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Weekly Overview: Canadian Government Should Back Closed Containment Salmon Farming

12 March 2013

ANALYSIS - In this week's news, a report on closed containment salmon aquaculture by the Federal Government's Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans suggests the Canadian Government should look further into the socio-economic impacts of a possible transition to closed containment technologies.

The report adds that the government also needs to take into account the resulting impacts on employment in rural and coastal communities.

The standing committee has called on the government to work with rural, coastal and First Nations communities to encourage economic growth through the development of aquaculture operations, including the use of closed containment technologies and at the same time it recognises the important contributions made by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and recommends that the government should work with SDTC to ensure funding of research and development of sustainable closed containment technologies.

The committee said that any commercial adoption of closed containment aquaculture or other innovative aquaculture technologies will have to have public and private financial support to complete research and ultimately to allow new technologies to advance from purely demonstration models to commercial enterprises.

It said that together with the industry the government should review the financing options to ensure that resources are available to close the commercialisation gaps and it said there should be a dedicated fund for closed containment demonstration projects.

The committee has called on the Canadian Government to develop a national policy and regulatory framework for aquaculture including an aquaculture act and it said that the government and industry should establish a centre of excellence for salmon aquaculture development at a university to study all aspects of salmon aquaculture development, including its impact on surrounding communities.

The report has been broadly welcomed by the salmon farming community in Canada.

Research in Norway could help to shed light on how Infectious Salmon Anaemia is transmitted and carried.

Maria Aamelfot from the Norwegian Veterinary Institute found in her research on the interaction between salmon and viruses how the cells and organs of the virus can attach as a route of infection.

The study looked at the ISA virus receptors found on cells in salmon including the endothelial cells that line the inside of blood vessels, the red blood cells in the blood vessels and the cells that line the outside of the gills.

For the first time a study has shown the receptor in tissue sections and shown where it is at the cellular level.

Ms Aamelfot found that viruses that multiply in endothelial cells are secreted directly into the bloodstream and attach to the red blood cells that transport the virus around the blood vessel system.

The virus can then damage the defence mechanism, which cover the inside of the veins.

The research is seen as an important step forward 9in finding a means of preventing the disease.

The study has been released at a time when a new outbreak of ISA in Norway was reported to the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) earlier this month and investigations were being made earlier into a potential outbreak in Nova Scotia.

The virus, which was first discovered in Norway in 1984, can spread from cage to cage in salmon farms with devastating effect and at present cannot be treated.

Chris Harris

Chris Harris

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