The salmon farming company said its voluntary action is considered as a proactive fish health management. (Photo: Stock File/FIS)
Salmon company kills thousands of fish due to ISA suspicion
Monday, February 20, 2012, 23:40 (GMT + 9)
Cooke Aquaculture killed two cages’ worth of fish in Nova Scotia after routine testing on 10 February suggested the salmon had the Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) virus. The company called this voluntary action “proactive fish health management.”
ISA is a naturally occurring virus that spreads slowly and appears in wild fish in many parts of the world, including eastern Canada and the US, Cooke noted. The virus is harmful to salmon and can kill up to 90 per cent of infected fish, but poses no risks to human health.
The fishing group Mayday-Shelburne County says the possible virus outbreak is a reminder about the significant risks of large-scale fish farming.
"This disease has happened all over the world where farms are heavily stocked, farms close together, and this is what the Nova Scotia government is proposing for our coastline," said Sindy Horncastle, who heads the group, UPI reports.
Although Cooke Aquaculture decided to eliminate thousands of fish at one of its fish farms, the presence of ISA was never confirmed in them and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is continuing its testing.
“While this is only a suspect case of ISA, Cooke has taken the extremely proactive fish health approach of euthanizing the affected fish immediately rather than waiting for further testing results by the CFIA, which could take several weeks,” the company elaborated.
The aquaculture firm did not specify at which one of its farms the event took place. Con Kiley, director of the agency's aquatic animal health programme, explained that this information is kept under wraps because of privacy concerns, The Canadian Press reports.
Todd Dupuis, an executive director with the Atlantic Salmon Federation, was not surprised to hear about the suspected outbreak because the virus has been found in Canada before.
He said the Federation’s main concern is that the virus will spread to wild salmon stocks.
“The stocks are very depressed already in that region in the Bay of Fundy and southern coast of Nova Scotia,” he said. “They've got to make sure it doesn't get passed to what's left of the wild stocks.”
The fish killed will not be sold for human consumption even though they are allegedly safe to eat. Instead, they have been disposed of in an approved manner in compliance with the Province of Nova Scotia and CFIA.
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