Fish farmers in Iceland are bracing themselves for the possibility that the first case of pathogenic Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) may have been found in the country.
The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority, also known as MAST, has said there is a suspected case at a Laxar Fiskeldi pen at Reyðarfjörður in the east of Iceland.
Samples have been sent to Germany and Denmark for testing to establish if the suspicions are correct. It could be some days before the results become known.
Jens Garðar Helgason, managing director of Laxar Fiskeldi, said the infection is confined to a single pen.
He added: “We are currently working on removing the fish from that dock and in the future we will assess the situation in full cooperation and consultation with MAST.”
“As stated in the announcement from MAST, ISA not in any way dangerous to humans
Nevertheless, if the tests prove positive it will be a major disappointment for the Iceland’s aquaculture industry which has so far managed to avoid this costly virus, which has plagued Norway in recent years.
Other salmon producing countries such as Scotland, Canada and Ireland have been hit by ISA in the past.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Fishing Associations is calling for all salmon in sea cages in Reyðarfjörður to be slaughtered to prevent wild salmon becoming infected.
The Association said: “We are very concerned at this news and consider it more important now than ever that the slaughtering and disposing of the infected salmon be carried out under strict supervision.”