ARCHIVED - 2012 – 2013 Status Update on the Surveillance of Wild and Enhanced Anadromous Salmonids in British Columbia

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Completed 2014

Executive Summary

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA ), in partnership with several groups, has completed two years of wild and enhanced anadromous salmonid surveillance in British Columbia. Collaborators on this initiative included representatives from the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Salmonid Enhancement Program (SEP); the DFO Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR); the DFO High Seas Salmon group; the DFO Environmental Watch Program; the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (FFSBC); Canadian Fishing Company (Canfisco); the Secwepemc Fisheries Commission; the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council; the Lil'wat Nation/Mount Currie Band; the Uu-a-thluk, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council; the Upper Fraser Fisheries Conservation Alliance (UFFCA); and the BC First Nations Fisheries Council (FNFC).

The CFIA undertook two years of consecutive disease surveillance in order to determine the disease status of wild and enhanced salmon in British Columbia for three infectious diseases of concern, namely infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHNV), infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV), and infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV). Although none of those diseases pose a risk to human health, they are contagious among certain finfish species and can cause mortality. IHNV is known to exist in certain species and populations of wild finfish in BC, whereas IPNV and ISAV have not been confirmed in the province.

Because ISAV, IHNV, and IPNV are reportable under the Health of Animals Act, the CFIA is the organization responsible for the design and implementation of official surveillance and for investigation and disease response measures when required. All sampling and testing associated with this initiative was based on internationally recognized science as well as national aquatic animal health requirements. For this survey, statistical sampling was carried out. Samples were collected, handled, transported, and stored so as to maintain sample integrity. Only samples that were collected in a way that maintained chain of custody and were tested by a CFIA -approved laboratory or one of the three laboratories in the DFO National Aquatic Animal Health Laboratories System (NAAHLS) using validated tests can be used towards the substantiation of the presence of a regulated disease.

All six species of anadromous salmonids, namely Chinook, pink, chum, coho, and sockeye salmon as well as steelhead trout, were targeted for surveillance, as they were considered susceptible to at least one of the three diseases of concern. All six species were tested in order to include those that could carry infection without showing signs of disease, given that a primary objective of the survey was to rule out infection and not just the presence of clinical disease. Risk factors associated with disease expression, such as time of year, water temperature and life stage were considered in the plan design. Samples were collected directly from the wild, at processing plants, or at enhancement hatcheries.

In 2012 and 2013 combined, 8006 animals were tested for ISAV, 1272 were tested for IHNV, and 6734 were tested for IPNV. All the samples collected and tested to date were negative for the pathogens of concern.

There continues to be no evidence of ISAV occurrence in British Columbia. Findings from this survey contribute evidence to the substantiation of freedom from ISAV (pathogenic and non-pathogenic forms) in the study group. Infectious pancreatic necrosis virus is not known to occur in wild, cultured, or enhanced fish populations in BC, and to date no surveillance samples have tested positive for IPNV. Findings from this survey represent another source of evidence in support of this historical claim of freedom from IPNV. For IHNV, all samples collected and tested to date have been negative. Higher-risk age groups or species found in BC waters were not targeted for IHNV, as the objective was to determine disease status in returning adults of a variety of species in order to inform trade negotiations. The targeted level of IHNV testing in mature Pacific salmon species was however not met and available data is too scarce to make interpretations about IHNV status in these populations. Additional samples of returning adults will be collected from processing plants in 2014 to address this data gap. Archived wild samples collected in 2012 and 2013 will also be tested for viral haemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) and salmonid alphavirus (SAV) to support safe domestic and international trade. An implementation plan for 2014–2016 has been prepared and describes these next steps and additional surveillance to be carried out in farmed salmon in BC.

This surveillance initiative has successfully resulted in the collection and analysis of surveillance data to support the attestation of the disease status of anadromous salmonids in BC. This evidence is used to support scientifically based control measures, for the purposes of safe domestic and international trade.

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