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DÉJÀ VU FOR FARMED FISH PANDEMIC?

A new disease has been reported in Norwegian rainbow trout hatcheries and broodstock facilities, said Norway’s veterinary institute.

The disease appears to be contagious and can cause partially high mortality, said the institute.

Typical disease symptoms are circulatory failure and anemia. Diseased fish often have heart inflammation.

The institute is working with the industry, the fish health service and the Norwegian food safety authority to find the cause of the disease and how it is transmitted. Preliminary data suggest it is caused by a virus. The affected hatcheries are located in the same region.

The disease is not harmful for humans.

Farming sites with infection or disease have to inform technicians and visitors who are in contact with the fish and with equipment that can carry the disease, such as well boats, divers, and service staff, said the NFSA.

Neighboring farms and customers who want to buy live fish or eggs must also be informed.

The requirement is valid for all, including those considering taking fry or eggs from affected sites, said the authority.

Note: The infectious salmon anemia (ISA) outbreak in Chile in 2009 was traced to infected salmon eggs from Norwegian hatcheries. The epidemic resulted in the destruction of millions of diseased fish, the overnight loss of thousands of jobs and the near collapse of the salmon farming industry in Chile.

ISA remains a threat to the Chilean industry.

ISA outbreaks in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in the past decade have resulted in the loss of millions of fish and payouts from the Canadian government to multi-national salmon producers of more than $100 million CDN. 

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