Campbell River grad at cutting edge of Atlantic salmon study

Courier Islander
November 14, 2014

Liz Boulding, Carihi class of 1975, is going to transform the Canadian aquaculture industry.

Now known as Professor Elizabeth Boulding of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph, Ontario, she will lead the 'Salmon and Chips' project in conjunction with the Genome Atlantic/Ontario Genomics Institute.

Genome Canada is a not-for-profit organization that champions genetic research.

The Salmon and Chips project intends to help salmon farmers identify fast-growing fish that resist disease and parasites.

The project received $1.27 million in funding from Genome Canada and $2.26 million from Cooke and Kelly Cove Salmon.

Kelly Cove is the North American production division of Cooke Aquaculture.

The National Research Council's industrial research assistance program kicked in $272,000. Genome Canada contributed $1.09 million to the Ewos Innovation project, while the company provided $2.71 million in funding.

Boulding hopes to help farmers improve survival rates of eggs and juvenile stages and use fewer vaccines and medication.

Boulding will blend genomic marker information with conventional methods to improve salmon breeding programs. The team will use existing gene chips and develop new ones for genomic markers in breeding fish.

"If we are successful, we will increase survival of eggs and juveniles to adulthood, result in better salt-water performance, and reduce the need for vaccines and medication," Boulding said. "Fish that are more disease-resistant will require less medication. They will also be less likely to become infected from wild fish or transmit parasites or diseases back to wild salmon."

Boulding's initial interest was to work on the ecological genomics of wild Atlantic salmon and how different populations from different rivers became adapted to different environment.

Read the full article in the Courier Islander.

Posted November 14th, 2014

BC wild salmon tested and certified free of three diseases: federal agency

Vancouver Sun
November 12, 2014

A two-year investigation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has found no evidence of three diseases in wild salmonids on the B.C. coast.

A total of 8,006 samples of trout and salmon species collected in 2012 and 2013 showed no evidence of infectious salmon anaemia. Of that number, 6,734 were also tested for infectious pancreatic necrosis and 1,272 for infectious haematopoietic necrosis — and all tests were negative.

CFIA said in a news release it also evaluated existing surveillance data for farmed salmon in B.C. and found no current or historical evidence of ISA or IPN in these populations. The 2006-to-2011 data came from provincial and federal programs as well as from routine monitoring and testing by industry.

CFIA is currently testing farmed salmon in B.C. for non-pathogenic ISA.

While these diseases do not affect human health or food safety, they can “affect aquatic animal health and have an adverse effect on trade,” the agency said.

In 2011, Simon Fraser University fisheries statistician Rick Routledge reported that of 48 underweight juvenile Pacific sockeye from Rivers Inlet sent for testing to Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island, two tested positive for ISA, which can be fatal to Atlantic salmon. He had the fish tested at the request of Alexandra Morton, a researcher and long-standing opponent of fish farms from northern Vancouver Island.

A review of the P.E.I. lab concluded the facility lacked proper quality standards and didn’t thoroughly investigate conflicting test results. The findings led to the lab being stripped of a prestigious reference status as a facility recognized internationally to test for ISA.

Morton said Tuesday she also sent samples to a lab in Norway, which confirmed the presence of ISA. “What are the chances that those juvenile Rivers Inlet sockeye were the only fish in B.C. with traces of the ISA virus?” she asked, noting federal Pacific Biological Station has also confirmed finding ISA in BC.

Read the full article in the Vancouver Sun.

Read related articles:

Posted November 12th, 2014

Norway fish farmers need predictability, sustainability: minister [Norway]

November 7, 2014

Norway could radically change the way it regulates fish farming to provide more predictability for the industry and make sure future growth is environmentally sustainable, the country's government said on Friday.

Fisheries Minister Elisabeth Aspaker proposed three potential frameworks for allotment of new licenses and said they would be subject to a round of hearings lasting two months.

The first option is to hand out licenses under the current framework, in license rounds that pick winners based on applications, while the second would be to allow for an annual percentage rate of growth.

The third model represents the most radical break with the past, introducing an allocation rule based on environmental indicators that follow a red, yellow and green traffic light system.

"A green light would permit growth. Yellow would mean status quo, while a red light would force a reduction in capacity," Aspaker said.

Read the full article in Reuters.

Posted November 7th, 2014

NAFTA's Commission On Environmental Cooperation 'Dying A Slow Death': Ex-Director

Huffington Post
November 7, 2014

Attempts by NAFTA's environmental watchdog to look into the Harper government's record on salmon farming and the oilsands are at an impasse after deadlines passed for member countries to vote on the investigations.

It's the latest blow to an organization formed to preserve environmental enforcement, but which has now been almost neutered by the governments that created it, said a former director of the Commission on Environmental Cooperation.

"This institution doesn't have the tools it needs to do anything effective," said Geoff Garver, who headed the organization's enforcement branch from 2000 to 2007 and served on its public advisory board until recently. "It's dying a slow death."

The commission was created in 1995 to win environmental support for the North American Free Trade Agreement by ensuring the deal wouldn't boost commerce at the expense of clean air, water or land. Commission staff investigate public complaints that Canada, the United States or Mexico aren't living up to their laws and recommend a "factual record" if they find enough grounds.

"That was a novel creation and a very hopeful provision," said Albert Koehl of Ecojustice, an environmental law firm that made seven submissions to the commission. "It was greeted with a very positive reaction at the time."

Two such submissions are behind the commission's current conflicts with Canada.

Environmental groups and individuals say Canada is breaking the Fisheries Act by allowing an unknown amount of tailings from the oilsands to seep into groundwater. Canada has also been accused of harming wild salmon stocks by allowing viruses from fish farms to spread.

Read the full article in the Huffington Post.

Posted November 7th, 2014

Potential for High Salmon Survival in Future Aquaculture Systems [Norway]

The Fish Site
November 7, 2014

It may be possible that all farmed salmon can survive in the facilities used for postsmolt production in the future. The key is careful control of the salmon’s environment as it grows.

When salmon are exposed in open cages in the sea, they face a changing environment, disease and sea lice. Many small salmon smolts are not sufficiently robust to deal with these threats.

This is one part of the problem that scientists and the aquaculture industry have been closely working together to solve for the past three years. They have discovered that it is possible to reduce the time that the salmon spend in the sea by increasing the time on land, or in closed facilities in the sea. The scientists have also investigated the consequences for the performance, physiology and production costs of the fish.

Read the full article on The Fish Site.

Read related article:

Posted November 7th, 2014