NEWS
03/29/2012 09:22 EDT | Updated 05/29/2012 05:12 EDT

Inspectors find more cases of salmon virus at Nova Scotia fish farm

HALIFAX - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it could take months before a Nova Scotia fish farm at the centre of a salmon virus outbreak is removed from quarantine.

The federal agency says on its website that it has confirmed additional cases of infectious salmon anemia at a commercial aquaculture operation in the province.

It does not name the facility, but New Brunswick-based Cooke Aquaculture has said the virus was discovered at the company's operation in Shelburne Harbour.

Cooke Aquaculture first detected the virus during routine testing in February.

The agency says the facility will remain under quarantine until all fish have been taken from the site and all pens, cages and equipment have been disinfected.

The virus poses no threat to human health or food safety, but it can kill up to 90 per cent of the salmon it infects, depending on the strain.

Infectious salmon anemia first appeared at fish farms in Norway almost two decades ago, then in New Brunswick and later Scotland.

In the late 1990s, New Brunswick salmon farmers slaughtered more than a million fish amid an outbreak. The federal government paid out tens of millions of dollars to settle compensation claims.

The virus was discovered in farmed Nova Scotia salmon as early as 1999, but in much smaller numbers.