Infected WA salmon sold for compost, possibly food

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on May 30, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Washington State fish managers say American Gold Seafood Company informed them the company intends to harvest at least some of the Atlantic salmon from their virus-infected pens for human consumption.

Company officials told KING 5 to expect a statement about the infected salmon Tuesday afternoon. By 5:00 p.m. it had not arrived. The company has confirmed it is destroying all the fish in the infected pens, approximately 1.3 million pounds of Atlantic salmon, but it did not mention any plans to sell some to stores or restaurants.

State Fish Health Manager John Kerwin told King 5, the company informed him it did plan to harvest some for human consumption. Kerwin noted scientific studies have found the HIN virus, which causes deadly flu-like symptoms in fish, does not affect people.

Kerwin and others with the State Department of Fish and Wildlife are concerned the virus could spread from the pens to wild salmon migrating nearby.

Keriwn said the company is taking the proper precautions by voluntarily destroying the fish, removing the nets and sterilizing them. The company has reportedly said it will not be able to raise fish for four months.

Meanwhile the Oly Mountain Fish Compost Company is getting regular deliveries of the salmon. It is paying for the opportunity to turn it into rich compost, which is in high demand by gardeners. The company said the ground fish is heated to 140 degrees during the composting process, which kills all viruses.

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