Aquaculture Activities Regulations guidance document

Table of Contents

Guidance Document for Owners and Operators

Disclaimer

The Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance Document is for information only. It is not a substitute for the Fisheries Act or its Regulations. In the event of an inconsistency between the Guidance Document and the Fisheries Act or its Regulations, the legislation always prevails. In addition, the Aquaculture Activities Regulations do not replace or repeal any existing federal or provincial statutes.

Effective Date and Review

The Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance Document is effective on the day on which the Regulations come into force. The Guidance Document will be updated, as needed, to provide further clarity as the Regulations are implemented. The most recent version of this document, together with other Aquaculture Activities Regulations-related documents, can be found on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website.

Purpose

The purpose of the Guidance Document for Owners and Operators is to provide a clear interpretation of what the Aquaculture Activities Regulations (AAR) mean, how they will be implemented, and what owners and operators need to do to comply with their provisions.

In addition to the Regulations and this Guidance Document, the following instruments will support AAR implementation:

All of these AAR related documents are available here.

Background

In Canada, aquaculture is managed by different levels of government. Provincial governments are the primary regulators and leasing authorities for aquaculture (except in British Columbia and Prince Edward Island), while the federal government has responsibility for navigation, disease prevention affecting international trade, and the environment under the Fisheries Actand the Health of Animals Act.

On November 25,2013, amendments were made to the Fisheries Act to focus the habitat protection provision (s.35) on threats to the productivity of recreational, commercial and Aboriginal fisheries. The pollution prevention provision (s.36), which prohibits the deposit of deleterious substances into waters frequented by fish unless permitted by regulation, remained unchanged.

In March 2014, a clear delineation of responsibilities for managing threats from deleterious substances (under s.36) between Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) was established by an Order in Council (known as the s.36 designation order). Under the designation order, the Minister of Environment is the lead minister for all matters related to the deposit of deleterious substances except in relation to the use of such substances for the purpose of aquaculture management and the management of aquatic invasive species and aquatic pests. In these areas, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has the lead role.

The Aquaculture Activities Regulations (AAR) are made pursuant to the Ministerial regulation-making authorities as stated in sections 35(3) and 36(5.2) of the Fisheries Act. These risk-based Regulations were developed to clarify legalities with respect to the normal operations of an aquaculture facility: those activities related to the structure and maintenance of the facility itself, and those designed to protect farmed fish from pests and pathogens entering from the marine environment and to control the transfer of those pests and pathogens back to wild fish.

The three classes of substances managed under the AAR [drugs, pesticides and biochemical oxygen-demanding matter (BOD)] are already managed, for the most part, by provincial and other federal authorities. Some provinces with marine finfish aquaculture have already established BOD limits to minimize impacts from organic deposits. Ontario has developed “Sediment Quality Objectives, Monitoring and Management Response” as conditions of licence for freshwater finfish sites. In addition, provinces and Health Canada have complementary responsibilities for managing how drugs and pesticides are used. The AAR brings together all these pieces of provincial and federal legislation for the greater protection of fish and fish habitat and to bring aquaculture into compliance with the spirit and intent of the Fisheries Act.

Scope of Application

The AAR apply to all aquaculture facilities in Canada which have a provincial or federal licence and whose operations have the potential to deposit deleterious substances into fish-bearing waters or to cause serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery or fish that support those fisheries. The Regulations apply to marine and freshwater finfish (including hatcheries), and shellfish; however, sections 8-12 relate only to facilities located in tidal waters that cultivate finfish. Lobster tanks or pounds, herring weirs, or other holding facilities for wild-capture species are not covered or affected by these Regulations.

The purpose of the Regulations is to provide authorization, under certain conditions, to all affected facilities to conduct two types of activities:

Since the Regulations are risk-based, not all the requirements stipulated in the AAR will apply to every aquaculture site and not all owners or operators will have to report on every provision. The table in Annex 2 provides an overview of the scope of application and indicates which sections of the Regulations apply to what type of aquaculture facility. These requirements are also detailed in the AAR Reporting Template (in Annex 1).

The Regulations do not replace or repeal any existing federal or provincial statutes. The Regulations do not regulate the approval, application, or any other element of drug or pesticide use, or the disposal of fish waste from fish processing activities.

DFO will not issue any licences or permits under the AAR; rather, the Regulations constitute the authorization and set conditions for compliance with s.35 and s.36 of the Act. The AAR will not affect the manner in which aquaculture facilities are currently licensed in any province or territory or by DFO in British Columbia and Prince Edward Island. The definition of “aquaculture licence” in the Regulations reflects the status quo.

However, aquaculture facilities that do not have an aquaculture licence (which may be provincial or federal and includes leases which set conditions of operations) are not covered by the AAR and thus are subject to the s.35 and s.36 prohibitions and enforcement provisions of the Fisheries Act at all times.

