The actions of anti-salmon farming activists who continue to disregard biosecurity measures are putting salmon farms and jobs at risk.
Mainstream Canada employees and contractors who were disposing of IHN-infected fish from Dixon Bay farm in Port Alberni were harassed by anti-salmon farming activists Tuesday morning. Some of them violated biosecurity protocols in place at the offload and disposal site.
"It is frustrating and concerning that anti-salmon farming activists choose to ignore biosecurity protocols," said Laurie Jensen, Communications and Corporate Sustainability Manager for Mainstream Canada. "By being careless about biosecurity they could end up spreading virus and disease themselves."
Mainstream Canada has been working diligently with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and following the agency's advice to maintain strict biosecurity while we dispose of our fish. The company is concerned about any violations of these measures.
"Anti-salmon farming activists only seem concerned about advancing their anti-salmon farming ideology. Their actions could put millions more fish at other farms and thousands of jobs at risk," Jensen said.
The IHN virus detected in Mainstream Canada's fish at Dixon Bay farm poses no risk to wild salmon or humans.
"However, if the virus is not quickly and properly contained, as we have been doing, it could become a bigger problem, especially if people do not respect the biosecurity measures we have in place," Jensen said.
Activists in Port Alberni included the same individual who ignored Mainstream Canada's requests to stay away from Dixon Bay farm for biosecurity reasons.
The fish disposal has been undertaken following Canadian Food Inspection Agency protocol. The fish have been contained every step of the way. They were taken out of Dixon Bay farm in secure well boats; transported to Port Alberni along a route which went nowhere near any other farms; and were offloaded and transported to the composting facility in secure containers.The site is now empty.
The company is now focused on developing a plan for cleaning and disinfecting the farm site, as per the requirements of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Last week, the provincial Animal Health Laboratory detected the presence of the IHN virus using multiple tests, prompting Mainstream Canada to act quickly to remove fish from the farm site. On Tuesday, May 22, the presence of the IHN virus was confirmed in a cell culture done by the provincial lab.
The initial tests also included screening for the presence of the ISA and VHS viruses and the bacteria which causes BKD. Both screening and confirmatory tests were only positive for IHNV.