Bulletin - Urgent notifications templates

February 8, 2019

RE: Urgent Notifications Templates

The Aquaculture Management Division of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (the Department) is undertaking a modernization of our data management system to allow increased utility and accuracy of our data. As part of this process, we have updated the reporting templates for industry notifications of: 1) Fish Health Events (FHE), 2) Mortality Events (ME), and 3) Sea lice over threshold. We anticipate these new templates will allow more consistent reporting by industry, without any increased regulatory burden.

The implementation of the new reporting templates gives us an opportunity to clarify some specific key elements on how notifications are reported to the Department. These elements are as follows:

  1. Fish Health Event (FHE) reporting:
    • FHEs that are reported to the Department as per Condition of Licence (CoL) 4.5(c) must be reported using the new template. Only therapeutant details as per CoL 4.5(d) will be reported in the existing Appendix V-B Mortality by Category.
    • A FHE must be reported wherein any suspected or active disease occurrence has warranted veterinary involvement and mitigative action.
      • Site quarantine and/or enhanced biosecurity (e.g. visiting last) would constitute mitigative action and therefore FHE notification.
      • Culling of fish must be reported to the Department as a FHE when used as a management tool to mitigate suspected or confirmed disease in a population.
        • Routine “grading out” of poor performers during any transfer is exempt from this reporting requirement.
    • The current occurrence categories of “new, ongoing and relapsing,” in Appendix V-B Mortality by Category will be changed to “new, ongoing and recurring.” Please see the “Guidance” tab in the new FHE reporting template for definitions of these deliniations..
    • Each disease process warrants an independent FHE report, and follow-up reporting as necessary.
      • For example, if there were two disease processes being treated on farm (even if the treatment is one and the same) each disease must be reported independently. It is recommended that a reference be made to the concurrent disease in the “Comments” column.
  2. Mortality Event (ME) reporting:
    • All ME that are reported to the Department as per CoL 4.4(b)(i) and 4.4(b)(ii) must be reported using the new template that replaces the current Appendix V-A (Urgent Notification (& Follow-Up Reports)) of Mortality Events.
    • All supporting documentation which justifies the primary and any contributing cause(s) of the ME must be retained on site and be made available to the Department upon request.
    • Mortalities which occur during a transfer must be reported as occurring at the destination facility.
      • Rationale: This ensures that mortality is not “split” between source and destination facilities, or reported twice. By attributing mortalities to the destination facility, any subsequent mortalities which may be related to the transfer will be captured in subsequent ME reports.
    • 10 day follow up ME reports are required for all MEs, unless it is stated in the initial notification that the ME cause has been resolved.
      • 10 day follow up mortality reports must include mortality broken down day-by-day for the 10 days, with any updates to primary probable cause, diagnosis, actions taken as appropriate.
      • If the ME has resolved within the 10 days, this must be indicated in the comments section of the report.
    • The “Pens Affected” column in the new template is meant to capture mortality events which clearly only affect a portion of the farm (e.g. handling, predation, transfer). Any generalized environmentally induced MEs should be reported as “all pens.”
    • Any accumulated mortalities, due to a delay in retrieval, must be reported on the day they are recovered from the pen(s) (i.e. not averaged out over the previous days)
      • Rationale: There is no way of knowing which mortalities occurred on which day(s) during the absent or incomplete mortality retrieval. Therefore, averaging out the mortalities over numerous days may result in a given mortality event being missed. Licence holders must make efforts to ensure that, “carcasses are collected, classified and recorded on a routine and frequent basis…”as per 2.6.1 of the HMP.
      • If there are circumstances which result in the delayed retrieval of mortalities (e.g. weather, biosecurity, equipment malfunction) which then resulted in a mortality event trigger on the day of retrieval, provide this supporting evidence to the Department with your ME notification. The Department will not enter a record of a ME where sufficient evidence has been provided to justify the exemption of a ME.
  3. Sea lice over threshold reporting:
    • All Sea lice threshold exceedances that are reported to the Department as per CoL 7.3 must be reported using the new template.
      • Any exceedance that occurs outside of the juvenile salmon outmigration period and is reported to the Department as per CoL 7.1, must be reported again if the exceedance is still ongoing on or after March 1st.
    • As per CoL 6.4 and 6.5, plans to address sea lice threshold exceedances must be submitted to the Department within seven and 30 calendar days respectively, of the date of discovery.
      • Between March 1 and June 30th, plans must be implemented within 15 days
      • The “date of discovery” is synonymous with the “Incident Date” found in the new Sea Lice Overabundance Template (see “guidance” tab for definition).
    • As per Appendix VI 1.1(c), a three-pen sampling event must be conducted within five calendar days.

This bulletin is our interpretation of the licence conditions based on current information and updated reporting templates. Please be advised that this bulletin is subject to revision at the Department’s discretion and will be sent to licence holders if and when updated.

If you require further clarification please contact DFO aquaculture fish health veterinarian: Zac Waddington 250-703-0902.