While DFO is responsible for enforcing the AAR, the Department has worked closely with other federal and provincial authorities in the development of the Regulations to avoid regulatory overlap or contradiction. The Regulations align with programs and regulatory regimes already existing in provincial and other federal jurisdictions so as to minimize duplicative administrative requirements, while ensuring that legislated environmental protection objectives are met. The mitigation and monitoring requirements under these Regulations codify, as much as possible, industry requirements and practices already existing under relevant provincial and federal regulatory regimes, while introducing new and cost-effective measures to allow the federal government to better coordinate the management of pesticides and drugs used to treat pests and pathogens at aquaculture sites.

The Regulations also apply to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) whereby the President of CFIA is authorized to deposit deleterious substances and to kill fish for the purposes of implementing the Health of the Animals Act  (for example, biofouling, pest, or fish pathogen control in an aquaculture facility). In the course of these activities, some harm to fish and fish habitat outside the facility may also occur. The CFIA may ask the owner or operator of a facility to carry out the activity on the Agency’s behalf. Occasionally, CFIA employees may carry out the activities themselves. In either case, CFIA is also authorized from a Fisheries Act s.35 and s.36 perspective.

Currently, the AAR only require information that would support siting decisions, where requested by provinces, at marine finfish sites. For all other types of facilities, DFO would continue to work with provinces through existing processes (joint site application requirements) to obtain any necessary information that DFO would need to make assessments of potential threats to fish or fish habitat (including species protected by the Species At Risk Act). Either through the AAR or other information-gathering processes, DFO would continue to provide recommendations to provinces to support siting decisions, using the Regional Aquaculture Management Offices (RAMOs) as the single window to the provinces.

Except in British Columbia, DFO’s Fisheries Protection and Species At Risk programs will continue to be involved in the siting of aquaculture facilities and will continue to review applications and provide the conclusions of the reviews to licensing authorities, via the RAMOs These Regulations do not change the responsibilities and obligations of owners and operators under the Species at Risk Act.

As knowledge and technology advances, other controls or modifications to existing mitigation measures and monitoring protocols may be needed. To that end, DFO and federal partners have committed to undertake a three-year Science Review to support ongoing implementation of the AAR. The DFO commitment under the Science Review will be coordinated by Aquaculture, Biotechnology and Aquatic Animal Health Science Branch in Ottawa, and include the expertise of DFO’s National Contaminates Advisory Group. Core objectives of the Science Review include a review of existing BOD matter monitoring approaches for freshwater and hard-bottom marine finfish sites and post-deposit drug and pesticide monitoring approaches. Science advice will also be provided through DFO’s Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, and the peer-reviewed scientific analyses and advice will be published on DFO’s website. The Department will consider recommendations for modifying the Regulations and/or the Monitoring Standard that come out of these scientific peer review processes, as appropriate.

Aquaculture Monitoring Standard

The Aquaculture Monitoring Standard (Annex 7) (Monitoring Standard) is a document incorporated by reference into the Aquaculture Activities Regulations. "Incorporation by Reference" is a term used to describe a mechanism which allows a document that is not in the text of the regulations to be made a part of the regulations. One way to do this would be to reproduce the text of the incorporated document word for word in the regulations. Alternatively, the title of the document can simply be referred to, making the contents of that document “incorporated by reference.” The legal effect of incorporation by reference is to write the words of the incorporated document into the regulations just as if the document had been reproduced word for word.

The Monitoring Standard is referenced in sections 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the AAR. In order to be in compliance with the Regulations, owners and operators of marine finfish facilities must use the procedures described in the Monitoring Standard to conduct the activities described in these sections. Further guidance on BOD monitoring required by DFO in the provinces of British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador can be found in the protocols in annexes 8 and 9, respectively. Guidance on BOD monitoring in other provinces or territories may be found in the conditions of licence or other requirements specific to those jurisdictions.

Implementation

Within DFO, the AAR will be implemented primarily by the Aquaculture Management Directorate, the Regional Aquaculture Management Offices, with support from Conservation and Protection, Fisheries Protection Program, Species at Risk Program and Ecosystems and Oceans Science, as follows:

Regional Aquaculture Management Offices (RAMOs)

Aquaculture Management Directorate (AMD): National Oversight

Conservation and Protection (C&P)

Fisheries Protection Program (FPP), Specifies at Risk Program (SRP) and Fisheries Management (FM)

Ecosystems and Oceans Science (EOS)

Consequences of Non-Compliance

If any of the conditions of the AAR are breached, then the s. 35 and s. 36 prohibitions of the Act immediately apply. As a consequence, DFO or cross-designated officials in inland provinces may lay charges, with offences subject to s.40 of the Act. Offences are punishable on summary conviction to a fine of up to $8 million and/or imprisonment up to six months, and on an indictable offence, to a fine of up to $12 million and/or imprisonment up to three years. Any continuing contravention of the AAR constitutes a separate offence for each day on which the contravention is committed.

Canadians are encouraged at all times to report fisheries violations when they observe them. In any province or territory, this may be done by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or by calling the provincial numbers found on the DFO web site.

