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Canada can’t eradicate salmon virus

30 Jan 2013
Scientists are worried about a repeat Chilean ISA catastrophe in Canada. Photo: infosurhoy

Scientists are worried about a repeat Chilean ISA catastrophe in Canada. Photo: infosurhoy

In the wake of four recent major outbreaks of the deadly infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) in Atlantic waters surrounding Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has said that it can’t eradicate the disease.

Karen Crocker, spokesperson for the St Mary’s Bay Coastal Alliance, said: “The Canadian and provincial governments must immediately put in place programmes and policies which will prevent yet more serious outbreaks of this pernicious disease.”

ISA been shown to create a 90% mortality rate in Atlantic salmon and can also infect cod, herring and brown trout.

Outbreaks in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in 2012 and 2013 resulted in CFIA ordering the slaughter of more than one million salmon along with huge compensation claims.

Scientists are saying that the four most recent outbreaks involve previously unknown versions of the virus.

In the most recent outbreak, New Brunswick-based Cooke Aquaculture announced that it would be selling two million pounds of its ISA contaminated salmon on the consumer market - there is as yet no known evidence it can affect humans.

Scientists say that the most effective short-term method for ISA prevention in open pen net salmon farms is adherence to strict siting guidelines for cages. The problem is that the siting guidance, which requires a minimum spacing of three kilometers between salmon feedlot sites, is often ignored.

According to some, complaints to the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (NSDFA) about the dangers of overcrowding have been ignored.

More than 100 organisations recently appealed to Nova Scotia premier Darrell Dexter for a moratorium on salmon farm development until the disease is under control - they want the Nova Scotia government to suspend the initial stocking of the Jordan Bay site scheduled for this spring until comprehensive bio-security regulations are put in place.

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Scientists are worried about a repeat Chilean ISA catastrophe in Canada. Photo: infosurhoy

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