Huon bid to move dis­eased salmon

Fish Farmer - - World News -

AUS­TRALIAN salmon farmer Huon Aqua­cul­ture has asked the Tas­ma­nian state govern­ment for per­mis­sion to move dis­eased salmon to an­other site so they can be safely har­vested.

Salmon in Huon’s pens off the east coast of Bruny Is­land have been dy­ing from pilchard or­thomyx­ovirus (POMV), the virus that killed 1.3 mil­lion fish in Mac­quarie Har­bour a few months ago, ABC news re­ported.

Huon Aqua­cul­ture’s David More­head said the com­pany first found the virus in its fish six weeks ago. He re­fused to say how many salmon had died from POMV but blamed wild pilchards for spread­ing it to the cap­tive fish.

The dis­eased salmon are in some of the same pens that broke in storms in May, al­legedly re­sult­ing in thou­sands of fish es­cap­ing.

Huon Aqua­cul­ture is ask­ing the govern­ment for per­mis­sion to move the fish from Storm Bay to Nor­folk Bay. The com­pany has a lease at Nor­folk Bay but doesn’t usu­ally farm fish there.

Ri­val farmer Tas­sal wel­comed Huon’s plans. ‘We were con­sulted early on on Huon’s need to do this,’ a spokesper­son said in a state­ment. ‘It’s a smart de­ci­sion from a biose­cu­rity stand­point for the in­dus­try. We don’t be­lieve there is any risk posed to our op­er­a­tions.’

How­ever, Tas­man mayor Roseanne Hey­ward said lo­cals on the penin­sula were wor­ried it might be an ex­pan­sion of fish farm­ing by stealth.

‘Will they be com­ing into Nor­folk Bay per­ma­nently? What does it mean with the dis­eased fish? How are we go­ing to deal with this? Who’s look­ing at it? What en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact will it have? Are these fish go­ing to make the lo­cal fish dis­eased?’ she asked.

More­head said there was no ev­i­dence of POMV spread­ing to most wild fish. Huon Aqua­cul­ture hopes to have a vac­cine ready to use by next year to pro­tect the salmon from POMV.

Above: Huon’s pens

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