Contact Us

Users of this Guidance Document are invited to submit questions and comments to their Regional Aquaculture Management Office (see Annex 3 for contact information). As the AAR are implemented, further changes may be required, and important clarifications may be issued at any time. The Guidance Document will be formally reviewed annually; however, the most recent version of the Guidance Document will be found on the DFO web site.

Section-by-Section Guidance

Section 1: Definitions

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Interpretation
1.   The following definitions apply in these Regulations.
Act: means the Fisheries Act.
Aquaculture: means the cultivation of fish.
Aquaculture licence: means any of the following:
(a) a lease or licence issued or granted by the Minister under section 7 or 58 of the Act, or its regulations, for the purpose of aquaculture;
(b) a lease granted by the government of a province under subsection 59(1) of the Act for the cultivation of oysters;
(c) a provincial licence or authorization for the operation of an aquaculture facility.
Barren substrate: means benthic substrate on which there are no visible organisms.
Biochemical oxygen demanding matter: means any organic matter that contributes to the consumption of oxygen that is dissolved in water or sediment.
Monitoring Standard: means the Aquaculture Monitoring Standard, as amended from time to time, that is produced by the Minister and maintained on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans website.
Soft bottom: means a benthic substrate that consists of loose particles such as clay, mud, marl, sand, pebbles, gravel, shells or small stones.

A number of terms are not defined in the Regulations for one of several reasons:

  • The term is already defined by a common dictionary meaning (e.g., “reasonable” defined as having sound judgment; fair and sensible);
  • The term is already defined under the Act or another federal statute or regulation (e.g., serious harm to fish, pest);
  • A definition in regulations is not feasible as there is too much variability in interpretation for inclusion in a legal instrument.

This Guidance Document provides direction on how many of these terms should be interpreted. Words in bold and italics can be found in the Glossary of Terms in Annex 11.
Regarding the definition of aquaculture licence (c), “authorization” is intended to cover various terms that could be used (e.g., “permit”) to signify that a facility was authorized to operate by the responsible provincial governing body.
The AAR apply to all licensed aquaculture operations in Canada – marine and freshwater finfish (including hatcheries), and shellfish – that have the potential to cause serious harm to fish which are part of or support a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery, or that may deposit deleterious substances into fish-bearing waters.

Section 2: Specified substances

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Deleterious Substances
2.   For the purpose of paragraph 36(4)(c) of the Act, the following classes of substances deposited in the operation of an aquaculture facility are specified to be deleterious substances:
(a) drugs whose sale is permitted or otherwise authorized, or whose importation is not prohibited, under the Food and Drugs Act;
(b) pest control products that are registered, or whose use is authorized, under the Pest Control Products Act; and
(c) biochemical oxygen demanding matter.

Intent:
The purpose of this section is to define the specific classes of deleterious substances that will be authorized for deposition under these Regulations.

Guidance:
In practical terms, these are substances that could, in certain concentrations, directly cause death or produce sub-lethal effects (e.g. tissue damage) to an extent that the sustainability of the fish population in question is threatened.
Substances that may be used to treat pests at aquaculture sites (e.g., lime, brine, and various disinfectants), which are not registered as drugs or pesticides, are not included in the AAR. The normal use of these substances at aquaculture sites is at concentrations that are rapidly diluted in the ocean, mitigating any potential deleterious effects to neighbouring fish and surrounding fish habitat.
The deposition of other, non-prescribed deleterious substances, such as oil or heavy metals, are not authorized under the AAR and are therefore subject to s.36 prohibitions under the Act.

Section 3: Conditions applicable to deposits

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Deposit
3.   An owner or operator of an aquaculture facility may, subject to the conditions set out in sections 4 to 14, deposit a deleterious substance specified in section 2 in any water or place referred to in subsection 36(3) of the Act.

Intent:
Section 3 of the AAR authorizes the owner or operator of an aquaculture facility to deposit into water the classes of deleterious substances mentioned in section 2, as long as the conditions outlined in section 4 through 14 are met.
These Regulations do not regulate the approval, application, or any other element of drug or pesticide use (other than what is specified), or the disposal of fish waste from fish processing activities.

Guidance:
To be authorized, the deposit of a substance during treatment must be in compliance with other federal laws:

  • If the substance is a drug, its sale is in compliance with the federal Food and Drugs Act (FDA), and if it is a prescription drug under the FDA, the drug has been prescribed by a veterinarian; and
  • If the substance is a pest control product (pesticide), its use is in compliance with the Pest Control Products Act(PCPA).

The term “owner or operator” encompasses anyone working for the facility or acting as an agent of the owner or operator, whether full or part-time, casual or contract labour.

Section 4: Aquaculture facility

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Conditions
4.   The deleterious substance must be deposited in the operation of the aquaculture facility and the facility must be operated under an aquaculture licence.

Intent:
This section establishes additional parameters under which the deposition of the three classes of deleterious substances can take place.

Guidance:
The deposition of a prescribed deleterious substance is only authorized if

  • It is deposited as a result of the direct operation of the aquaculture facility; and
  • The aquaculture facility is licensed under one of the classifications of licence described in s.1 of the AAR.

