Salmonid enhancement program aquaculture licence - Appendix III - Salmonid health management plan (HMP) for «site_name»

This webpage is intended for informational purposes only.

1. Objectives, personnel, & executive summary

The Health Management Plan (HMP), submitted to Fisheries and Oceans Canada as part of the Enhancement Facilities (hatcheries) Aquaculture Licences, serves three purposes: i) to outline good health conditions for cultured salmonids raised at Salmonid Enhancement Program facilities and may apply to both freshwater and short-term marine rearing; ii) to reflect a commitment to comply with the principles, concepts, and required elements of fish health management when culturing salmonids or gametes thereof, and; iii) to be used by Community Advisors and hatchery operators (i.e. facility staff and volunteers) for training and for day-to-day interaction with the fish, and by other fish health staff who are responsible for maintaining and monitoring good health status of the fish.

This document forms one of two components of «SITE_NAME»’s overall Health Management Plan (HMP): i) Concepts; and ii) FHMP Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). This HMP concept document forms Appendix III of the current Enhancement Facilities Aquaculture Licence under the Pacific Aquaculture Regulations (PAR, 2010). As an appendix of the Enhancement Facilities Aquaculture Licence, this document is the publicly available component and commits «SITE_NAME» to ensure and maintain the health of its cultured fish. It also commits «SITE_NAME» to abide by four key principles of the management of health:

  1. Characterizing the health status of the animal population
  2. Identifying and managing risks
  3. Reducing exposure to disease-causing agents
  4. Judicious application of chemicals and drugs

A number of health concepts herein may refer to an SOP that coincides with other health concepts (e.g. both biosecurity and fish handling may refer to the same SOP, common to both concepts).

The SOPs cited in this salmonid HMP concept document are initially submitted in their entirety to Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Aquaculture Management Division (DFO-AMD) for review and response. Thereafter, only amendments to the FHMP-SOPs will be submitted annually for Departmental review and response.

1.1 Fish Health Management Team: Personnel duties and responsibilities

The Fish Health Management Team is comprised of the entities as defined below. The authority to alter the best management practices contained within this document lies with the Fish Health Management Team and should occur in a consultative process. The responsibility for carrying out the procedures defined within this document, correctly and according to protocol, lies with the Community Advisor and hatchery operators that have been trained in the individual procedures.

1.1.1 Veterinarian

A licensed Veterinarian, in conjunction with facility and biological support staff, oversees fish health management for SEP facilities. The Veterinarian, supported by the Pacific Biological Station Fish Pathology Laboratory, is expected to exercise good professional judgment in fish health matters. The Veterinarian is licensed in BC and fosters a lawful Veterinarian-client-patient relationship with the Licence Holder. The Veterinarian is responsible for disease diagnoses, interpretations, and writing prescriptions, and is expected to exercise good medical judgment in matters of fish health. Specific duties include site visits, diagnostic workups for fish, treatment advice, and disease prevention and control recommendations. Where applicable, the Veterinarian will report disease findings to relevant authorities (See list of reportable diseases in Appendix I). Veterinary contact information is posted and available to on-site fish health staff.

1.1.2 Hatchery management

The Community Advisors and/or hatchery operators are responsible for identifying and managing disease-related risk factors to minimize their impacts on fish health. The Community Advisors and/or hatchery operators consult with the Veterinarian and DFO biologists on management of fish health issues, and are responsible for reporting outbreaks of significant diseases to other sites in the geographic vicinity and to the proper authorities.

1.1.3 Hatchery staff

On-site hatchery operators are responsible for day-to-day fish health management, according to this Plan and the Community Advisor’s directions. As per conditions of licence, all Community Advisors and hatchery operators have read and apply this HMP concept and relevant operational BMPs, and practice appropriate hygienic procedures supportive of fish health. General facility staff and volunteers may be assigned specific fish health duties from time to time.

1.1.4 Support biologists

Fisheries and Oceans Community Advisors and biological support staff are available for consultation and to serve as a liaison between hatchery operators and the Enhancement Support and Assessment Unit.

1.1.5 Contact names and numbers

Contact names and numbers for all key fish health personnel, including emergency numbers, are posted in an easily identifiable location at each site.

2. Health concepts and required elements

This section outlines the general principles of fish health management:

The supporting operating procedures referenced in this Health Management Plan may be found in «SITE_NAME»’s FHMP Standard Operating Procedures.

