Salmon Expert Speaks on CFIA Decision


Salmon expert speaks out after CFIA allows diseased fish to go to market
Erika Tucker, Global News : Friday, February 01, 2013 1:31 PM

TORONTO – An Atlantic salmon expert is speaking out against the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) decision to allow diseased salmon to be raised and sent to market in Nova Scotia.

The CFIA has allowed Cooke Aquaculture, an Atlantic salmon farming company, to continue to raise fish after they contracted a disease called infectious salmon anemia (ISA).

President of the Atlantic Salmon Federation Bill Taylor said that he was astonished these fish were identified as having ISA several months ago, yet there have been no steps to remove them.

“The accepted mode of operation right up until this instant has been: once you identify that a site has ISA…to get those fish out of the water as quickly as possible and disposed of,” Taylor told CBC News on Thursday. “And in this case, the fish were left in the water, grown to maturity, and now I understand they’re going to market. So the industry is looking to the Canadian public to consume a diseased fish.”

According to the CFIA, ISA is caused by an infectious virus, but is not a risk to human health. It is, however, a federally reportable disease in Canada, which means all suspected cases must be reported to the CFIA by law.

The CFIA website protocol says if ISA is found, they would carry out disease response activities including:

• controlling the movements of infected animals that people own or work with
• humanely destroying infected animals
• cleaning and disinfecting

Taylor called this case an “outrageous” situation, explaining that the CFIA has said themselves that they can’t contain the disease. He added there have been several outbreaks in Nova Scotia this year, with hundreds of thousands of salmon destroyed as a result.

“Canadian taxpayers have footed the bills to the tunes of many millions of dollars,” Taylor told CBC.

Taylor called for strict policies and best practices that are transparent so the industry and the public can have confidence in fish farming.

In April 2012, the CFIA had ordered Cooke Aquaculture to kill all of its salmon at their Shelburne Harbour fish farm after ISA was found. This followed an order to kill fish in two pens and quarantine the same site in February 2012, after ISA was detected in routine testing.

With files from The Canadian Press

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