Marine Harvest slaughters fish on virus signs

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Infectious salmon anemia, or ISA, is suspected at a company grow-out in Rogaland County, southwest Norway, and the market-sized fish are already being slaughtered.

Should ISA be confirmed, Marine Harvest will hurry up the process of emptying its pens. “Now we’re just waiting to see if the diagnosis will be verified, and if it sticks, then we’ll intensify processing and speed up the facility’s emptying,” said company communications head, Ola Helge Hjetland.

Anyone travelling through the area or involved in local aquaculture should so some necessary caution to avoid an outbreak of the disease, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority stated.

Marine Harvest warned health officials that they suspected ISA on Thursday after tissue tests using the polymerase chain reaction method, or PCR. Early analysis suggests the indicated virus is not of a type known as HPRO, a sign an outbreak could be at hand.

To avoid a wider outbreak, Food Safety authorities have ruled out the moving of fish without their permission. The disease is known to progress slowly with high death rates.