Note: The focus of SEP’s work is the production of juvenile Pacific salmon for stock enhancement and conservation purposes. Net pen holding is limited to a handful of facilities, which have the infrastructure and historical evidence of improved survival following a brief period of acclimation to a semi-natural environment. Additionally, this production strategy allows imprinting to a watershed for the eventual return in support of recreational fisheries in the areas whose natural spawning and rearing habitats are compromised. Netpen SOPs can be found in the facility FHMP-SOP document.

2.1 Biosecurity

Disease-causing agents (pathogens) may be spread by sick fish (wild or cultured) through the water, on shared equipment, other animals, or inadvertently by personnel, visitors or their personal gear. Entrance of potential pathogens is minimized by supporting an effective biosecurity “barrier” at each facility. Biosecurity measures apply to all personnel, visitors, suppliers, regulators, vessels, and all equipment. Biosecurity has three main goals: keeping fish healthy, keeping pathogens out, and keeping disease from spreading. See the heading below: “Keeping Pathogens Out’ for operational SOPs.

2.2 Keeping fish healthy

Keeping fish as healthy as possible is critical to keeping pathogens from coming on site, reducing incidence of disease attributable to those pathogens already present, and/or minimizing spread of pathogens within or between sites.

Fish must be routinely monitored for signs of health and disease and for this reason Community Advisors and hatchery operators should be familiar with normal fish appearance and behaviour. Observations that may indicate a problem with the population include (but are not limited to):

Fish should be kept at reasonable densities as determined by species, size, number, type of rearing unit and water quality/availability. Changes in behaviour and physical condition should be reported to site management as early detection is the key to good disease management.

2.2.1 Suitable rearing environment

«SITE_NAME» is responsible for ensuring a suitable rearing environment for the fish so they remain healthy at each life stage. Requirements related to materials used in the construction and maintenance of rearing units provide security and minimize risk of potential escape or harm to fish. Facilities are staffed 24-hours daily or are locked, alarmed, secured, or otherwise monitored to control entry and deter vandalism.

2.2.2 Normal fish behaviour is observed

Fish are routinely monitored for signs of normal health and disease. All Community Advisors and hatchery operators are familiar with normal fish appearance and behaviour. Early detection of altered activity is key to maintaining health and disease management. Changes in behaviour and physical condition are recorded and reported to the Community Advisor and/or facility managers upon discovery. To minimize stress and mortality, fish are held at species and life stage-specific densities.

Refer to Juveniles - health observations SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.2.3 Predator exclusion

Predators include birds, rodents and occasionally mammals such as mink, river otters and bears. Reasonable, due diligent attempts are made to exclude predators from the facility and from interacting with the fish. As detailed and required in the conditions of licence «SITE_NAME» follows mitigation procedures striving toward minimal predator interaction with the cultured fish. Every attempt should be made to exclude predators from the site.

Refer to Predator exclusion SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management.

2.2.4 Feed and nutrition

Feeding is both an art and a science. A site-specific, customized feeding program coupled with appropriately sized, high quality feed will fulfill the nutritional requirements needed for the growth and health maintenance of the fish. The amount fed will be influenced by many factors including: water temperature, species, body size, age, type of feed and different feed delivery methods.

Proper storage of feed is essential to maintain its nutritional value. Feed stored under improper conditions will result in rancidity and degradation of essential nutrients. Feed should be stored in secure buildings such that wildlife is excluded and spillage is prevented.

Refer to Feed, feed storage, and feeding practices SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.2.5 Water quality monitoring

Maintaining good water quality is vital to good fish health. The operator should maintain a regular program for monitoring and recording water quality at hatchery sites. Monitoring will vary between sites depending on location and the specifics of the aquatic environment. The frequency of monitoring will depend on available equipment and type of facility water use (i.e. flow through or recirculation). In-line monitoring may be applicable.

Refer to Water quality monitoring SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.2.6 Water quality contingency planning

The facility should maintain a contingency plan in the event of acute deterioration of water quality (for example due to loss of flow or contamination of supply). Failure of pumps requires an immediate response. Systems should be suitably alarmed to indicate a water supply failure. The site should have backup systems to ensure water supply is not interrupted and quality is maintained.

