disease records of those feedlots.
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JRinAB
Those of us outside the scare press universe know that yellow is the fish equivalent of being albino. Some yellow individuals are common in all large populations of fish.
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satinka
OMG...it's GLOWING!!! Do you suppose the pollution is NOT being regulated??? Anyway, who is regulating? Bribe$ can turn aside many eyes.
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GOT
to paraphrase Bob Dylan: they're not yellow, they're chicken! In fact, the one in the photo looks like it's developing drumsticks - this could be good!
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Realist
Good grief. Salmon, which start rotting as soon as they hit freshwater to go spawn, look yellow so it MUST be a disease from salmon farms hundreds of miles away? Give me a break. And fish die before spawning all the time, it's because they are crowded in a small area, in warm water with low oxygen levels. Someone get a real scientist out there to debunk this nonsense please.
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cleanandsober
there is a better link - http://grassstruggle.blogspot.com/
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commy
they look normal like spawning salmon that are in river dying
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Steve406
It is unfortunate that people like Anissa Reed are so easily led down the garden path by people like Alexandra Morton. What is even more unfortunate is that people like Anissa have given up their ability to think rationally and objectively and have instead left this up to someone like Ms. Morton who has no experience or training with fish pathology.

These pinks are dying because they are programmed to die following spawning or even if they do not successfully spawn. Their livers are failing and their bile ducts are enlarging. That is why they are turning yellow. This is very common. With no more nutrition once they are freshwater, these pinks are going to start to have things change inside of them. The organs including the kidneys and the liver change. The liver begins to retain glycogen and begins to atrophy. The deep red colour gradually becomes more grey-green. The longer these spawning salmon are in freshwater, other pathogens like parasites begin to wear away at these fish. Lastly, you have to ask Morton how long these particular fish she is holding were dead for.

People like Morton and Anissa needs to go out to the spawning grounds more often and spend less time on blogs posting crap.
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Skywalker
this is what happens when we play god and farm salmon. i wouldn't eat farm salmon anyway, stick to the real deal.
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Priscilla Judd
As long as you attack people who care about salmon - you lose credibility. Considering what has been going on in the Chile salmon farms - it doesn't take a genius or a biologist to ask DFO why are our salmon yellow? Look at the pictures - is that just rotting flesh from a dying salmon heading up river to spawn?

http://salmonguy.org

It looks more like a disease from a virus that our wild sockeye salmon carry IHNV (v for virus). Has the virus spread to pink salmon now? DFO should be checking these fish because DFO told me that the IHN Virus is only found in Sockeye but maybe it's the ISA virus that was found in Chile's salmon farms :

http://aqua.merck-animal-health.com/news/2007-11-22.aspx

“The fish showed the classical external and internal signs of ISA such as pale gills, skin petechiae and hemorrhages, anemia, ascites, congestion and enlargement of liver and spleen. Presence of hemorrhagic ascites in the abdominal cavity and pericardium was also observed. Tissue samples taken for histopathology revealed diffuse hemorrhagic necrosis in the tissues and was highly suspicious for ISAV infection”

They are talking about Farmed Salmon in Chile. This disease is not being taken seriously by the people commenting on this post. I talked to a DFO scientist on Thursday - DFO knows our salmon carry the IHNVirus - he told me that they carry the virus and the disease develops when the salmon are stressed from warm water, pollution or lack of food.

Whether the salmon farms catch it or spread it - is not really the point - what matters is that we limit every potential virus carrier when and where we can, because our wild salmon are very important to BC.

That means salmon farms - because they can be operated in containment and because they stress out wild salmon with their tons of fish poop and because farms can be regulated right out of the ocean where other things like climate change can't be fixed by DFO.

read here
http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/12514/environmental-scandal-in-chile

“… salmon farms... [have] devastating impacts on the region’s entire ecosystem – not least because Atlantic salmon is an alien species in Chile, introduces diseases and therefore poses an additional risk to already threatened native species.”

I have seen lots of dead salmon and I never saw a bright yellow salmon before - they usually go grey... People who associate disease with salmon farms have looked at what happened in Chile - it's just logic that makes you want to ask if salmon farms play a part in disease in our wild salmon.

We can't stop the disease - but we can limit the places where the disease can grow.

DFO says that only Sockeye have the IHN virus/isease - so has it spread to pink salmon now? We know Atlantic salmon have ISA virus/disease because it's been reported in Chile.

People like me, who use their real name and ask questions are not against fish farms - we just want fish farming on land, like every other farm operation.

Why does it say to use your real name to post comments here when clearly fake names are getting published?
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Steve406
These so called "defenders of wild salmon" lose credibility when they put their agendas first instead of the fish. You need to eliminate the obvious and most plausible candidates before you jump to conclusions about something strange happening. Any competent biologist knows that. Even most elementary school kids that visit the spawning grounds during field trips know that. Instead, these "defenders" want to automatically associate this with salmon farming - doing whatever they can to get the publicity they so desparately crave. If these "defenders" would actually spend the time on the spawning grounds and observe instead of these public relations stunts then they might get some more credibility. In addition, if they approached those involved a little more professionally they might get a better response.
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Ian Whitehouse

That is no 'albino" salmon......and a yellow salmon is NOT the equivalent of an albino salmon. By the way.....if you even see ONE real albino salmon you have seen one more than 99% of the population.

I've watched thousands of Pinks move up rivers and spawning channels in my life ....and they don't turn Yellow. Neither do Coho, Chinook or Sockeye. Chum ,at times, can have a very miniscule pate of yellowish hue mixed in . But it is almost non -evident.

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Patrick O'Harra
Um, IHNV can infect Chinook, chum, amago, yamama, cutthroat, rainbow/steelhead, brook & brown trout.
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