Nfld. & Labrador

ISA virus found in salmon at southern Newfoundland aquaculture site

Northern Harvest Sea Farms killed off all salmon at site as required by regulations

Posted: March 30, 2018

There have now been three cases of ISA-infected salmon found at Newfoundland aquaculture sites since October. (Aqua Maof Group/Submitted)

More farmed salmon have been found at a Newfoundland aquaculture site with infectious salmon anemia (ISA).

ISA is a finfish disease that has to be reported by law in Canada, but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says it poses no risk to humans.


The Newfoundland and Labrador government has confirmed that ISA was detected in salmon being farmed at the aquaculture site in Spyglass Cove, near the community of Pool's Cove on the south coast of the island.

The site is owned and operated by New Brunswick-based company Northern Harvest Sea Farms.

The salmon farm with the infected fish is in Spyglass Cove in southern Newfoundland, and is operated by Northern Harvest Sea Farms. (Google Maps)

According to the province, once ISA was found at the site the CFIA was notified and the company killed the fish as required by regulatory standards.

It's the third known time in six months that an aquaculture site has had to harvest all its fish following the discovery of ISA.

Cooke Aquaculture harvested all the fish at its site near Gaultois last October following the detection of five fish with the infectious disease, and did so again in a facility on the south coast of Newfoundland in February. 

Province to step up testing

The provincial government says it will be doing enhanced surveillance at the Spyglass Cove aquaculture site as a result of the ISA outbreak.

Anyone who suspects ISA in finfish that they own or work with is required by law to notify the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The discovery comes at a critical time for the industry, which is mired in controversy over plans to develop a massive open-pen aquaculture operation in Placentia Bay proposed by Grieg Seafarms.

The provincial government has been championing growth in the industry — which has brought renewed economic life to much of the province's south coast — after a serious outbreak of the infection in 2013 left the sector reeling.

With files from Mark Quinn