Refer to Water quality contingency plan SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.3 Fish handling techniques

2.3.1 Routine handling techniques (Marking, tagging, length/weight sampling)

«SITE_NAME»’s fish handling procedures - including types of equipment used and equipment maintenance - are designed to minimize stress, injury, escape, and predisposing fish to disease. Observing fish during handling, and for a period after handling, ensures any negative effects are noted and steps are taken to mitigate impact. Staff minimize the time fish are exposed to stressful events such as crowding and out-of-water events (i.e. moving, sampling, tagging, injecting, etc.).

Marking fish is a valuable tool for accurate stock assessment. The species, number of fish to be marked and method of marking should be reviewed annually during the facility’s production planning meetings. This is the responsibility of the Community Advisor and DFO Biologists. Marking should be done in a manner designed to result in minimal injury and stress to the fish. Appropriate anaesthesia and monitoring for adverse effects, both during the procedure and for several days following are standard, as the stress of the procedure and resulting wound can compromise the immune response of the fish.

Refer to Marking Fish; Fish handling procedures; Individual length/weight and bulk weight sampling protocols SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.3.2 Fish transports

Fry, smolts and other life stages should be handled in as stress-free a manner as possible in preparation for transport. Equipment should be checked to prevent significant injury that could predispose fish to damage and/or disease. Proper hygiene and disinfection are adhered to. Appropriate transfer permits are obtained from DFO.

Refer to Transporting fish; Ponding SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.4 Keeping pathogens out

Biosecurity refers to an integrated strategy to assess and manage the risks that threaten animal health, human health, food safety, and the environment. The key components of a biosecurity program involve the exclusion of pathogens from a site and the containment of pathogens within a site if a disease situation does occur. The nature of enhancing wild populations using gametes collected from mature salmon returning from the oceans means that it is impossible to prevent the introduction of pathogens in all cases. Nevertheless, measures are in place to minimize the introduction of pathogens at key fish culture junctions and to minimize the impacts related to the presence of pathogens.

2.4.1 Site physical barriers

The facility operator is responsible for providing a suitable, secure rearing environment. Additionally, physical barriers to prevent uncontrolled or undesirable human and animal entry, the risks involved with movement of all personnel (staff, volunteers, Fish Health Management Team), visitors and equipment are assessed and managed.

2.4.2 Personnel/visitor/supplier movement

Staff will adhere to biosecurity procedures for the site. Where possible, personnel and visitors do not travel between different facilities. If such travel is unavoidable, personnel should not return to a clean facility after visiting a disease-suspect one, or will adhere to all biosecurity procedures at each facility to minimize the risk of inadvertently spreading disease between sites. Each site shall have posted procedures for all visitors, and visitors are expected to follow these procedures. Visitor access will exclude any areas containing sensitive life stages, i.e. incubation rooms. Suppliers should be advised of operator and site procedures in advance. Suppliers who visit multiple sites shall be subject to strict biosecurity measures and may be requested not to come on site.

Refer to Site and staff disinfection and biosecurity SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.4.3 Equipment/vehicle movement

Where possible, equipment will not be shared between sites. This includes pumps, vehicles and fish handling equipment. Where this is not possible, equipment that must be used at multiple sites should be subject to appropriate biosecurity and disinfection measures between uses.

2.4.4 Equipment maintenance

To reduce the possible spread of pathogens by fish, personnel or via a waterborne route, equipment should be kept clean and in good operating condition at all times. Equipment should be properly disinfected after each use and stored in its designated location.

Refer to Equipment disinfection SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.4.5 Moving fish within and between sites

Fish and eyed egg movement between sites is kept to a minimum. Clinically ill fish will not be moved between sites. The move should be planned in advance to be as stress-free and short as possible. Particular care should be paid to the fish during transportation to avoid undue stress or possibility of escape. Water quality should be maintained and frequently monitored during transport.

The receiving sites will make arrangements for isolating the newly arriving fish. Once on site, measures should be used to limit the potential transmission of any previously undetected pathogens to the facility’s original population.

Refer to Ponding; Pre-release or transfer disease risk assessment; Egg and milt transport; Quarantine/isolation procedures for suspected disease outbreaks SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.4.6 Monitoring fish health

Fish should be monitored at least once daily for any unusual behaviour, visible lesions or other signs of disease. Changes in behaviour and physical condition should be reported to site management and/or the Community Advisor. Additionally, routine scheduled bulk and/or individual sampling during rearing allows a more detailed examination of the fish, as well as comparisons of actual versus expected gains and tracking of biomass per tank for appropriate density management.

