The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed that 450,000 salmon at an aquaculture facility on Newfoundland’s south coast have been infected with infectious salmon anemia (ISA), and will have to be destroyed. Newfoundland and Labrador’s Fisheries Minister Darin King said the ISA virus came from wild fish and was discovered through routine testing. He said his department is now awaiting the agency’s order to destroy the fish.
“We’re just focused on encouraging the federal government to move quickly to get the fish out of the water and to follow the proper protocols to make sure we contain this and get the situation fixed,” stated Mr King. Mr King also confirmed the salmon farm is in Butter Cove and is owned and run by Gray Aqua Group. Officials with the company declined requests for interviews. However, a source close to the situation told CBC News that the farm in the Baie D’Espoir area has been on high alert for days.
They also said some mature fish at the facility have already died because of the disease. Miranda Pryor, executive director of the provincial aquaculture association, said the industry would recover. “What we do know from other regions that have dealt with ISA in the past because this is the first time we’ve dealt with it … it’s very manageable and we have regions of this country and other countries that have rebounded very well from dealing with a virus like this,” said Ms Pryor.
Mr King supported Pryor’s assertion adding that he doesn’t think this incident will harm the aquaculture industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. “[It’s] an unfortunate blip, but it happens. It happens in all parts of the world where aquaculture is occurring,” noted Mr King. Last month, 700,000 salmon were killed at a fish farm in Nova Scotia after fish there were also infected with ISA. The owner, Cooke Aquaculture, was compensated for its lost stock by the federal government.