Industry Guidance for Growers of Molluscs

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You will need to get prepared starting at least 2 months ahead of the planned movement

This guidance document is for mollusc culturists who will:

  • receive a declared wild or cultured mollusc harvested directly from the natural waterways of Canada for the purpose of culture;
  • send declared cultured molluscs for the purpose of culture, processing commercial, release into natural waterways, and research.

A permit from the CFIA is required if wild or cultured molluscs are coming from an area with a different reportable aquatic animal disease status than the area where the culture facility is located.

A permit from the CFIA may be required for sending wild or cultured molluscs to an area with a different reportable aquatic animal disease status than the area where the culture facility is located.

For more information, please review the declarations.

Culturists have two options when bringing in or receiving a declared mollusc:

  1. Receive the animal with an unknown disease status into a biocontained culture facility or processing plant; or
  2. Send or receive healthy animals as long as:
    • they come from a facility that has a preventive control plan that prevents the introduction of the diseases
    • they have been inspected and tested by the CFIA;
    • the test results are determined to be negative; and
    • They are shipped in containers and water (including ice) that is free of the diseases.

Apply for a Movement Permit to a Closed Premises (CFIA/ACIA 5749) - PDF (154 kb) to receive wild molluscs that are harvested directly from the natural waterways of Canada, or to receive cultured molluscs and the disease status is unknown. To subsequently move the animals out of the biocontained facility, permission from the CFIA will be required.

Apply for a Movement Permit for Molluscs and Things (CFIA/ACIA 5758) – PDF (166 kb) if segregation, inspection and testing is required prior to shipping declared molluscs from your facility. If declared molluscs require segregation, inspection and testing before they are moved to your facility, you should request that their owner apply for the permit.

In addition to a possible CFIA permit, culturists may also require authorization to move molluscs by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and/or the province or territory in which your facility is located. For more information, visit the Introductions and Transfers web site.

Please note that all molluscs harvested for human consumption are subject to the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program.

The period of time that the permit is valid is flexible, depending on the needs of the planned movement. Please indicate your movement needs on the application and discuss them with the CFIA inspector.

Culturists should follow the appropriate permit conditions for their specific needs:

Additional information:

Permit Conditions to Receive Molluscs into a Biocontained Facility

  1. The permit holder controls and handles the movement of the animal or thing in a manner that prevents the spread of diseases, toxic substances and vectors;
  2. The permit holder keeps, for two years after the movement of the animal or thing, a copy of the permit and a record of the date of movement and the name and address of the place from which the animal or thing is moved, as well as the quantity or volume of the animals or things;
  3. The permit holder makes that copy and those records available for inspection by a CFIA inspector on request;
  4. The animal or thing to be covered by this permit is not under any other movement restriction imposed under a law of Canada or a province, and is not intended for destruction for disease control purposes;
  5. The reportable disease status of the animal and thing described in Section C remains the same as declared for the area of origin of the animal or thing. The permit holder must notify the CFIA of any change in the reportable disease status of the animal or thing;
  6. The destination premises described in Section B has physical, operational and decontamination measures documented in a preventive control planFootnote 1 to prevent the spread of any of the reportable diseases from the destination premises and these measures are implemented;
  7. The permit holder must notify the CFIA of any breach in implementation of the preventive control plan that may result in spread of any of the reportable diseases from the destination premises described in Section B;
  8. The permit holder must notify the CFIA of any loss of integrity of packaging during transport of the animal or thing described in Section C to the destination premises described in Section B;
  9. No transfer or shipping from the destination premises described in Section B of the animal or thing described in Section C, or anything derived from that aquatic animal or thing that is still infectious, can occur without the prior written consent of, or a permit issued by the CFIA.

Permit Conditions if you Send Molluscs from a Culture Facility that Requires Segregation, Inspection and Testing

Please note that not all the permit conditions will apply as some depend on the type of animal that is being sent.