Where unexplained mortalities in any stock have exceeded 1% per day for four consecutive days, the veterinarian must be immediately notified.

Refer to Juveniles-health observations SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan. Mortality classification

Mortalities should be examined for external signs of disease, as per the operator procedure, suspect mortalities may be examined internally. Suspected causes of mortality must be recorded and the Community Advisor and/or Veterinarian should be notified of any unusual numbers or types of mortalities.

Refer to Mortality classification SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan. Mortality collection and disposal

Mortalities should be collected on a routine and frequent basis to minimize the potential spread of disease, to minimize attractiveness to predators and to allow rapid identification of a health issue. The mortality storage area should be an appropriate distance away from any rearing units and outside usual travel corridors to minimize inadvertent spread of disease. Proper disinfection procedures should be used after each mortality collection.

Refer to Mortality collection and disposal SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.5 Specific fish health procedures

2.5.1 Anaesthetizing and sedating Fish

A number of fish health procedures require that fish be anaesthetized. Acquiring chemical anaesthetics requires a veterinary prescription. Netting of fish prior to anaesthesia should be done in as stress-free a manner as possible. Exposure to anaesthetic should be minimized while ensuring the anaesthetic level is adequate for the procedure. Anaesthetized fish should be carefully monitored at all times and the water quality of the anaesthetic bath – in particular, oxygen level – should be monitored.

Refer to Anaesthesia SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.5.2 Vaccinating fish

Vaccines are used to boost immunity to specific infectious diseases (e.g. Vibriosis) and are part of an integrated fish health management program. Vaccines are biological substances that must be stored (refrigerated) and handled as per manufacturer’s instructions so as to maintain their safety and effectiveness. A product insert for each vaccine that is on site is kept in a safe, readily accessible place. Staff should be appropriately trained prior to undertaking the vaccination procedure to ensure that biologicals are used safely (i.e., wearing appropriate personal protective gear and taking suitable precautions).

Vaccination must be done in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure proper results. Since stress reduces the response of fish to a given vaccine, fish should be handled in as stress-free a manner as possible.

Refer to Vaccine storage, handling, and administration; Fish handling procedures SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.5.3 Euthanasia

In the uncommon situation where fish need to be euthanized (eg. to facilitate specific fish measurements, sampling, mercy-killing, or culling), it is recorded and done in as humane a manner as possible, facilitating rapid and irreversible loss of consciousness.

Refer to Euthanasia SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.6 Keeping disease from spreading

2.6.1 Separation of fish groups

Owing to the nature of enhancement, which follows the natural life cycles present in the aquatic ecosystem, SEP facilities often contain multi-year-classes. Different species or stocks are kept separated while on site. Rearing units are kept separate to prevent transmission of disease between groups. It is an important biosecurity measure to ensure that personnel movements are considered from a risk management perspective and the flow of fish husbandry activities starts from the most sensitive life stages to the least sensitive (i.e. youngest fish to the oldest fish) to ensure that the most susceptible fish are not exposed to pathogens that may be carried by older, more resistant, fish.

2.6.2 Minimizing disease within the site

All efforts should be made to minimize disease on a site. All personnel will adhere to the facility hygiene and disinfection procedures. Tank cleaning and moribund/mortality collection is carried out on a routine and frequent basis. This serves to reduce the potential exposure to pathogens and minimize predator attraction.

2.6.3 Juvenile treatments

There is a great deal of physiological stress associated with juvenile growth and smoltification. At the same time, the juvenile salmonid immune system is still developing. Because of this, juveniles represent a particularly susceptible life stage and judicious use of antimicrobial agents may help minimize losses due to infectious agents.

Refer to Juvenile treatments SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.7 Broodstock management

2.7.1 Suitable holding environment

«SITE_NAME» is responsible to provide a suitable, safe and secure holding environment. Escape and predation prevention is essential.

2.7.2 Biosecurity

Where possible, staff/volunteers are designated as the individuals that will interact with broodstock. Equipment required to work with broodstock is also designated (i.e. that equipment is not shared with other life stages). Disinfection and hygiene procedures are in place. Where other age classes are present, biosecurity is particularly vital to prevent the transfer of pathogens from the mature fish to susceptible young fry.

