Mowi’s Northern Harvest Sea Farms reports suspected ISA detection

Published on
August 18, 2020

A suspected case of infectious salmon anemia (ISA) has been discovered at a Northern Harvest Sea Farms site in Newfoundland, Canada.

The company, owned by Mowi, reported in a statement issued by the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association samples from one salmon taken from one cage at its Cinq Island Cove marine site, located off the south coast of Newfoundland, tested positive for ISA.

The cage contains around 200,000 Atlantic salmon, and the entire site houses three cages containing approximately 600,000 salmon, according to the company.

“Northern Harvest Sea Farms is working with the federal and provincial authorities and following best practices in the handling of this farm,” the company said. “The Cinq Island Cove marine site has been quarantined by [the Provincial Government Department of Fisheries and Land Resources] and the company is following all regulatory requirements.”

The infectious disease is not harmful to human health but can cause death rates as high as 90 percent in affected salmon populations.

Northern Harvest farms in Newfoundland have experienced several bouts with ISA in recent years, including an outbreak in April 2020 that forced it to cull 450,000 juvenile Atlantic salmon. It also suffered a mass die-off of around 2.6 million salmon in October 2019 due to high water temperatures.

Mowi rival Cooke Inc. has also experienced losses in Newfoundland due to ISA, with its Hood Cove and Seal Cove sites forced to cull hundreds of thousands of salmon due to potential exposure to the virus.

On 7 August, the company reported an additional positive ISA case at its Grip Cove marine cage site, which contains seven cages holding around 489,000 salmon.

Photo courtesy of Memorial University

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