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Pathogen susceptibility of Sockeye Salmon – phase 1: Infectious Salmon Anemia virus (ISAV) and Alphavirus (SPDV)



In recent years, Sockeye Salmon populations in Canada have been experiencing declines in productivity; of particular note are the Fraser River Sockeye Salmon stock. The reasons for this decline remain speculative, but it is thought the susceptibility of Sockeye to pathogens may be a key contributing factor. However, the susceptibility of Sockeye Salmon to Infectious Salmon Anemia virus (ISAV) or Salmon Alphavirus (SPDV or SAV) has never been tested. These pathogens are known to affect cultured Atlantic Salmon in various salmon producing regions and countries (e.g., ISAV on the east coast of Canada, ISAV and SPDV in Norway). This research project will examine disease resistance or susceptibility of Sockeye Salmon to pathogens known to affect Atlantic Salmon, the wild-farmed interactions of these two species and the potential transmission of disease for a priority list of pathogens (ISAV, SPDV). Additionally, for Sockeye Salmon, this project will explore the viral interaction of ISAV at a cellular level (e.g., using gill tissue) and determine if a long-term immune response is produced when exposed to the virus. This research is necessary in order to predict the consequences of an introduction or outbreak of these pathogens at an aquaculture site to the health and sustainability of Sockeye Salmon. The results of this project will allow Fisheries and Oceans Canada to improve disease surveillance, detection and management strategies and ultimately help to minimize the impacts of pathogens on cultured and wild fish.

This project supports the optimal fish health objective of the Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP), and pertains to the 2014-15 national ACRDP priorities: : 1) to manage fish health by increasing knowledge, understanding and developing better management practices with respect to disease impacts on finfish cultured species; and 2) to explore wild-farmed interactions by increasing understanding of the interactions between farmed finfish species and wild species.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2014 - 2018


Atlantic: Gulf of Maine, Scotian Shelf

Principal Investigator(s)

Nellie Gagné

Collaborative Partner(s)

Marine Harvest Canada

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