To minimize two-way transmission of disease, mature broodstock are held in a designated area of the facility, separate from production or hatchery fish. Broodstock areas may use a separate water supply.

Refer to Broodstock biosecurity SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health management Plan.

2.7.3 Broodstock selection and handling

Broodstock are handled individually at least once. Facility personnel sort broodstock by sex and for “ripeness”, i.e. whether or not they are fully mature. Handling individual brood fish is to be done with care and with minimal stress to prevent negative effects on gametes (eggs and milt). Anaesthesia and sedation may be used to provide gentle handling and recovery.

Refer to Broodstock selection ; Broodstock handling SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.7.4 Broodstock treatments

Broodstock may be medicated preventatively for specific infections prior to maturation, particularly for those infectious pathogens that may be transmitted “vertically”, i.e. from parent to egg. The type and timing of applied medications is determined by «SITE_NAME»’s Veterinarian and Fish Health Management Team. The medications are used according to prescription and are inventoried and recorded daily. A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for all medications used at the facility is on-site and readily accessible. «SITE_NAME» ensures that all medications are handled safely by appropriately trained staff, taking suitable precautions.

Refer to Broodstock treatments SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.7.5 Gamete collection (Egg take and milt collection)

At the Veterinarian’s discretion, broodstock may be treated preventatively for specific infectious diseases prior to maturation to reduce the risk of vertical transmission of disease. Egg take and milt collection should be performed in as hygienic a manner as possible to prevent transmission of diseases to other broodstock and/or progeny. Adult fish should be anaesthetized and surface disinfected prior to gamete harvest and spawned adults should be euthanized as humanely as practicable. Carcasses are disposed of in a manner to prevent spread of disease. Males, if used multiple times, should be monitored for recovery from anaesthesia after each procedure.

Refer to Gamete collection ; Fertilization and incubation ; Egg and milt transport SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.7.6 Disease screening

Disease screening procedures may be conducted at the time of spawning to mitigate risk of vertical transmission of pathogens to progeny. Tests performed are at the discretion of the Veterinarian but may include: screening for BKD (female broodstock), and viral screening in some cases. Additional testing may be performed at the discretion of the Veterinarian. Samples for disease screening are collected using aseptic technique. The location of progeny from sampled fish is tracked until the screening results are received and reviewed by the Veterinarian and/or Fish Health Management Team.

Refer to Diagnostic sampling protocols ; Pre-release or transfer disease risk assessment SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.7.7 Identifying progeny

Where screening programs are in effect, egg lots from individual females are clearly labeled.

2.7.8 Egg (and/or milt) transportation

Pre-arranged permits are required when eggs or milt are transported and permits must accompany the gametes during transport. Transport occurs in clean containers with secure lids. Disinfection and biosecurity procedures are followed to prevent transmission of pathogens to the hatchery.

Refer to Egg treatments SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.7.9 Egg disinfection

Eggs are safely disinfected following fertilization and during water hardening. This disinfection is conducted when the gametes enter incubation.

Refer to Egg disinfection SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.7.10 Egg treatments

Developing eggs are sensitive to light and shock as well as fungal infections. Eggs are periodically checked for mortality, and presence of infectious diseases or fungus. Affected eggs are treated as necessary.

Refer to Egg treatments SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.7.11 Records

Records are kept for egg-take and broodstock pathogen screening. Records accompany each shipment of eggs from the broodstock facility to the hatchery receiving the eggs, whether destined for on-site or off-site incubation.

2.8 Fish disease outbreaks/emergency

A fish health emergency is any situation where the health of a fish population is suddenly at risk. This may be due to disease-causing agents (such as a pathogenic virus) or to abrupt water quality changes (such as plankton blooms, a toxin, or a sudden, severe decline in dissolved oxygen). Vigilant monitoring, recording and early detection is key to good management of health emergencies.

An outbreak is defined as an unexpected occurrence of mortality or disease. Not all outbreaks are infectious or fish health emergencies. Infectious diseases may differ in how contagious they are and therefore how easy or difficult they are to control. Rapid response is essential but will be determined on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with the Veterinarian, the Fish Health Management Team, and/or by regulatory authority. Once an outbreak/emergency has been recognized, specific steps are followed. The objective is to keep the pathogen concentration (or load) as low as possible and to prevent spread of the problem within or off the facility. Biosecurity is enhanced.

