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A molecular biology technician testing for ISA virus. (Photo: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, DFO)

New test results on salmon find no infectious anemia

Click on the flag for more information about Canada CANADA
Wednesday, November 09, 2011, 23:40 (GMT + 9)

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has retested a sample collection plus additional samples of Pacific salmon and found no signs of infectious salmon anemia (ISA), CFIA and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) have communicated.

"Based on the analysis conducted at the DFO national reference laboratory, there have been no confirmed cases of ISA in wild or farmed salmon in British Columbia (BC),” a CFIA spokesman clarified. “However, these supplementary results must be considered inconclusive because of the poor quality of the samples. Additional testing continues and results will be provided when ready,” he added, according to the Courier-Islander.

The previous test results, which had found ISA in the fish, were “unconfirmed” and had been announced by “anti-salmon farm campaigners” last month the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) argued.

"This is a significant result for everyone involved: researchers, regulators, wild salmon advocates, salmon farmers and our coastal communities," said BCSFA Executive Director Mary Ellen Walling. "After seeing the original news distributed in such an inflammatory way, we hope this update will allay those concerns."

On 17 October, Simon Fraser University announced that it had reached positive results of ISA in two of 48 smolt samples tested.

BCSFA said these findings clashed with every other previous test for ISA in the province, with nearly 5,000 fish analysed since 2003, which showed negative for the virus.

The allegation that ISA had been found in BC was cause for concern for BC salmon farmers who, while BCSFA claims were confident that the extensive testing showed ISA is not present in their farms, worried about the possible effect of the virus. Pacific salmon are relatively immune to it.

"This is a good example of why proper sampling, testing and reporting procedures are in place and should be followed: the unconfirmed report from Simon Fraser appeared to be designed to create as much hype as possible. This has cost significant resources in time and money in emergency follow-up while also potentially impacting international markets for our business," said Walling.

"We're pleased to see the thorough way CFIA is following up, but are dismayed at the way campaigners used this to create fear about our operations," she added.

CFIA continues to run its investigation. The salmon farming industry is contributing any additional information to the CFIA as needed, Walling explained, and meanwhile farmers will go on with their regular, ongoing sampling/monitoring programme.

Related articles:

-
Doubts mount on suspect ISA findings
- Retests show no conclusive evidence of ISA infection
- Reports on ISA in BC salmon unconfirmed: Govt

By Natalia Real
[email protected]
www.fis.com

Photo Courtesy of FIS Member  MPO - Pêches et Océans Canada - Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) (Headquarters)
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