Canadian ministers issue joint ISA statement – Fishfarmer Magazine

Canadian ministers issue joint ISA statement25 October, 2011 –

The minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Keith Ashfield, and the minister of Agriculture and Agrifoods from Canada, Gerry Ritz, have issued a joint statement referring to the news on ISA virus findings in British Columbia, Canada.

“We want to assure Canadians and people around the world that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are working diligently to get the facts about the reports of the presence of Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) in British Columbian salmon,” both ministers pointed out.

“The recent reports stating that ISA has been found in British Columbian salmon have not yet been verified by federal officials through established processes. After initial investigations, the ministers said they are concerned that proper protocols may not have been followed in the testing and reporting of these findings.

“CFIA and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are working to assess the results through scientifically sound and internationally recognised procedures, which must include additional testing to verify the presence or absence of ISA virus in these samples.

“The CFIA and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have been able to acquire additional tissue samples from the 48 sample fish. The national ISA reference laboratory in Moncton will analyse these samples. These tests could take up to four or five weeks to complete.

“Fisheries and Oceans Canada conducts regular testing in British Columbia for a wide variety of pathogens, including ISA. Over the past two years, over 500 wild and farmed salmon in British Columbia have been tested by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

“From 2003 to 2010, the British Columbian Ministry of Agriculture operated a scientifically designed surveillance programme that tested over 4,700 farmed salmon in BC. Again, all samples were negative for the virus. In short, there has never been a confirmed case of ISA in British Columbian salmon – farmed or wild.

“There are stringent federal regulations in place to protect Canada’s aquatic species (farmed and wild) from disease. The protection of Canada’s natural resources continues to be a top priority of the Government of Canada.

“Until such time as this testing is finalised, it is important that Canadians and others reserve judgment and let the appropriate scientific process run its course. Public debate and any forward action on this issue must be based on the best science.”