Notice to Industry – Update on zoning of Alberta for whirling disease – Red Deer River watershed

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Ottawa, June 23, 2017 – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed the presence of whirling disease (infection with Myxobolus cerebralis) in the Red Deer River watershed in Alberta. As of June 23, 2017, the Bow, Oldman and Red Deer River watersheds are declared infected areas for this disease.

The rest of Alberta is declared as a buffer area for this disease until surveillance by the CFIA, Parks Canada and the Government of Alberta determines that the buffer area or parts of the buffer area are free or infected with whirling disease.

This declaration establishes a federal government role in managing this disease for Canada. The declaration does not mean that every susceptible finfish population within the Bow, Oldman and Red Deer River watersheds are infected with the disease.

As a result of the new declaration, a domestic movement permit will be required from the CFIA for susceptible species and end uses identified in the Domestic Movement Control Program, the vector Tubifex tubifex, the disease causing agent Myxobolus cerebralis, and/or related things out of the infected and buffer areas of Alberta.

The following are examples of facilities and activities that will require a permit:

  • Provincially licensed aquaculture facilities that are designated as Commercial A in Alberta and moving live or dead finfish or gametes (sperm or egg) for cryopreservation, culture, research, and release into natural waterways.
  • Diagnostic laboratories that are receiving live or freshly dead or frozen finfish, or the pathogen of whirling disease from the Bow, Oldman and Red Deer River watersheds or from Alberta.
  • Other types of laboratories that participate in water toxicity or benthic testing programs, for example, and are receiving live or freshly dead or frozen finfish, or freshwater sediments.
  • Research activities that use live or freshly dead or frozen finfish, the vector of whirling disease, the pathogen of whirling disease, or freshwater sediments from the Bow, Oldman and Red Deer River watersheds or from Alberta.

Aquaculture facilities in Alberta can also apply to the CFIA for compartment recognition and declaration as a free area for whirling disease.

Recreational and sport fishing, including fishing led by a professional guide, will not require a CFIA permit.

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

Parks Canada and the Government of Alberta will also share in managing this disease.

Impact on international trade and changes to export certification processes

The United States, Japan and Iran are trading partners that currently have export certification requirements specifically related to whirling disease. Exports to these countries include live and dead susceptible species and their germplasm for end uses ranging from aquaculture to human consumption.

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