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The government will seek public feedback on these two documents over a 60-day period, starting on June 4

DFO seeks feedback on two aquaculture risk management documents

  (CANADA, 6/6/2019)

Building on a number of initiatives announced over the past six months, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson announced the release of two draft risk management documents aimed at enhancing the Department’s science-based decision-making processes on aquaculture:

  • An interim Framework for Aquaculture Risk Management (FARM) to provide a consistent, predictable process for aquaculture risk management that ensures wild fish and their habitats are protected. This risk-management framework also explains how a precautionary approach for aquaculture decision-making is to be implemented; and
  • An interim Framework on the Transfer of Live Fish that provides guidance on the authorization of the movement of fish in marine environments and what, if any, additional mitigation measures are needed to protect wild stocks. The interim framework sets out a process for assessing the impact of transfers on wild fish and determining if testing for pathogens is warranted.

The government will seek public feedback on these two documents over a 60-day period, starting on June 4, which includes consultation with the Namgis First Nation to inform a final decision. While consultations are ongoing, DFO will utilize the interim Framework on the Transfer of Live Fish and the FARM to assess and manage on an interim basis potential risks to wild salmon from Piscine Orthoreovirus (PRV) in British Columbia.

As further steps in implementing a precautionary approach, DFO will also work with industry to implement two key additional measures: 

  • DFO will be requiring enhanced testing and reporting of any instances of heart and skeletal muscle inflammation (HSMI) and jaundice syndrome. The Department will be investing additional resources to undertake increased audits at farm sites to ensure proper monitoring and enhanced monitoring of farmed fish health, and
  • DFO will undertake screening in fresh water aquaculture hatcheries in BC for the presence of two specific strains of PRV – the non-native Icelandic and Norwegian strains, the latter having been shown to be harmful to Norwegian farmed Atlantic salmon.

In addition, the Department will establish three new Technical Working Groups, each focused on a key issue that has been identified for improvement and/or enhanced collaboration. The Working Groups will be inclusive and will be comprised of representatives of the Province of BC, Indigenous communities, environmental organizations, the aquaculture industry and other key stakeholders and will provide advice to the Department. This advice will be directly relevant to any final decisions with regard to risk management policy.

These groups will focus on:

  • Area based approaches to aquaculture management;
  • Aquaculture production technologies (including closed containment); and
  • Fish health.

The DFO saids that over the longer term, it will work with key federal departments and provincial governments to continue explore potential technology approaches, including closed containment, for supporting the development of the aquaculture industry. The recently announced Canada-BC Aquaculture Technology Study and the recent report of the Fraser Basin Council on closed containment will help to inform this work.

"Our government is committed to the protection and conservation of wild Pacific salmon.  The new safeguards announced today will protect wild salmon and enhance environmental sustainability of aquaculture in British Columbia. I invite British Columbians to provide their input during consultations,” said minister Wilkinson.


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