British Columbia Introductions and Transfers

Overview

The BC Introductions and Transfers Committee (ITC) is responsible for reviewing applications for introductions and certain transfers of live aquatic organisms into fish rearing facilities or fish bearing waters of British Columbia because these movements could affect the ability of native wild or cultured fish to maintain healthy productive populations.

The BC ITC is a joint federal-provincial committee comprised of members from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the BC Ministry of Environment (MoE), and the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO).The committee considers all live fish including all life stages of marine and freshwater finfish, molluscs, crustaceans, echinoderms and marine mammals. Species not within the scope of the committee include amphibians, reptiles, live baitfish and live aquatic organisms for the table market, aquarium and pond trades (except in circumstances where the species is prohibited under the Pacific Fishery Regulations Section 5, Schedule VIII Prohibited Import Live Fish List).

When applying for a an aquaculture licence, a separate Introductions and Transfers application must also be submitted, prior to stocking, to seek approval to introduce or transfer fish or aquatic invertebrates to the proposed aquaculture facility. The Introductions and Transfers Committee reviews applications to introduce marine and freshwater species into the environment.  Proponents should apply for approval early in the aquaculture application process to ensure their proposed aquaculture species will be authorized.

Upon recommendation for approval by the ITC, an Introductions and Transfers licence, under authority of Section 56 of the Fishery (General) Regulations, is issued for the activity.

About the Committee

Established in 1993, the committee’s goal is to ensure that aquatic ecosystems are properly protected while encouraging responsible use of aquatic resources for the benefit of Canadians.

Key questions considered by the committee for a release or transfer include:  

  • Is the request in keeping with the proper management and control of fisheries?
  • Do the fish have any disease or disease agent(s) harmful to the conservation and protection of local fish stocks?
  • Will the fish introduction or transfer have an adverse effect on local fish stocks?

During the review process, appropriate subject matter experts from DFO and BC including, but not limited to, resource managers, stock assessment officers, biologists, habitat managers, and legal counsel may be consulted for additional information or independent opinion during the adjudication process.

Governance  

The Introductions and Transfers Committee is bound by existing government legislation and policies regarding movements of live fish into and within the Province of BC. Key regulations affecting the introductions and transfer process include:  

Regulations    

Other Regulations, Policies and Guidelines

The committee refers to other regulations, policies and guidelines for guidance when assessing risks or identifying mitigation measures, including: