Bulletin - Marine finfish 2020 aquaculture licence corrections and clarifications

RE: Marine finfish 2020 aquaculture licence corrections and clarifications

The Aquaculture Management Division of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (the Department) issued a new Marine Finfish Aquaculture Licence under the authority of the Fisheries Act in February of 2020. Some conditions have subsequently been identified as needing clarification or correction as outlined below:

Part A. Definitions

““Sea Lice Management Measures” means measures such as, but not limited to: use of in-feed therapeutants, topical bath treatments, or mechanical equipment to decrease or eliminate sea lice from the Facility, but does not include Harvesting.”

This definition should be clarified as follows: “Sea Lice Management Measures” means measures such as, but not limited to: use of in-feed therapeutants, topical bath treatments, or mechanical equipment to decrease or eliminate sea lice from a Containment Structure, but does not include Harvest.

Clarification is necessary since all reporting and management timeframes outlined for Sea Lice Management Measures in the licence are based on the date that Sea Lice Management Measures took place at the Containment Structure level, and not at the Facility level. For in-feed treatments which generally occur at a Facility level this distinction is unnecessary, but is a necessary distinction for bath and mechanical sea lice treatments.

““Treatment Failure” means the failure to achieve a ≥60% reduction in average sea lice number. This is measured by comparing the most proximal pre-treatment sea lice count to any count within 42 days post-treatment.”

This definition should be clarified as follows: “Treatment Failure” means the failure to achieve a ≥60% reduction in average sea lice number. This is measured by comparing the most proximal pre-treatment sea lice Counting Event to any Counting Event within 42 days post-treatment.

This clarifies that a determination of Treatment Failure is not made at a Containment Structure level, but averages the results from all Containment Structures sampled in a Counting Event.

4.7 (a) “Environmental Data for seven days leading up to and during the [Mortality] event;”

The Environmental Data which is to be submitted should be at minimum the parameters outlined in the definition of “Environmental Data.” However, the level of resolution of that data may vary depending on the nature of the Mortality Event (ME). For MEs which do not have an environmental cause listed as the primary/probable cause or a contributing factor (see Appendix V-A) the data provided may be a daily average for parameters which are measured more than once every 24 hours. For MEs which have an environmental cause listed as either a primary/probable cause or a contributing factor, the level of resolution of the relevant environmental parameter(s) should be as granular as available. The Department reserves the right to request additional data or a finer resolution of data.

For example, for or a ME caused by low DO, continuous DO readings from a Facility may be best represented in graphical format to portray changes over time. In the case of a plankton related ME, type of plankton species, as well as concentration (mg/L) changing over time would substantiate the ME cause.

4.9 “For Facilities growing Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), the Licence Holder must investigate any increase in mortality following a known stressful event and:”

The “any increase in mortality” should be further defined as, any abnormal and sustained (i.e. more than a day) increase in mortality….This would be as determined by the Licence Holder’s Veterinarian or delegate Fish Health Staff.

4.9 (d) “collect 10 Fresh Silver Mortalities representing the fish with the elevated mortality for diagnostic testing at the direction of the Department; and”

The Department requires that fish sampled under 4.9 (d) be submitted to an accredited diagnostic labFootnote 1 for qPCR testing for Piscine Orthoreovirus and histopathology of at minimum: heart (atrium and ventricle), and skeletal muscle sampled at the lateral line (i.e. capturing red and white muscle).

4.11 (c) “submit these fish for diagnostic testing at the direction of the Department; and”

The Department requires that fish sampled under 4.11 (b) be submitted to an accredited diagnostic lab 1 for qPCR testing for Piscine Orthoreovirus.

4.12 “The Licence Holder must record “Mortality by Category” for fish within the Containment Structures. The reports must be submitted to the Department, not later than March 15, 2020….”

The “March 15, 2020” is an error, the correct date is April 15, 2020.

6.7 (c)(i) “within 48 hours Upon Discovery and prior to any Sea Lice Management Measure being taken, notify the Department of the planned Sea Lice Management Measures, including harvest, to reduce sea lice levels below the threshold within 42 days using Appendix V-B; and”

“Appendix V-B is incorrect and should read Appendix VI-B.

6.9 (a) [the Licence Holder] “is not required to count sea lice in an individual Containment Structure if:…”

Two exemptions from the 2016 Marine Finfish Aquaculture Licence section 6.2 failed to be incorporated into the 2020 Marine Finfish Aquaculture Licence in 6.9. This omission was an error and the exemptions listed under 6.9(a) should read:

  1. the Containment Structure(s) will be Harvested within the next 10 days; or
  2. fish are being medicated or otherwise managed for a Fish Health Event which precludes handling; or
  3. an ongoing environmental issue would reasonably lead to additional fish stress or harm if handled; or
  4. fewer than 30 calendar days have passed since the completion of fish transfer to the third containment structure; or
  5. fish have been in-feed medicated for sea lice within the previous 21 days; or
  6. written approval was sought and received from the Department’s veterinarian for reasons other than prescribed in 6.9(i), (ii) and (iii); and

6.10 (d) [At any time of the year, if Sea Lice Management Measures are undertaken, the Licence Holder must:] “submit the results of (b) and (c) to the Department within 48 hours of each Counting Event using Appendix VI-B; and”

When post treatment counts are submitted according to 6.10 (d), the Department requires confirmation of the Sea Lice Management Measures dates (start and end for the Containment Structure(s) or Facility as appropriate) be provided in the “Comments” column of the Appendix VI-B. This is to ensure accurate record and assessment of industry sea lice management data.

Appendix IV: Salmonid health management plan

2.10 Handling Drugs and Chemicals - “Fish health and survival is sometimes optimized with judicious use of veterinary prescribed therapeutants.”

The Department considers “judicious use” to necessitate that Licence Holders have intention to complete all Sea Lice Management Measures of Containment Structures undergoing treatment at a given Facility within 14 calendar days. This is necessary to limit re-infection of treated Containment Structures by untreated neighboring Containment Structures.

This bulletin is to provide correction and clarification of the licence conditions based on internal review and feedback from industry. Please be advised that the bulletin is subject to revision at the Department’s discretion and will be sent to licence holders if and when it were to be updated.

If you require further clarification please contact DFO aquaculture fish health veterinarian, Zac Waddington, by telephone at 250 850-9362 or by email at zac.waddington@dfo-mpo.gc.ca