Company identifies N.S. fish farm site with suspected salmon virus
Atlantic salmon swim in a pen in Eastport, Maine, October 2008. (AP / Robert F. Bukaty and Jason Leighton)
HALIFAX - The company at the centre of a suspected salmon virus outbreak has confirmed which Nova Scotia fish farm it involves.
Cooke Aquaculture spokeswoman Nell Halse said Tuesday that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is testing fish samples from the company's operation in Shelburne Harbour, N.S., for infectious salmon anemia.
Halse said although the company is not required to do so, it decided to go public following news reports naming the Shelburne site and to remove suspicions cast by opponents of another farming site in St. Mary's Bay in the Digby Neck area.
"There's no secret that this farm with the two suspect cages was in the Shelburne area," said Halse.
She said Cooke Aquaculture found no signs of infectious salmon anemia at any of its other farms after routing testing and surveillance. The company owns nine fish farming operations in Nova Scotia.
Both the federal inspection agency and the provincial government have refused to identify the site in question, citing privacy concerns.
Cooke Aquaculture first reported on Feb. 17 that it had destroyed two cages of fish at one of its operations after routine testing detected suspected infectious salmon anemia on Feb. 10.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the virus is not a human health threat or food risk, but it can kill up to 90 per cent of infected fish depending on the strain.