2.8.1 System failure/Water quality event

If there is a system failure, all efforts should be directed to restoring sufficient water quality for the fish. Sufficient oxygen levels must be restored to support the fish. The site will immediately activate emergency response plans. In the event of life-threatening poor water quality events, the fish should be taken off feed in order to decrease the oxygen demand and stress.

If an infectious disease problem is suspected, the operator Veterinarian and/or Fish Health Management must be immediately notified. If the problem is not easily discerned, event management and diagnosis will need to be done hand-in-hand.

Refer to Water quality contingency planning SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.8.2 Infectious disease emergencies

An outbreak is defined as an unexpected occurrence of mortality or disease. Not all outbreaks are fish health emergencies. Pathogens differ in many respects including ease of transmission, time until clinical signs of disease are apparent, severity of disease, and range of treatment options.

Accurate husbandry records and diligent monitoring of fish population health are central to the early identification of a disease situation. Rapid response is essential but should be determined on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with the Veterinarian and/or Fish Health Management.

Once an emergency has been recognized, certain steps are followed. The objective is to keep the pathogen “load” as low as possible and to prevent spread of the pathogen both within and off the site.

2.9 Emergency response steps

2.9.1 Quarantine

Quarantine is the enforced physical separation of the healthy population from a (potentially) infected population, their products or items they may have contaminated. At the Veterinarian’s recommendation the site may be officially quarantined. Quarantine remains in effect until such time as the problem has been diagnosed and/or managed.

Refer to Quarantine/isolation procedures for suspected disease outbreaks ; Outbreak response SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.9.2 Stop fish movement and/or handling

The movement of all fish on/off and within the site may cease and fish will not be handled further. No visitors or non-essential staff are allowed on site unless previously authorized by the Community Advisor and hatchery operations staff.

Refer to Quarantine/isolation procedures for suspected disease outbreaks ; Outbreak response SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.9.3 Disinfection and hygiene

On site hygiene and disinfection procedures are in place.

Refer to Outbreak – disinfection procedures SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.9.4 Suppliers

In the case of an outbreak, suppliers (e.g., feed or oxygen delivery) should be instructed to visit the site last or to make special arrangements so that pathogen spread does not present risk other facilities.

2.9.5 Mortality collection

The frequency of mortality collection is to be increased during an outbreak. Affected tanks are mort picked last and staff and volunteers adhere to disinfection procedures between tanks and rearing units. If possible, separate gear is designated for the affected unit. All equipment, surfaces and clothing that come in contact with infected fish or potentially infectious material are thoroughly disinfected after use. Mortality collection and disposal procedures are strictly adhered to and provisions made for increased mortality pick-ups and disposal.

2.9.6 Determining the cause of the outbreak (Outbreak investigation)

The Veterinarian may require records and appropriate sampling to determine the cause of the outbreak and best course of action. The Veterinarian and/or Fish Health Management will provide instructions for proper sampling. Water and feed samples may be requested. Samples must be properly handled, properly stored and promptly shipped as per the Veterinarian’s or Fish Health Management’s instructions to ensure prompt and effective analysis

Continued monitoring is required after the initial workup to determine the course of the outbreak and to assess whether treatment and/or management measures are effective. Frequent observations of fish are essential. Feeding response and water quality is monitored. All treatments and management changes are noted as they occur. The Veterinarian, Fish Health Management and site management will work together to review fish health records and make further management decisions. Any repeat sampling, including results, are duly noted.

Refer to Outbreak response ; Sample shipment to a diagnostic laboratory ; Diagnostic sampling protocol SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.9.7 Site depopulation

Site depopulation is the total destruction of all animals on site in the event of a catastrophic outbreak. If site depopulation has been agreed upon, the procedure should be conducted as humanely as possible and in a manner consistent with principles of hygiene and biosecurity.

2.9.8 Reporting to authorities

Where appropriate and/or in accordance with existing regulations, the Veterinarian will report the outbreak to Provincial or Federal authorities.

2.9.9 Communicating with other operators

The site management office will notify other operators in the geographic area of the outbreak.