An aquaculture facility is defined as the location where aquaculture activities are being conducted and encompasses net pens, walkways, barges, floating structures, tanks, vessels (e.g., well boats), and living accommodations, and any associated lines and anchors. Equipment used in the rearing, handling or transport of fish, or in the operation, cleaning (including off-site net cleaning), disinfection and care of the physical structures themselves (whether on or off lease) is considered to be part of the facility.

Section 5: Drugs

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Conditions
5.   In the case of a deposit of a drug,
(a) if by or under an Act of Parliament the drug may only be sold under a prescription, it must be prescribed by a person who is duly authorized to practise veterinary medicine
(i) under the laws of the province in which the aquaculture facility is located, or
(ii) under the laws of any province, if the aquaculture facility is not located in a province;
(b) the owner or operator of the facility must take measures to minimize the risk of an accidental deposit of the drug; and
(c) if the drug is deposited to control a pest as defined in the Pest Control Products Act, the owner or operator must consider, before depositing the drug, whether there are alternatives to the deposit of that drug and make a record of that consideration.

Refer to:
s.5(b): AAR Reporting Requirement 1
s.5(c): AAR Reporting Requirement 2
(see Annex 1)

Intent:
Section 5 further articulates conditions under which drugs may be deposited during the operation of a licensed aquaculture facility. If the drug that is to be deposited can only be sold by prescription under the Food and Drugs Act, the drug must be prescribed by an authorized veterinarian.
Only a licensed veterinarian may legally prescribe a drug under conditions that are not listed on the label (extra-label use).

Guidance:
Paragraph 5(a)(ii) refers to offshore aquaculture facilities located outside of provincial waters. There are currently no offshore aquaculture facilities in Canada.
Paragraph 5(b) requires that owner or operators take measures to avoid accidental deposits of drugs and to demonstrate that measures have been taken to minimize accidental deposits. Many of these measures are articulated in spill avoidance plans, fish health management plans, pest control management plans and/or emergency spill plans that are required by provinces. Information can also be extracted from Standard Operating Procedures, Best Management Practices, or other relevant documentation. Storing medicated feeds in containment structures to avoid accidental spills is an example of a best practice to minimize accidental release of drugs into waters.
Prior to making the decision to control a pest by depositing drugs, paragraph 5(c) stipulates that owners or operators must consider alternatives and record them. Such records will be incorporated in the required annual report. Since this assessment is completed from a subjective, qualitative perspective, the onus is on the owner or operator to thoroughly research what is available in Canada as the accepted industry standard or practice and qualitatively describe this. Possible alternatives to the use of drugs include the following:

  • Use of cost-effective commercially available containment technologies to avoid deposits of the drug into fish-bearing waters;
  • Use of cost-effective commercially available non-chemical biological treatment technologies;
  • Use of cost-effective commercially available treatment technologies to render the drug non-toxic to fish.

Before deciding to use drugs, owners and operators must also take into consideration other technologies, some of which are still in development, including (but not limited to) :

  • Mechanical removal of sea lice (e.g., warm water);
  • Biological filters (e.g., mussels);
  • Sea lice traps (e.g., light attraction);
  • Cleaner fish;
  • Vaccines;
  • Husbandry modifications (e.g., fish density).

Section 6: Pest control products

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Conditions
6. In the case of a deposit of a pest control product,
(a) if the pest control product is registered, the owner or operator of the aquaculture facility must use it in compliance with any conditions specified under the Pest Control Products Act, including any conditions relating to the place where it may be used and the quantity and concentration that may be used;
(b) if the pest control product is not registered, it must be authorized to be used by the owner or the operator under subsection 21(5) or 41(1) of the Pest Control Products Act or have been exempted from registration by a regulation made under paragraph 67(1)(z.4) of that Act;
(c) the owner or the operator must consider, before depositing the pest control product, whether there are alternatives to the deposit of that pest control product and make a record of that consideration; and
(d) the owner or the operator must notify the Minister, at least 72 hours before the deposit, of the product name of the pest control product and the time, date and geographic coordinates of the deposit.

Refer to:
s.6(c): AAR Reporting Requirement 2
(see Annex 1)

Summary of Required Actions
(see Annex 10)

Intent:
Section 6 further articulates conditions under which pest control products may be deposited during the operation of a licensed aquaculture facility.

Guidance:
Paragraph 6(a) requires that products registered under the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA) be used according to label conditions. Any deviations from the product label are not only violations under the PCPA, but are now also violations under the AAR. In other words, if the pest control product itself is registered, but if it is used in volumes or concentrations that exceed the label instructions, the user is in violation of both the PCPA and the AAR.
Paragraph 6(b) allows the owner or operator to deposit pest control products that are not registered under the PCPA provided that

  • they have been authorized under the PCPA (this is usually done on a case-by-case basis). These substances must meet strict conditions of use as set out by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA).
  • they are exempted from the PCPA because they pose insignificant risk to environmental or human health.

