Deadly IHN Salmon Virus Turns up at Fish Farm on Sunshine Coast


Watch this CTV video news report on the discovery of IHN virus, known to cause the deadly Heart and Skeletal Muscular Inflammation disease in farmed fish, a yet another fish farm – this time in Jervis Inlet on the Sunshine Coast. (Aug. 3, 2012)

Another salmon farm in British Columbia is dealing with an outbreak of IHN, a fatal virus that can devastate fish populations.

Greig Seafood says its farm on Culloden Point, in Jervis Inlet on the Sunshine Coast, north of Vancouver, has produced preliminary positive results for IHN, or infectious haematopoietic necrosis virus.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is doing more tests and final confirmation is expected over the weekend. In the meantime, the company has voluntarily quarantined the facility.

IHN was also detected on Monday at a Mainstream Canada facility north of Tofino, in Millar Channel. Mainstream has also isolated the site to try to limit the spread of the virus. It says there have been no mass fish die-offs at the farm since the discovery.

In May, the virus was detected at another Mainstream Canada farm in Tofino, this time at a fish farm in Dixon Bay. The company says that given the length of time between the cases, it doesn’t think the virus at Millar Channel came from the Dixon Bay farm.

“Migrating wild salmon, natural carriers of the virus, are a more likely source,” the company said in a news release.

IHN is a virus that causes fish bellies to swell and can quickly lead to death, especially in younger fish. The virus is considered endemic to the Pacific Coast and is transmitted in the water through infected fish feces, urine and external mucous.

It’s often fatal in farmed Atlantic salmon, because the fish are not native to the Pacific Ocean and do not have any natural resistance.