Mowi warned the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet) about suspected pancreatic disease (PD) in two of its fish farms at locations 10447 Mefaldskjæret and 31857 Blomsøråsa in the municipality of Alstahaug in Nordland county, Norway. Both are in the protection zone established after the detection of the outbreak of PD in location 45003 Ystøya, also in the municipality of Alstahaug, in September this year.
Mattilsynet, which recalled that both locations are subject to restrictions such as a ban on moving fish to prevent a possible spread of infection, said the suspicion of pancreatic disease was based on positive test results from the salmon company. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority will take verification samples over the next few days and send them to the Veterinary Institute for analysis.
"If the Veterinary Institute's analyses confirm that there is PD in the facility, we will make a decision on rapid slaughter since the sites are located in an area where PD is to be combated to prevent its establishment," said the regional director in Mattilsynet's Northern Region, Geir Arne Ystmark.
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority recalled that the area north of the PD zone - i.e. north of Skjemta, Flatanger in Trøndelag - must be kept free of PD, and that farmers themselves are responsible for sampling. It also remarked that it is important that mapping of the infection status in the area is carried out quickly.
The pancreas disease control regulations require that fish farms within a radius of 30 kilometers from sites with confirmed PD virus must undergo extended sampling within seven days. PD is a viral disease that leads to poor fish health and welfare. Fish stop eating, growth decreases and mortality can be high. Fish also become more susceptible to other diseases.
Likewise, Mattilsynet also recalled that PD is a salmon disease and has no impact on human health, although it is important to avoid further infection in other installations. This is an example of a fish disease without risk for human consumption that, however, would have to be included on salmon labeling if the proposal to label the disease history of fish were to be approved in Norway.