Featured image courtesy of Tavish Campbell.
Two years ago, almost to the day, the public became aware of a truly gory scene going on below the surface along one of Canada’s largest wild Sockeye Salmon migration routes. In the Fall of 2017, Tavish Campbell made a series of dives to an outflow pipe from the Brown’s Bay Packing Company, a farmed Atlantic Salmon processor in the Discovery Islands, British Columbia.
During those dives he found a horrifying scene, gallons of blood and other post-fish-processing materials being spewed into the open water. Tavish took samples of the outflow and found that it contained a highly infectious virus that is running rampant in farmed Atlantic Salmon, Piscine orthoreovirus, and parasitic intestinal worms from the farmed salmon. Evidence of this virus was found in infected wild salmon in the region, prompting outrage and action on the side of conservationists and environmentalists.
This December, Tavish returned to the dive site and found that the pipe is still blasting the same biological materials, which still tested positive for the infectious virus, into the sea despite Brown’s Bay Packaging’s insistence that they disinfect all of their discharge.
“2019 was the worst sockeye salmon return in Canadian history,” Campbell told Motherboard. “This is what extinction looks like and it’s happening right under our noses.”