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BC Salmon Farms Provide IHN Update

Salmonids Health Biosecurity +3 more

CANADA - Two preliminary positive test results for IHN (Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis) virus have been reported by BC salmon farmers this week.

Lucy Towers thumbnail

During routine fish health monitoring, Mainstream Canada identified a possible case of IHN at its Millar Point farm north of Tofino. The finding was immediately reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and public notification made.

Ongoing and regular fish health testing also returned a preliminary positive result on Grieg Seafoods Culloden Point farm in Jervis Inlet. Once again, all reports were made immediately.

These farm sites are now isolated and both companies are working with the CFIA on confirmatory testing and next steps. The farming community has also come together to enact a pre-developed action plan to manage the situation.

The work our members have put into proactive plans around protecting fish health is really exemplary, said Mary Ellen Walling, Executive Director. Everyone is working together to see our response carried out efficiently and effectively.

IHN is a natural virus of the Pacific Ocean, which can be carried regularly by wild salmon who have a natural resistance to it, studies show. They can carry the virus their whole lives without any negative impacts on their health. The health of Atlantic salmon, however, can be affected by IHN as they have not developed immunity to it.

IHN has no effect on human health.

In May this year, a farm in the north Tofino-area was diagnosed with IHN. Those fish were culled and composted and increased monitoring was put in place at other farms across British Columbia. This finding was the first of its kind in British Columbia in nearly 10 years.

As a result of reinstated increased biosecurity measures, the BC Salmon Farmers Associations public farm tours have been postponed. We are also asking for the publics assistance in respecting isolation measures by not approaching any farm site without first contacting the company directly.

The BCSFA will continue to update the public weekly.

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis by clicking here.