All products used to treat sea lice are registered.
Prior to making the decision to control a pest by depositing pest control products, paragraph 6(c) requires the owner or operator to consider alternatives to the use of pest control products and record them as part of the required annual report. Since this assessment is completed from a subjective, qualitative perspective, the onus is on the owner or operator to thoroughly research what is available in Canada as the accepted industry standard or practice and qualitatively describe the practices employed on each site. Possible alternatives to the use of therapeutants include the following :

  • Use of cost-effective commercially available containment technologies to avoid deposits of the therapeutant into fish-bearing waters;
  • Use of cost-effective commercially available non-chemical biological treatment technologies;
  • Use of cost-effective commercially available treatment technologies to render the therapeutant non-toxic to fish.

Paragraph 6(d) requires any owner/ operator planning to deposit a pest control product to notify the Regional Aquaculture Management Office at least 72 hours prior to the deposit of the product. The owner or operator must provide the product name, and time, date and place of deposit. Identification of place should be as specific as possible, using GPS coordinates or their equivalent.
Notification must be made by email. Refer to Annex 3 for Regional Aquaculture Management Offices contact information. Confirmation of receipt of notification will be provided.
The purpose of this provision is to provide the Department with the opportunity to:

  • Be aware of when and where depositions will be taking place;
  • Be present when the deposition takes place, if the Department deems it necessary; and
  • Help inform any investigation that may take place due to a fish kill near an aquaculture facility.

Failure to notify the appropriate officials within the required timeframe constitutes a breach of the conditions of the AAR. When this occurs, the owner or operator is no longer authorized under the AAR and immediately becomes subject to the enforcement provisions of the Fisheries Act (see Consequences of Non-Compliance). If conditions of deposit specific to pesticides are violated, or illegal pesticides are used, then Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency may also prosecute under the Pest Control Products Act and the Contraventions Act.

Section 7: Measures to reduce detriment

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Conditions
7.   (1) The owner or the operator of the aquaculture facility must, in depositing a deleterious substance referred to in paragraph 2(a) or (b), take reasonable measures to minimize detriment to fish and fish habitat outside of the facility, having regard to
(a) the cost and effectiveness of the available measures;
(b) the degree and nature of the detriment that may result from the deposit; and
(c) the physical characteristics of the facility and the type of aquaculture that is engaged in.

Refer to
s.7(1): AAR Reporting Requirement 3(a) (Drugs)
s.7(1): AAR Reporting Requirement 3(b)
(Pest Control Products)
(see Annex 1)

Feces and unconsumed feed
(2) In the case of an aquaculture facility that cultivates finfish and that is operated under an aquaculture licence that permits a standing biomass of more than 2.5 t or an annual production of more than 5 t, the owner or operator of the facility must take reasonable measures to minimize the deposit of fish feces and unconsumed feed, having regard to the factors set out in paragraphs (1)(a) to (c).

Refer to
s.7(2): AAR Reporting Requirement 3 (c)
(see Annex 1)

Intent:
In addition to the conditions outlined in sections 5 and 6, section 7(1) requires the owner or operator, when depositing drugs and/or pest control products (as defined in s.2 of these Regulations), to take reasonable actions and/or have reasonable procedures and practices in place to reduce negative impacts to fish and fish habitat in the area outside the aquaculture facility.

Guidance:
There are a number of examples of acceptable and reasonable measures that owner or operators can take to minimize detriment to fish and fish habitat from the deposit of drugs and pest control products listed immediately below. Many of these practices are already in place, whether implemented through provincial regulatory requirements or industry Codes of Practice.
As a practical matter, these measures should be effective and cost efficient, they should be appropriate to the scale of the impact that is to be avoided, and they should be appropriate to the limitations of the facility and type of aquaculture.
Section 7(2) requires the owner or operator to take reasonable actions and/or have reasonable procedures and practices in place to reduce negative impacts of feces and unconsumed feed to fish and fish habitat. Measures listed below are examples (not an exhaustive list and not applicable to all types of operations), that would help meet the mitigation requirements of s.7.
Even though s.7(2) focuses on fish feces and feed, owners and operators should also consider mitigation measures for other types of BOD matter not directly covered by the AAR (e.g., blood water, point-source sewage discharges) that may come from the facility. Mitigation measures for these types of BOD matter are included below as guidelines.
The impacts from feces and uneaten feed resulting from an aquaculture facility with a standing biomass less than 2.5 tonne (t) are minimal, if not negligible.

