Two B.C. fish farms have received orders from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to kill more than 300,000 Atlantic salmon after the IHN virus was confirmed at both sites.

The BC Salmon Farmers Association said in a release the virus has now been confirmed at Mainstream Canada’s Millar Channel farm north of Tofino and Grieg Seafood’s Culloden Point farm in Jervis Inlet on the Sunshine Coast.

“The first priority for these companies is to work with CFIA to ensure that any depopulation is done quickly and safely,” said Mary Ellen Walling, Executive Director of the BCSFA.

Both companies tested positive for IHN last week during routine tests and followup tests confirmed the findings.

In June, Mainstream Canada culled more than 560,000 fish at one of its Dixon Bay farm, north of Tofino.  

The virus is found in wild fish in the Pacific but does not pose a risk to human health.

The virus can cause death in young finfish raised in freshwater hatcheries, juveniles recently introduced to sea water and older finfish raised in sea water, states the agency on its website.

Susceptible to infection are 20 species found in the natural environment, including pink, chum, coho, sockeye and Atlantic salmon, as well as Pacific herring, the agency adds.

According to the agency, the virus is spread by contaminated equipment and contaminated water, and while there are no treatments available, vaccines are available to prevent the disease.

With files from the Canadian Press