Northern Harvest culling 450,000 fish after ISA found

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Mowi subsidiary confirms virus and says it needs to cull a large amount of juvenile salmon.

In a press release, Northern Harvest Smolt (NHSL) writes that the suspect detection of infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) at its hatchery located in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, has just been confirmed.

Follow up sampling at the facility identified eight fish as positive for pathogenic ISA, and six fish as positive for non-pathogenic ISA.

In response, NHSL has to cull all 450,000 juvenile Atlantic Salmon that were raised with these positive fish.

“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 these fish into biofuel. Post cull, the facility will undergo a disinfecting process to ensure any presence of ISA is eradicated,” wrote NHSL.

Additional testing and monitoring will continue at the facility with the involvement of regulatory authorities after the cull, it added.

Furthermore, the facility will remain in a state of quarantine until it is lifted by regulatory authorities.

“As noted previously, the suspect positive result was identified through our compliance with continuous testing protocols led by regulators. Per regulation, the suspect positive discovery was disclosed within 24 hours of detection, and in keeping with the industry‚Äôs focus on public disclosure, NHSL is now publicly announcing the ISA confirmation and our response. We remind that ISA is not a human health issue or a food safety issue,” it added.

Previously named Indian Head Hatchery, NHSL provides smolt to sea cages of the Northern Harvest Sea Farms. Mowi, then called Marine Harvest, acquired the hatchery along with Northern Harvest’s assets in a multimillion deal in 2018.