News story

Date: 02-Jan-2013
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Clayton Hunt  RSS Feed

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed on December 17, 2012 that an Infectious Salmon Anaemia virus (ISAv) was discovered at a commercial aquaculture site in the Coast of Bays. The confirmation was made following a series of internationally recognized test for ISA at a Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) laboratory in Moncton, New Brunswick.

A spokesperson of Aquatic Animal Health with the provincial Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (DFA), said that analysis conducted to date (December 19) did not point to this new case of ISA being related to the first presence of the virus in the COB last summer. It was stated that the virus is a normal risk associated with fish farming and DFA veterinarians and technicians perform regular testing and it is through such a proactive testing regime again that this second occurrence of ISA was found, it was advised. The new virus is said not to be due to a breach in biosecurity protocols put in place to protect the industry, as the isolates or samples taken and tested differed from the earlier virus identified in the summer.

"If the new samples at Pot Harbour were like those at Butter Cove I would tell you that biosecurity breaches must have occurred and that the virus travelled from one site to another, a distance of approximately 12 km.

"But because these new samples are distinct, then that's the evidence we use to say that this new case is definitely not due to a biosecurity breach - that this is something that has to be within the environment."

ISA poses no risk for humans but could be harmful to fish. How harmful, depends on the strain of virus found in any site. One type of ISA that doesn't pose any problems to fish. However, it is known that in some places there are 17 different types of ISA and some cases are more harmful than others. The type of ISA doesn't really matter in that the proven scientific way to stop the spread of the virus is to kill out a site and leave it to lie fallow for a period of time - at least a year or longer.

A spokesperson for the CFIA said on December 18 that the Agency will order the 300,000 to 350,000 salmon from the affected four cages to be humanely destroyed and disposed of. Pens, cages and equipment will be cleaned and disinfected. Once cleaning and disinfecting is complete, the Agency will evaluate the facility to determine when the quarantine may be removed.

 Quarantine was placed on the site on November 27 and remains in place to control movements of people, vessels, equipment and fish onto or off the site.


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