  1. The disease status of the area of origin that is named in this permit does not change between the time of issuance of this permit and the time of the movement;
  2. The permit holder controls and handles the movement of the animal in a manner that prevents the spread of diseases, toxic substances and vectors;
  3. The permit holder keeps, for two years after the movement of the animal, a copy of the permit and a record of the date of movement and the name and address of the place to which the animal is moved, as well as the quantity or volume of the animals;
  4. The permit holder makes that copy and those records available for inspection by a CFIA inspector on request;
  5. The animal to be covered by this permit is not under any other movement restriction imposed under a law of Canada or a province, and is not intended for destruction for disease control purposes;
  6. The animal described in Section C that is a mollusc has been reared since fertilization under a documented preventive control planFootnote 2 with measures that prevent the introduction of any of the reportable diseases to that animal and the measures are implemented;
  7. The animal described in Section C is not vaccinated for any of the reportable diseases if the vaccine will interfere with the determination of the reportable disease status of the vaccinated animal by a CFIA Inspector;
  8. The animal that moves under this permit must not come into direct or indirect contact with any animal that is not part of the population for which the reportable disease status has been established from the time of inspection by the CFIA until the animal is moved;
  9. A representative sample from the population of animals that is to be moved under this permit was taken by the CFIA, submitted for testing by NAAHLSFootnote 3, and determined by the CFIA to be negative for any of the reportable diseases;
  10. The population of animals that is to be moved under this permit was inspected by the CFIA at the time of sampling for clinical signs and/or lesions of any of the reportable diseases and none were observed;
  11. The permit holder must notify the CFIA of any morbidity shown by or mortality of the animal noticed after the inspection by the CFIA but prior to the movement of the animal that can be attributed to a reportable disease;
  12. The shipping container, animal holding unit, shipping material, equipment and conveyance used during the movement are new or are decontaminated in a manner that removes or inactivates any of the reportable diseases and vectors;
  13. The new or decontaminated shipping container, animal holding unit, shipping material, equipment and conveyance must not come into direct or indirect contact with an animal or thing that will not be moved to the location of the destination described in Section B;
  14. The water, including ice, used during the shipment is free of any of the reportable diseases and vectors or is treated in a manner that removes or inactivates any of the reportable diseases and vectors.

How to comply with the permit conditions

Before the CFIA issues a permit, a CFIA inspector will work with the applicant to verify that the facility can meet the permit conditions, and to verify ongoing compliance with the permit conditions during the time that the permit is valid. The CFIA may inspect documents and records, the physical layout of the facility, and how it operates in order to assess their ability to meet and ongoing compliance with the permit conditions.

The following are examples of ways to comply with permit conditions:

Preventive control plan for a biocontained facility

  • You are required to demonstrate to the CFIA that disease will not spread if you are bringing potentially infected molluscs into a facility designed for biocontainment.
  • Written documentation is required to show the physical, operational and decontamination measures employed that will mitigate the risk of disease spreading. You must address this risk for any animal, water, feed, fomites or vectors that will leave the facility, including the people that work or visit the facility.
  • If disinfectant footbaths are employed, the CFIA will verify that measures are in place so that they do not contribute to spread of disease.

Inspection and sampling of molluscs

  • Make an appointment with the CFIA veterinary inspector and provide inventory and location information of all the animals to be inspected and sampled.
  • Provide assistance during the sampling process and provision of all equipment required to gain access to the animals for selection of samples by the CFIA. Expect that molluscs will be sampled from each holding unit (or a selection of them if there are many).

For more information on how to comply with these or other permit conditions, contact your CFIA Area Office.

Once a permit is issued, check if the declarations have changed for the origin and destination prior to each movement to ensure that the permit still applies to the planned movement. Please consider bookmarking the Declarations page for easy access.

General information related to movements

The permit and its conditions may be amended only by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food or by an inspector who is designated for the purposes of the Health of Animals Act. The permit and its conditions may not be amended with respect to a specific movement after it has already occurred. If an amendment is required to a valid movement permit that has already been issued under this program, or if a change to permit conditions is desired, submit a new application and check the Amendment or Derogation box in Section A.

The permit holder must meet all of the conditions specified in documents attached to the permit, or else the movement of the animal or thing is not permitted. The permit holder is also required to notify the CFIA when they suspect or detect any reportable disease in an animal.

