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Chilean ISA Outbreak "under control"

CHILES ISA OUTBREAK IS UNDER CONTROLCHILE - Ninty Percent Of Infected Fish have now been exterminated wrtites Benjamin Witte, Santiago Times.

Chiles National Fish Service (SERNAPESCA) confirmed this week that southern salmon farmers have killed off 90 percent of fish thought to carry Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA), a highly contagious virus recently detected on fish farms around Region Xs Chilo Island.

Chilo accounts for nearly 50 percent of the salmon produced by Chiles US$2.2 billion farmed salmon industry.

The announcement came one week after SERNAPESCA implemented a contingency plan that called for the quarantine and slaughter of infected fish (PT, Aug. 8). It also comes on the heels of a report by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which revealed that Chilean fish farmers have thus far killed more than one million fish. Another 220,000 fish have died as a result of the illness, said the OIE report, which was based on data provided by Chiles Agriculture Ministry.

The ISA outbreak is centered around Chilos Lemuy Island. Though it wasnt officially acknowledged until late July (PT, July 31), the problem was, in fact, first detected in mid June, the OIE report said.

Four fish farms three owned by Marine Harvest, the other owned by Aguas Claras/AquaChile are known to have been directly affected. SERNAPESCA is keeping a watchful eye on 29 other farms located in the highly-concentrated salmon producing region.

ISA, not dissimilar to influenza, is a deadly virus that spreads easily and quickly. Symptoms include a paling of the salmons gills, swelling of the liver and spleen, and internal hemorrhaging.

According to Dr. Sandra Bravo, a marine biologist from the Chiles Universidad Austral, the illness was first discovered in 1984 on fish farms in Norway, the worlds leading salmon producing country. In 1996 ISA was detected in Canada, where it devastated New Brunswicks then-budding farmed salmon industry. Scotland, another important salmon producing country, has had problems with the disease as well.

Transmission of the disease is thought to be aided by Caligus, also known as sea lice. Caligus, a major problem in Chiles salmon industry, are parasitic crustaceans that attach themselves to fish, creating lesions that render their hosts susceptible to various diseases, including ISA.

Source: Santiago Times