Section 8: Information required before depositing

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Conditions
8.   (1) In the case of an aquaculture facility located in tidal waters for the cultivation of finfish that commences operations after the day on which these Regulations come into force, the owner or operator of the facility must submit the following information to the Minister at least 300 days before making a first deposit of a deleterious substance in the operation of the facility:
(a) the predicted contours of the footprint of the biochemical oxygen demanding matter that will be deposited by the facility, calculated in accordance with the Monitoring Standard;
(b) a survey conducted in accordance with the Monitoring Standard that identifies the fish and fish habitat on the seabed that is leased for the operations of the facility and the water column above the seabed;
(c) the bathymetry of the seabed that is leased for the operations of the facility, measured in accordance with the Monitoring Standard; and
(d) in the case of a facility located over a soft bottom, the additional information that is specified in the Monitoring Standard concerning the seabed that is leased for the operations of the facility.
Exception
(2) Despite subsection (1), if an aquaculture facility commences operations during the 300 days after the day on which these Regulations come into force, the owner or operator of the facility must provide the information referred to in paragraphs (1)(a) to (d) within 30 days after the day on which operations were commenced.
Monitoring Standard
(3) The studies undertaken to obtain the information referred to in paragraphs (1)(a) to (d) must be conducted in accordance with the Monitoring Standard.
Non-application
(4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to an aquaculture facility whose aquaculture licence, if issued or granted, permits a maximum standing biomass of 2.5 t or less or a maximum annual production of 5 t or less.

Refer to
Aquaculture Monitoring Standard:
Survey for Baseline Information
(see Annex 7)

BC Monitoring Protocol
(see Annex 8)

NL Monitoring Protocol
(see Annex 9)

Summary of Required Actions
(see Annex 10)

Intent:
This provision is applicable only to new finfish sites located in tidal waters. In order to accommodate research and experimental facilities, the provision does not apply to operations with a standing biomass of 2.5 t or less or an annual production of 5 t or less. Historically, this information has been provided to enable DFO to provide input into provincial siting decisions.  

Guidance:
The AAR and the Monitoring Standard (Annex 7) identify the level of environmental protection and monitoring to confirm effectiveness that is acceptable to the Department. Most provinces require information of this nature to be provided prior to issuing a site licence to an owner or operator.
The Monitoring Standard is incorporated by reference into the AAR; compliance requires that the activities must be carried out in accordance with the Monitoring Standard.
If owners or operators of new sites have provided the information specified in 8(1)(a) to (d) to the regulating province, providing it to DFO will likely satisfy this requirement. However, if this information has not been provided to the province or if the information provided does not conform to the requirements of the Regulations and the Monitoring Standard, the owner or operator is required to develop the material and provide it to DFO prior to depositing any deleterious substances. Anything less than the content specified in the Regulations produced according to the methodology outlined in the Monitoring Standard would be considered a contravention of the Fisheries Act.
Further guidance on BOD monitoring required by DFO in the provinces of British Columbia (BC) and Newfoundland and Labrador can be found in the protocols in annexes 8 and 9, respectively.
Guidance on BOD monitoring in other provinces or territories may be found in the conditions of licence or other requirements specific to those jurisdictions.
The report of the baseline survey findings must include at a minimum, the following:

  • the input parameters of the depositional model used;
  • the unedited recorded images;
  • the observations recorded from the underwater survey(s);
  • a map with the locations of transects and habitat information generated during these transects at an appropriate resolution (i.e., 1:5000 or finer); the bathymetry of the seabed at a resolution of 10 m contours; and the estimated footprint of deposition of BOD matter in 1, 5, and 10 grams of carbon per square metre per day (g C/m2/day) contours;
  • the results of sediment sampling for each sampling location.

The owner or operator must submit the required information to the Regional Aquaculture Management Office (see Annex 3) at least 300 days (10 months) prior to the first deposit of a deleterious substance. This length of time is based on the assumption that most finfish operations will take four to six months from the time the licence is issued to the time fish are actually in the water and depositing BOD material. That leaves four to six months after receipt of the complete application for the various groups within DFO (Fisheries Protection Program, Species At Risk Program, Aquaculture Management, Science) to review the application and provide advice to the province before the licence is issued. No facilities may be stocked prior to the submission of the reports. Information may be submitted by email or by post and confirmation of receipt will be provided.
Note: DFO will continue to provide information to provinces, when requested, on shellfish and freshwater issues outside of the AAR. At this time, the requirement in the AAR to provide baseline data applies only to marine finfish sites; however, it is possible that the AAR will be amended in the future to require the same information from an expanding freshwater industry, provided facilities are licensed.

Section 9: Applications affecting contours of footprint

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Conditions
9.            If the owner or operator of an aquaculture facility located in tidal waters that cultivates finfish makes an application under federal or provincial law that, if approved, would authorize any activity that is likely to increase the predicted contours of the footprint of the biochemical oxygen demanding matter deposited by the facility, the owner or operator must conduct the studies necessary to obtain the information referred to in paragraphs 8(1)(a) to (d) and submit the information to the Minister within 30 days after the day on which the application was made.
Non-application
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an aquaculture facility whose aquaculture licence, if amended, permits a maximum standing biomass of 2.5 t or less or a maximum annual production of 5 t or less.

