Maintaining Consistency In Fish Health Programmes

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
5 August 2010, at 1:00am

CANADA - Changes to the audit process for BC salmon farms' fish health management plans were made this spring to ensure consistency during the regulatory transition from provincial to federal governments.

"In order to maintain a consistent monitoring programme, our company's veterinarians recommended that we switch to a third party audit system through this transition," said Mary Ellen Walling, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. "This was done to ensure the ongoing integrity of the fish health programme."

In the spring of this year, as involved parties looked to plan for the regulatory transition, the BC Salmon Farmers Association was advised that the province would not accept delegated authority from the federal government for salmon farming, and in particular fish health management. As the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are still working on their regulations, local companies agreed a third party transition would keep the process consistent.

The association's members are now reviewing proposals for that service and working to identify the additional resources it will require. The change is also now also aligning with a recently-funded upgrade project for their fish health database.

The BC Salmon Farmers Association continues to share the information collected through their extensive database with the provincial government - and fish health staff continued to visit farms to ensure compliance with the Fish Health Management Plans. All farms were found compliant during this interim period, and the industry reports are posted online through the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.

"We're very proud of our fish health management plans and feel they're key to the long-term success of this industry," said Ms Walling."We'll be working closely with our new regulators to determine the best path for moving forward with those plans."