“The facility is in an area where stringent measures against PD are required to prevent the disease from establishing a foothold.”
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority, Mattilsynet, has confirmed the suspicion of pancreatic disease at a site operated by aquaculture research centre LetSea in Nordland county, Norway.
The story was first reported by iLaks on Wednesday night, and was confirmed on Thursday by Mattilsynet.
The facility is thought to house approximately 900,000 salmon, equivalent to around 2,500 metric tons. Most of these fish weigh between two and three kilograms.
The authority has now imposed a quarantine on the facility and banned the movement of fish to curb potential spread of the disease. The restrictions necessitate that anyone involved in fish farming activities in the area exercise extreme caution to prevent further outbreaks.
LetSea first contacted the Norwegian Food Safety Authority on September 19, following positive test results conducted by the company itself.
The authority took additional samples on September 20, which are now sent to the Veterinary Institute for further analysis, according to the release issued by Mattilsynet on Thursday.
“If the Veterinary Institute confirms the presence of PD, we will promptly proceed with the culling of the affected fish stock,” said Geir Arne Ystmark, regional director in the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s northern region. “The facility is in an area where stringent measures against PD are required to prevent the disease from establishing a foothold.”
Severe Implications for Fish, Not Humans
PD is known to severely hamper fish growth, trigger high mortality rates, and make the affected fish more susceptible to other diseases. While the disease does not pose any risks to human health, it’s crucial to prevent its spread to other facilities.
“The Norwegian Food Safety Authority takes the suspicion of PD very seriously, both because of the health implications for the fish and the risk of the disease becoming endemic in the area,” Ystmark added.
PD has been identified at isolated locations in Nordland in the past. The last reported case was in November 2016, which was successfully contained, preventing the infection from spreading to other facilities.
LetSea AS has already activated its emergency plan for managing listed infectious diseases, underlining the severity of the situation.