Petuna general manager Richard Miller said the industry is taking the lead in initiating and funding research into POMV. Image: Petuna

Tasmanian salmon farmer culls 100,000 fish

Salmon producer Petuna has culled around 100,000 salmon in its Macquarie Harbour farms due to an outbreak of Pilchard orthomyxovirus (POMV).

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With this measure, the firm’s representatives intend to prevent the spread of POMV, which so far has been detected in the company’s juvenile stock, Tasmanian newspaper The Advocate reported.

The naturally-occurring disease is spread by wild fish and does not pose a health risk to people who eat salmon.

POMV has been a reoccurring issue for Tasmania’s salmon industry and has led to hundreds of thousands of fish deaths in recent years.

Petuna had recorded a slight increase in fish mortality last month, however, POMV had not been detected in the company’s operations at that time.

Funding research

Petuna’s general manager of marine, Richard Miller, told The Advocate that the Tasmanian aquaculture industry is taking the lead in initiating and funding research into understanding POMV, including vaccine development.

The two other salmon companies who operate in Macquarie Harbour, Huon Aquaculture and Tassal, both told The Advocate they had not recently been affected by POMV or culled significant numbers of their stock.

Huon Aquaculture chief executive Peter Bender said mortality rates remained low and within the normal range of the company’s farms.

A Tassal spokesperson said harvesting was continuing as normal.