Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Canadians Refute Reports of ISA Virus In Wild Salmon

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are saying their tests have found no confirmed cases of the infectious salmon anemia virus, after investigating earlier reports that the virus was found in wild Pacific salmon.

A spokesperson for the CFIA said during a news conference on Nov. 8 that that agency, is continuing to investigate reports of the ISA virus in British Columbia, collaborating with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the province of British Columbia and the Atlantic Veterinary College.

The Canadian spokesperson said all 48 samples received as part of the original investigation were tested and found to be negative for the virus, and that these findings were consistent with those of an independent laboratory in Norway, which also tested samples associated with this investigation.

The virus was initially detected in two of 48 juvenile sockeye salmon which were part of a long-term study of sockeye salmon let by Rick Routledge, a researcher at Simon Fraser University. Fred Kibenge of the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island then confirmed the presence of the ISA virus in two fish.

Their reports prompted concern in both Canada and the United States that the virus, which is lethal to Atlantic salmon, could spread to wild Pacific salmon stocks.

U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington State, as well as Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, are calling on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to conduct its own tests on the fish.

Previous outbreaks of the ISA virus in Chile and Norway have done significant damage to their fishing industries.

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