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Mowi culling 450,000 fish after ISA is confirmed at hatchery

The hatchery at Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador.
The hatchery at Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mowi subsidiary Northern Harvest Smolt Limited (NHSL) is culling 450,000 juvenile salmon after the discovery of infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) at its Indian Head hatchery in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

NHSL announced on March 27 that routine sampling had indicated a suspected detection of ISA in three salmon parr at the hatchery.

Today it said that follow-up sampling identified eight fish as positive for pathogenic ISA, and six fish as positive for non-pathogenic ISA.

Used for biofuel

“In response to this confirmation, and in keeping with best practice, NHSL is culling all 450,000 juvenile Atlantic salmon that were raised with these positive fish,” said the company.

“The investigation is continuing with further sampling. Should further fish be confirmed ISA positive through sampling, additional measures may be announced.”

All culled fish will be transported to a facility within the province that will convert them into biofuel.

Disinfecting process

“Post-cull, the facility will undergo a disinfecting process to ensure any presence of ISA is eradicated,” said NHSL in a statement on the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association website.

“An enhanced program of additional testing and monitoring will continue at the facility with the involvement of regulatory authorities after the cull.”

NHSL said the hatchery would remain quarantined until the quarantine is lifted by regulatory authorities.

Revised production plans

The cull, disinfection, and continued monitoring activity will be conducted using standard operating procedures approved by regulators.

The company pointed out that ISA is not a human health issue or a food safety issue.

“We thank our staff for their hard work and professionalism as they responded to this issue. NHSL will now proceed with making revisions to its production planning, and remains committed to continuing productive operations in Stephenville, and throughout Atlantic Canada,” stated the company.