The CFIA may dispose of an animal or thing, or order that it be disposed of, when it:

  • is suspected of being affected or contaminated by a disease or toxic substance;
  • has been in contact with an animal or thing that is, or is suspected of being affected or contaminated by a disease or toxic substance; or
  • is suspected of being a vector or the causative agent of a disease or a toxic substance.

The CFIA inspector may also order that that an animal or thing be treated if they consider that the treatment will effectively eliminate the disease or prevent it from spreading. Although compensation may be awarded in respect of disposal or treatment costs, the Government of Canada is not liable for any costs incurred by a person required to do anything under the legislation respecting the health of animals.

If a designated animal is moved into an area that either violates the conditions of the permit or contravenes the Health of Animals Act or Health of Animals Regulations, the CFIA may order the animal returned without delay to the area from which it was moved or to an area of equal or lesser health status.

Those who transport live aquatic animals by air should comply with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animals Regulations, approved by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). For all forms of transport, suitable arrangements must be made for water quality, ambient temperature, oxygenation and general care of the animal during transportation. An animal must be fit to be transported and should not suffer stress that renders them infirm, ill, injured or fatigued during the journey.

The permit and its conditions cover all persons who are moving the animal or thing on behalf of the permit holder. The permit holder remains responsible for the shipment's continued compliance with the conditions of the permit.

Important definitions

Culture:
refers to the end use of keeping or holding of live aquatic animals for sale, or enhancement, restoration or stocking that may or may not employ some method of intervention in the process, such as feeding or collection of germplasm. This definition excludes live aquatic animals kept in aquaria for the end use of education, display or retail (private or public).
Decontamination:
refers to the process of cleaning and/or disinfection of a fomite or the surface of eggs of aquatic animals to remove or inactivate the declared diseases.
Depuration:
means the process of using a controlled aquatic environment to reduce the level of bacteria and viruses in live molluscs.
Dry Storage:
means the storage of live molluscs out of water.
Enhancement:
means live finfish that will be put directly into natural waterways, including the territorial seas and contiguous zones for the purpose of augmenting commercial fisheries.
Fomite:
refers to an inanimate object capable of transmitting a disease.
Processing Commercial:
refers to the end use of processing of live molluscs at a federally-registered establishment and intended for human consumption. This definition includes the activities of depuration, dry storage, short-term container relaying, and wet storage.
Relay:
means the transfer of molluscs from marginally contaminated areas to approved areas for natural biological cleansing, using the ambient environment as a treatment system for periods of 14 days or greater. Areas are approved by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO).
Release into Natural Waterways:
means the end use of release of live aquatic animals into the Canadian fisheries waters and the contiguous zone of Canada. This definition does not include aquatic animals that are kept or held in the natural waterways. Canadian fisheries waters means all waters in the fishing zones of Canada, all waters in the territorial sea of Canada and all internal waters of Canada (section 2 of the Fisheries Act).
Research:
refers to the end use of aquatic animals, aquatic animal carcasses or things for scientific research or experimentation.
Restoration:
means live finfish that will be put directly into natural waterways, including the territorial seas and contiguous zones, for the purpose of bringing back a species into the ecosystem; the purpose may include restoration of recreational or commercial fishing opportunities.
Salting Up:
means the transfer of molluscs from low salinity growing areas to high salinity growing areas to improve the growth and marketability of the mollusc for human consumption. Synonym: High Salinity Relay.
Short-term Container Relaying:
means the transfer of live molluscs from marginally contaminated areas to approved areas for natural biological cleansing in a container using the ambient environment as a treatment system for periods of less than 14 days.
Stocking:
means live finfish that will be put directly into natural waterways, including the territorial seas and contiguous zones or ponds with access to natural waterways, for the purpose of augmenting recreational fishing.
Vector:
refers to a living animal that has the potential to transmit a disease, directly or indirectly, from one animal or its excreta to another animal.
Wet Storage:
means the temporary storage (less than 60 days) of live molluscs from approved sources (harvest sites are approved by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)), intended for marketing, in containers or floats in natural bodies of seawater or in tanks containing natural or synthetic seawater.
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