Refer to
Aquaculture Monitoring Standard:
Survey for Baseline Information
(see Annex 7)

BC Monitoring Protocol
(see Annex 8)

NL Monitoring Protocol
(see Annex 9)

Summary of Required Actions
(see Annex 10)

Intent:
This provision requires the same information to be provided for marine finfish sites as is required in s.8(1)(a) to (d); however, s.9 refers only to applications that would result in an increase to the BOD footprint of the facility. An increase in the BOD footprint could result from additional fish on the site or from an expansion of the existing site. If the facility is physically moved from one location to another, the process described in s.8 would apply.
Owners or operators of sites whose amended licences allow a maximum standing biomass of 2.5 t or less or a maximum annual production of 5 t or less are not required to provide this information.

Guidance:
The AAR and the Monitoring Standard (Annex 7) identify the level of environmental protection and monitoring to confirm effectiveness that is acceptable to the Department. Most provinces require information of this nature to be provided prior to approving an increase in the quantity of fish cultivated on a site.
The Monitoring Standard is incorporated by reference into the AAR; compliance requires that the activities must be carried out in accordance with the Monitor
If owners or operators have provided the information specified in 8(1)(a) to (d) to the regulating province as part of the application for increase, providing it to DFO will likely satisfy this requirement. However, if this information has not been provided to the province or if the information provided does not conform to the requirements of the Regulations and the Monitoring Standard, the owner or operator is required to develop the material and provide it to DFO. Anything less than the content specified in the Regulations produced according to the methodology outlined in the Monitoring Standard would be considered a contravention of the Fisheries Act.
Further guidance on BOD monitoring required by DFO in the provinces of British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador can be found in the protocols in annexes 8 and 9, respectively. Guidance on BOD monitoring in other provinces or territories may be found in the conditions of licence or other requirements specific to those jurisdictions.
Minimum reporting requirements for this information are as follows:

  • the input parameters of the depositional model used;
  • the unedited recorded images;
  • the observations recorded from the underwater survey(s);
  • a map with the locations of transects and habitat information generated during these transects at an appropriate resolution (i.e., 1:5000 or finer); the bathymetry of the seabed at a resolution of 10 m contours; and the estimated footprint of deposition of BOD matter in 1, 5, and 10 g C/m2/day contours;
  • the results of sediment sampling for each sampling location.

The owner or operator must submit the information required to the Regional Aquaculture Management Office within 30 days of making the application to the province. Information may be submitted by email or by post. Confirmation of receipt will be provided.

Section 10: Substrate sampling and restocking

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Conditions
10.          (1) In the case of an aquaculture facility that is located over a soft bottom and cultivates finfish in tidal waters in or adjacent to Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador, the owner or operator of the facility
(a) must take samples of the benthic substrate in the manner and at the times and locations specified in the Monitoring Standard and determine the concentration of free sulfide in the samples in accordance with that Standard;
(b) must take additional samples of the benthic substrate, in the manner and at the times and locations specified in the Monitoring Standard, if
(i) in the case of a facility located in tidal waters in or adjacent to Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador, the mean concentration of free sulfide as calculated at the locations specified in the Monitoring Standard exceeds 3000 µM, and
(ii) in the case of a facility located in tidal waters in or adjacent to British Columbia, the mean concentration of free sulfide as calculated at 30 m and 125 m from the structure that contains the cultivated fish exceeds 1300 µM and 700 µM, respectively; and
(c) must not restock the facility if the concentrations of free sulfide exceed the applicable concentration limits set out in paragraph (b).
Visual monitoring instead of sampling
(2) The owner or operator of an aquaculture facility must conduct visual monitoring in accordance with section 11 instead of the sampling described in subsection (1) if the owner or operator cannot obtain, from each of the locations specified in the Monitoring Standard, benthic substrate samples that
(a) contain substrate to a depth of at least 5 cm; and
(b) have a volume of at least 15 ml and undisturbed sediment-water interface.

Refer to
s.8: AAR Reporting Requirement 4
(see Annex 1)

Aquaculture Monitoring Standard: Procedures for Monitoring Sediment Free Sulfide
(see Annex 7)

BC Monitoring Protocol
(see Annex 8)

NL Monitoring Protocol
(see Annex 9)

Intent:
For AAR purposes, sediment sulfide concentrations are used to assess the potential impact of organic matter on the benthic environment of soft bottoms. This monitoring approach is common across the country for marine finfish sites over soft-bottom substrates, and is based on research conducted by DFO scientists. While specific thresholds are different (primarily because of different monitoring protocols and due to differences in site-specific substrate composition and physical characteristics, and other factors), the broad management objectives for environmental protection are consistent among West and East Coast jurisdictions.
Monitoring, using the procedures set out in the Monitoring Standard (Annex 7), must be conducted each production cycle. If the applicable sulfide threshold (concentration limit) is exceeded, confirmatory monitoring is required. If the concentration of sediment sulfide continues to be higher than the threshold set for that particular site, measures must be taken to reduce the concentration to below the threshold before fish can be added to the site.
While the AAR acknowledges that soft bottom may be composed of different materials, only samples that are homogeneous, uniform in content and meet certain sampling quality control criteria as specified in the Monitoring Standard will be accepted for comparison against the sulfide threshold. If these criteria cannot be met, the owner or operator will be required to measure BOD impacts by using visual monitoring in accordance with s.11.

