Legislation to investigate ISA nears approval


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
November 17, 2011

Legislation calling for a U.S. investigation into the alleged discovery of infectious salmon anemia (ISA) in two juvenile sockeye salmon harvested from British Columbia waters is headed for President Obama’s desk.

Authored by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash), the legislation, which would also require the U.S. government to implement a plan to prevent the spread of the salmon virus, passed the U.S. Senate and House on Thursday as part of the “minibus” appropriations bill to avoid a government shutdown.

Submitted in mid-October, the bill is backed by all eight U.S. senators from the West Coast states of Washington, Oregon, California and Alaska.

“This is a major step forward to protect the thousands of Washington jobs that rely on healthy salmon,” said Cantwell. “This legislation will ensure that appropriate agencies prioritize detection, surveillance and response efforts. While infectious salmon anemia poses no threat to human health or seafood, we must stay ahead of the infection before it becomes a crisis.”

However, over a week ago, Canada’s Food Inspection Agency found no signs of ISA in wild or farmed salmon from British Columbia. Testing had been ongoing since mid-October, when a Atlantic Veterinary College laboratory reported that it had detected the virus.

But Canada’s Fisheries and Oceans Canada tested all 48 original samples, an each turned up negative. The results were verified by an independent laboratory in Norway.

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