Danish Aquaculture draws up IHN action plan

The Danish aquaculture sector has drawn up a plan to prevent the spread of the deadly salmon disease infectious haematopoietic necrosis, commonly known as IHN.

The trade association Dansk Akvakultur and the six Danish fish farms that were infected with IHN in May have handed over the plan to the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration. Their intention is to re-establish the country as being free of the virus.

The outbreak, which hit Denmark for the first time earlier this summer, also sent a scare throughout the fish farming sector in Norway which introduced its own special prevention measures.

While IHN can have serious financial consequences for salmon and trout companies, it is not harmful to humans.

Danish Aquaculture director Brian Thomsen said his organisation was solution-orientated and he had nothing but praise for the affected fish farm owners who were working with the rest of the sector to deliver a concrete plan for IHN control.

He said the plan was based on companies getting their slaughterhouse solutions approved as soon as possible, and on ensuring that the value of the facilities is taken into account and sufficient time is given for the fish to be removed and handled correctly.

This is only fair, he said, because an emergency slaughter of infected fish entails significant economic losses for those farms hit by the disease.

He added: “Fortunately there are no signs that the infection has spread to other farms and this means that 95% of Denmark is free of IHN. We believe that with effective and rapid action we can fight the IHN virus.”

It is important, he stressed, that the industry, the authorities and angling groups, work together on this.