Cooke Aquaculture has been urged to take actions as a result of ISA virus. (Photo: YouTube/Maine.gov/FIS)
Govt orders Cooke Aquaculture to destroy remaining fish
Friday, April 27, 2012, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has ordered Cooke Aquaculture to kill all the fish at one of its fish farms in Shelburne, Nova Scotia due to the presence of the infectious salmon anemia (ISA) virus.
In February, the company destroyed two cages of fish at this farm after tests indicated the possibility of ISA infection. The company killed more fish after the presence of the virus was confirmed.
Now, as more cases have been confirmed, the CFIA wants Cooke to eliminate and dispose of the whole lot of fish.
The company will have to destroy all of its fish and disinfect every pen, cage and piece of equipment. The farm site remains under quarantine until the whole process is finished, which could take months, CBC News reports.
"Some will make this into a terrible story and say this is a disaster for the industry," Cooke Spokesperson Nell Halse told New Brunswick Telegraph Journal reports.
"I think people should look at it the other way around. This is a case that shows that the government of Canada has a very good agency that deals with animal health, and that we have good testing procedures . . . and protocols that are working. That's the other way of looking at it," she commented.
Nova Scotia Fisheries Minister Sterling Belliveau said he does not think the viral outbreak has spread beyond the site or that the disease would harm the province's salmon farming industry, The Canadian Press reports.
"This is one area that has been quarantined and has been heavily monitored," Belliveau said. "I see this as part of reality. This is a serious issue but the process is in place to manage this."
In contrast, Susanna Fuller, a marine co-ordinator at the Ecology Action Centre, believes the spread of ISA represents the dangers of the farmed fish sector.
"The outbreak brings very close to home the risks of this industry," she said. "This is the kind of thing that happens when we have a high density of fish being farmed in a small area."
Fuller said the Ecology Action Centre maintains that the open-pen systems used by Cooke, which she says are not sustainable, should be substituted by closed pens, which do not have disease transfer and don't use pesticides and they treat their waste.
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By Natalia Real