2.10 Handling drugs and chemicals properly

The goal of good fish health management is to have healthy and productive fish. However if fish do become sick, they may require treatment with a therapeutant.

2.10.1 Medicated feed: Handling, storage, and inventory

Medicated feed, if used, is stored in clearly marked bags separately from non-medicated feed. The storage area should be clean, dry and free of predators. The label on the medicated feedbag provides details about the feed, medication included, feed rate, name of the Veterinarian, prescription number and date it was milled.

Medicated feed is inventoried separately from regular feed. Daily inventory records are kept as the feed is fed to the fish according to prescription.

Refer to Medicated Feed: Storage, handling, and feeding SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.10.2 Administering medicated feed

Medication mixed into feed has a Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) that identifies handling and safety precautions. An MSDS for all medications used on site must be on site and accessible. Medicated feed, where used, is administered in accordance with the Veterinarian’s instructions. The appropriate rearing unit(s) receive the prescribed amount of medicated feed for the duration of treatment.

The Veterinarian must be informed if there is a lack of expected response within 5 days of the initiation of treatment.

Refer to Top-coating medicated feed SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.11 Fish health records

Fish health records include, but are not limited to:

Many of these records are computerized and form part of the integrated operator record keeping system. The operator will provide adequate system training and documentation to authorized site personnel including data entry and reports, e.g. ENPRO for DFO. Backups should be maintained.

Paper records not entered into a computerized system should be well organized, easily accessible and protected from damage, e.g. kept in binders.

Records should be kept for the duration of time the fish are on site. The operator will keep archived records at a suitable location in head office or securely stored off site. Records should be available for inspection upon request by the Aquaculture Management Division.

Records should be reviewed on a routine basis by the operator Veterinarian and/or Fish Health Management Team to look for patterns in fish health and disease.

2.11.1 Treatment records

As per conditions of licence, specific and detailed records of medicated feed administration ore kept on site for the entire time the fish are present. In combination with inventory records, the fish groups that were treated are readily identifiable through treatment and withdrawal times. Staff are responsible for monitoring for any adverse response to treatment (i.e., lack of appetite, lack of anticipated decline in morbidity and/or mortality levels) and reporting this information to the hatchery manager and the prescribing Veterinarian. Medicated feed records should be entered into ENPRO and a hard copy should be kept on site until the fish are released. Records include:

In combination with inventory records, the fish receiving medication are readily identifiable during treatment and until the completion of the prescribed withdrawal time.

A copy of the treatment history will accompany the fish to another facility if the fish are subsequently moved. «SITE_NAME»’s does not release fish until they have cleared the withdrawal period prescribed by the Veterinarian.

2.11.2 Egg take records

Records should be kept for egg takes and broodstock disease screening. Records must accompany each shipment of eggs from the broodstock location to the hatchery receiving the eggs, whether destined for onsite or off site incubation Disinfectants, chemicals, and biologicals

Disinfectants and chemicals are stored in clearly marked containers. An MSDS for each disinfectant at the facility is on-site and readily accessible. «SITE_NAME»’s ensures that all chemicals are handled safely by appropriately trained staff, taking suitable precautions.

Biologicals include vaccines. Where applicable, these products are stored refrigerated and handled as per manufacturer’s instructions. A product insert for any vaccine at the facility is on-site and readily accessible.

Refer to Chemicals and disinfectants: Supplies and storage SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.

2.12 Impacts on non-enhanced stocks

2.12.1 Fish escape

The Salmonid Enhancement Program intentionally releases cultured fish. Escapes in this context are less of a concern than for commercial producers using non-native or selectively bred stocks. However, infrastructure is in place to ensure fish escapes are discouraged. In the unlikely event that fish escape into nearby streams or watersheds, fish health records, including relevant diagnoses and treatments, must be made available to the appropriate regulatory authorities as required.

2.12.2 Juvenile release

The health and treatment status of fish is considered when planning intentional fish releases. The planned release of enhancement/conservation fish from our facilities will undergo a risk assessment to attempt to prevent undue harm to wild fish populations or public health. Fish are to be released in good health to minimize the transfer of pathogens to wild fish. The timing of release is also important to reduce stress and maximize survival of released fish.

Refer to Pre-Release or Transfer Disease Risk Assessment and Juvenile Release SOPs in «SITE_NAME»’s Fish Health Management Plan.