We’ve been laying low on the latest virus/disease issue in B.C. because we didn’t want to muddy the waters.
And besides, the salmon farm companies have been doing a pretty good job getting their story out there.
Grieg Seafood announced earlier this month that there was a “weak positive” at a farm near Sechelt but further testing showed it was negative.
But there are a few gaps we want to address. For one, people don’t seem to understand that IHN is a virus which is found everywhere in the Pacific Ocean.
Yes. Everywhere. It’s been found in California, Oregon, Washington, B.C. and Alaska. One of our friends in salmon farming also told us it’s been found in Russia, Japan, and Korea (it got there thanks to exports of sockeye eggs to Japan from Alaska). They also said it’s been found in France, Italy and Germany (thanks to exports of rainbow trout for farming from Oregon to France) but that it has never been found in Norway.
So all you tinfoil hatters out there, you can’t blame this one on Norway.
But farms got it, therefore it must be from farms, right? OMG shut down the salmon farms!
That was a sarcastic logical fail. Because in reality IHN has been around for at least hundreds of years in the Pacific. It does not come from farms. It has always been in wild salmon, and always will be.
But ewww I don’t want to eat viruses in my salmon.
Don’t eat wild salmon then, since IHN is endemic in the wild salmon population. That means it is naturally found in wild salmon. If you have ever eaten wild salmon, chances are good you have eaten a fish virus too.
This wonderful website has a database of practically every incident of IHN ever recorded in wild and farmed fish populations. It’s not complete, but it’s better than anything we’ve ever seen.
With a few clicks, you can easily see that IHN is everywhere, and in a whole lot of fish in a whole lot of places. That Copper River sockeye, so over-marketed that suckers are willing to pay $22 per pound for it? It’s got viruses too.
Freaking out about viruses is a waste of energy. Viruses are everywhere. They are the most common form of life on this planet. They are on the keyboard currently being used to type this blog (especially if the kids have been touching it). They are on the hands you shook today. They are in the air you breathe. They are on the surface of the cup of half-caff mocha you had this morning from Starbucks. They are in the food you consume. There are millions of them in every single drop of seawater. Not even famous germophobe Howard Hughes, who locked himself in a movie theatre and peed in milk bottles, could escape viruses.
All creatures carry them, and almost all of them do no harm. When we eat those creatures, we eat those viruses. They do no harm to us because they have evolved to parasitize a certain host under certain conditions. Our biology is so radically different from a fish that it is almost impossible that a fish virus could evolve to infect humans, no more than we can give our dog the flu if we sneeze on him.
Are we making a case for you to go vegan? That’s your choice. But remember. Plants have viruses too. Those organic peppers you bought from the farmers market? They are quite likely carrying a plant virus. If you don’t want to eat things with viruses in them, don’t eat anything at all. Don’t even drink water. And don’t breathe.