Mowi Canada suspects ISA outbreak at Newfoundland farm

Mowi Canada East is experiencing a suspected infectious salmon anemia virus outbreak at its Little Burdock Cove in Newfoundland.

Mowi Canada East is experiencing a suspected infectious salmon anemia virus outbreak at its Little Burdock Cove in Newfoundland.

In a 30 July announcement, the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries, Forestry, and Agriculture’s aquatic animal health surveillance program said the ISA detection came from one test within one net-pen at the farm, and has not yet been confirmed.

The net-pen, which contains an estimated 22,891 fish with an average weight of 2.6 kilograms, is now being quarantined

“If this suspect detection is confirmed, Mowi will advise of response measures within 24 hours of confirmation,” it said. “The company is taking all responsible steps under the oversight of the FFA and is following government approved policies.”

Mowi Canada has struggled with ISA at its Newfoundland farms. In March 2022, it announced the discovery of infections salmon anemia (ISA) in its Stephenville, Newfoundland -based hatchery, resulting in its euthanizing of the 2.26 million affected salmon in the hatchery.

It also had an ISA detection at its Friar Cove marine site in January 2022. The detection occurred in two cages, which contained approximately 165,000 fish at an average weight of one kilogram each. In September 2021, the company lost 489,000 salmon at “The Gorge,” a facility in Newfoundland, and in its Q4 earning report the company reported it lost more than 1.7 million fish in Eastern Canada in 2021 – including 570,238 salmon from its Deep Water Point site and 184,598 salmon at the Little Burdock Cove site. The company also lost more than 210,000 salmon at its Little Bay, Chaleur Bay, and Friar Cove farming sites.

The company started operations in the region following the acquisition of Northern Harvest in 2018, and since that time has had a “string of unfortunate biological incidents,” Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim said during the company’s Q3 2021 results. The incidents caused the company to delay planned salmon-farm expansions in the region.

Other salmon-farming companies active in Newfoundland have also struggled with ISA there. Cooke Aquaculture faced issues in 2020 its Hood Cove and Seal Cove salmon sites and at its Grip Cove marine cage site in Gaultois, Newfoundland. In 2021, Grieg Seafood Newfoundland announced it was delaying plans to stock facilities in Marystown, Newfoundland after a suspected positive test for ISA in a single fish. The positive test led the company to cull almost one million fish that were scheduled for sea transfer in summer 2021.

Photo courtesy of Mowi Canada


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