Notice to Industry - Viral Haemorrhagic Septicemia Virus detected in Atlantic herring

Ottawa, March 31, 2017 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed the presence of viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus strain IVa (VHSV IVa) in wild Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) harvested in waters off of Nova Scotia and Quebec.

As a result of these detections, changes have been made to the National Aquatic Animal Health Program from both the domestic and international trade perspectives.

Changes to the Domestic Movement Control Program

The updates below have been made to the Domestic Movement Control Program

  • Currently, the areas of Newfoundland and Labrador and Atlantic Ocean North are declared as infected.
  • With these new detections, the areas of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Atlantic Ocean South have now been declared as infected areas for VHSV IVa.
  • Atlantic herring is considered a susceptible species for VHSV IVa and may require a domestic movement permit.
  • Other finfish species that are currently considered as susceptible to VHSV IVa include Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout. These species may also require a domestic movement permit.

If you move finfish or related things domestically, please consult the Domestic Movement Control Program for the latest information.

Impact on International Trade and Changes to Export Certification Processes

This detection will impact export certification of VHSV susceptible finfish species and fish and seafood products harvested in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Quebec, including the surrounding marine waters that are destined for markets with animal health-related requirements.

  • Currently the CFIA endorses export certificates for finfish species susceptible to VHSV from Atlantic Canada for both food and non-food uses.
  • The current Atlantic species of finfish considered susceptible to VHSV include Atlantic herring, Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, cod, Atlantic halibut, American eel, Greenland halibut, haddock and turbot.
  • For fish and seafood products, exports of uneviscerated, whole fish (such as herring) to the Ukraine and Brazil may have additional inspection and/or testing requirements (requirements are species specific).
  • Exports of uneviscerated cultured finfish to the European Union for food and live finfish and germplasm for purposes of culture may now be subject to additional animal health requirements for export.
  • Live animals (such as Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout) and their germplasm exported for research, culture and other uses to countries such as the United States, Brazil and Panama will have to be tested for freedom from VHSV IVa.
  • Finally, trade partners may also choose to increase their export certification requirements and, if so, the CFIAwill be required to negotiate in order to maintain market access.

Export certification requirements for products harvested from waters off of Newfoundland and Labrador remain in effect.

For information on specific changes to export certification, please contact your local CFIA office.

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