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Cooke fish farm. (Photo: Cooke Aquaculture)

Cooke speeds up salmon harvest due to ISA virus detection

Click on the flag for more information about Canada CANADA
Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 22:20 (GMT + 9)

Infectious salmon anemia (ISA) detected at a Cooke Aquaculture operated aquaculture site on Newfoundland's south coast has forced the firm to harvest thousands of farmed salmon in advance.

Provincial Fisheries Minister Gerry Byrne confirmed that five of 35 fish tested in one of six open-pen cages near the community of Gaultois had the infection, CBC reported.

The minister clarified that the infection is naturally occurring, is not harmful to humans, and may have been spread from wild salmon in the area.

"As soon as it was identified, we issued a quarantine order to that site," Byrne said, clarifying that the company has decided to harvest all the fish at the site — beginning with the 50,000 in the cage where ISA was found.

The minister explained that the fish can still be sold to consumers because there are no health risks to humans, and added the fish will not need to be labelled as coming from a site infected with ISA.

The discovery comes at a critical time for the industry, which is mired in controversy over plans to develop a massive open-pen aquaculture operation in Placentia Bay proposed by Grieg Seafarms.

The provincial government has been championing growth in the industry — which has brought renewed economic life to much of the province's south coast — after a serious outbreak of the infection in 2013 left the sector reeling.
 
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