CULTUS LAKE (NEWS1130) – Researchers say they’ve found evidence of the piscine reovirus, or PRV, in Cultus Lake cutthroat trout.

They say the virus causes heart and skeletal muscle inflammation in fish and it could spread to rainbow trout, kokanee, and dolly varden.

SFU Professor Rick Routledge says after testing the trout they caught, the PRV was a 99 per cent match to Norwegian strains that kill about 1 in 5 fish.

“It has been remarkably easy for independent scientists to find evidence of these diseases and that to me is very significant,” he says.

“If PRV has been found in a Cultus Lake sport fish, it could be contributing to the failure of the lake’s sockeye population to return in abundance.”

He says the cutthroat trout is also listed by the federal government wildlife committee as an endangered species.

The researchers say the finding should prompt the BC government to launch a study to find out how widespread PRV is.