Canadian Salmon Virus Controversy


Canadian Salmon Virus Controversy

By Michael Souza, About.com Guide
February 18, 2013

Looking for a moratorium on ocean-based fish farms

The infectious salmon anemia virus has become a problem in salmon aquaculture farms in eastern Canada. Or has it?

According to reports, the virus struck heavily this past summer. New Brunswick-based Cooke Aquaculture Inc. killed several thousand fish when the virus was discovered at a Shelburne Harbour farm. The company also killed another 40,000 at a smaller farm in waters near Liverpool. However, Cooke was allowed to transport about 240,000 infected fish from the farm near Liverpool to a fish processing plant in New Brunswick under inspection protocols of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Thus is appears the agency had given up trying to stamp out the disease, which is lethal to fish but not humans, to prevent the spread of the disease and no longer considering eradication an option. A CFIA news release said "Since infectious salmon anemia poses no risk to people, the CFIA allows fish from an affected facility to be processed under a CFIA-issued licence. As an added precaution, all fish destined for human consumption are inspected in accordance with the Fish Inspection Regulations. Fish that are not fit for human consumption are not permitted for processing."

Now, the Atlantic Salmon Federation is calling for Fisheries and Oceans Canada and provincial governments to place a moratorium on more ocean-based salmon farms in the Atlantic region. Obviously, infected farm salmon growing in ocean farms could infect endangered wild Atlantic salmon. But many aquaculture companies say that on-land farms are too expensive for large-scale production.

Don't expect the CFIA to change its stance anytime soon.