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Marine Harvest Rejects Allegations of Transferring Diseased Salmon

10 May 2013

CANADA - The Canadian branch of Marine Harvest has hit back at allegations that it is transferring diseased salmon to its farms.

Marine Harvest Canada says it is under attack by long time anti salmon farm campaigner Alexandra Morton with an Ecojustice led court action against the company and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Citing rumors of an apparently benign virus called piscine reovirus (PRV), the highly publicised filing of suit falsely alleges that the company has transferred diseased fish to its salmon sites. Limited testing for PRV in BC has found it to be present in some wild and farmed salmon but none of these farm-raised or wild salmon have been diagnosed with a disease.

Contrary to the opinions of Ms Morton, DFO and CFIA do not consider PRV as a microbe of concern and it is not on the list of reportable diseases/pathogens. At the present time PRV appears to be a benign virus that may have been long present in the world's oceans, said the company.

"Marine Harvest has the greatest respect for the ocean environment in which we grow our fish and we would not introduce fish that were carrying a disease," said Clare Backman, Sustainable Programmes Director for Marine Harvest Canada.

"Our fish are vaccinated against common disease causing agents before leaving the hatchery and we continue monitoring their health throughout their lifetime."

Marine Harvest Canada is very disappointed by Wednesday's court action which is lacking in substance and apparently designed for publicity purposes. Marine Harvest Canada is prepared to vigorously address these false accusations and to defend its good practices and excellent operations in BC.

Marine Harvest Canada is British Columbia's largest salmon aquaculture company with 430 employees.

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