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BC chum salmon hatchery suffers massive loss

The outbreak of Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis (IHN) virus at a chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) hatchery in Kitimat, British Columbia has forced the slaughter of nearly half the juvenile chum salmon in that site.

Kitimat River Hatchery, which maintains salmon populations for commercial, sport and First Nations fisheries, found the virus in a tank containing 879,000 chum fry on March 29, reported Terrace Standard.

The hatchery immediately removed the fry from the facility and had them destroyed to avoid the virus from spreading to an adjacent tank containing the rest of the breeding stock of 883,000 fry. There was no sign of the virus in the rest of the breeding stock, said the report.

IHN is an infectious viral disease of salmon and trout. Visible signs of the disease are lethargic fish showing occasional bouts of unusual, frenzied activity. Infected fish often exhibits swollen abdomen, protruding eyes and a pseudocast (a ribbonlike mucous thread) dangling from the vent.

The virus is common in Pacific salmon stocks and does not pose a risk to human health, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which continues to monitor the hatchery.

April 13, 2018  By Liza Mayer

File photo shows fish infected with IHN. Protruding eyes and a swollen abdomen are among the signs of the disease

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