Guidance:
Sections 10 (1)(a) and (b) specify that the owner or operator of a finfish aquaculture site located over a soft bottom in tidal waters must measure the concentration of free sulfide therein, in accordance with the Monitoring Standard, to determine the oxic state of the benthos in the vicinity of the site.
If specific thresholds are exceeded by the initial samples, paragraph 10(b) requires that the owner or operator resample (according to the Monitoring Standard). For clarity, these thresholds have been articulated for specific provinces within the Regulations.
The owner or operator must submit these results [i.e., the concentrations of free sulfide referred to in subsection 10(1)] in the annual report according to the requirements of the Monitoring Standard. DFO may audit the results at any time.
Paragraph 10(c) establishes a condition that restricts the operator of a marine finfish aquaculture site from restocking as long as the concentrations of free sulfide exceed the applicable concentration limits set out in paragraph 10(b). This means that no restocking can take place until sulfide concentrations return to accepted levels.
If the conditions in s.10(2) cannot be met because it is not possible to obtain sediment samples of sufficient quality to monitor sulfide, the owner or operator must conduct visual monitoring (see Section 11).
The owner or operator must submit the visual monitoring data collected under subsection 10(2) in the annual report.

Section 11: Visual monitoring of substrate; monitoring and restocking

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Conditions
Visual monitoring of substrate

11.(1) This section applies to aquaculture facilities that cultivate finfish in the waters referred to in subsection 10(1) but
(a) are not located over a soft bottom; or
(b) are located over a soft bottom In respect of which subsection 10(2) applies.
Monitoring and restocking
(2) The owner or operator of a facility referred to in subsection (1)
(a) must conduct visual monitoring of the benthic substrate in the manner and at the times and locations specified in the Monitoring Standard;
(b) must not, if the facility is located in tidal waters in or adjacent to Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador, restock the facility if the visual monitoring shows the presence of Beggiatoa species or similar bacteria, marine worms or barren substrate in more than 70% of the locations specified in the Monitoring Standard; and
c) must not, if the facility is located in tidal waters in or adjacent to British Columbia, restock the facility if visual monitoring shows that Beggiatoa species or similar bacteria or marine worms cover
(i) 10% or more of any four segments of substrate specified in the Monitoring Standard that are within 100 m to 124 m from the fish containment structure, or
(ii) 10% or more of

  • the two contiguous segments of substrate specified in the Monitoring Standard that are within 116 m to 124 m from the fish containment structure, and
  • the two or more contiguous segments of substrate specified in the Monitoring Standard that are within 124 m to 140 m from the fish containment structure.

Refer to
Aquaculture Monitoring Standard:
Visual Recording Procedures
(see Annex 7)

BC Monitoring Protocol
(see Annex 8)

NL Monitoring Protocol
(see Annex 9)

Intent:
Section 11 outlines the visual monitoring thresholds for facilities located over substrates (hard, mixed, soft) for which concentrations of free sulfide cannot be determined by the criteria in s.10(a) and (b). The owner or operator must not restock the facility if the visual monitoring thresholds have been exceeded.

Guidance:
Procedures for visual monitoring are contained in the Monitoring Standard (Annex 7). Compliance with the AAR requires that the procedures outlined in the Monitoring Standard be followed.
Research indicates that visual imaging can be used as an appropriate primary tool for assessing benthic changes. Studies have also shown that performance-based indicators such as Beggiatoa species (or similar bacteria) or marine worms (e.g., class polychaeta) can serve as biomarkers of aquaculture impact on the benthic environment when it is not possible to obtain bottom grab samples (Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Report 2014/017).
Beggiatoa species (or similar bacteria) form bacterial mats and occurs at the interface of oxic and anoxic conditions. Marine worms, such as opportunistic annelids of the class polychaeta, are found atop mixed or hard-bottom substrates in response to high organic input. Both are typically associated with elevated sulfide levels and are valid visual indicators of benthic change due to aquaculture. Substrate which is bare (i.e., where there are no visible organisms) as a result of organic enrichment from deposits of aquaculture activity is also an indicator of hypoxic or anoxic conditions. These are not areas that were bare prior to aquaculture activity.
Currently, there are no AAR requirements to monitor BOD deposit from shellfish facilities, freshwater net pens or land-based facilities releasing into fish-bearing waters. There is also at this time no requirement in the AAR to sample the substrate for finfish sites in freshwater; however, if such sampling is a requirement of other jurisdictions or is required under other Fisheries Actauthorities, owners and operators must comply.
These areas will be investigated as part of a Science Review that will inform monitoring approaches of impacts from aquaculture operations, both on the benthic environment and wild fish populations. This research will inform the need for future regulatory amendments.

Section 12: Notification of Minister

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Conditions
12. (1) The owner or operator of an aquaculture facility that cultivates finfish that is located in tidal waters in or adjacent to Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador must notify the Minister if the following occurs:
(a) the concentration limits set out in subparagraph 10(1)(b)(i) are exceeded; or
(b) Beggiatoa species or similar bacteria, marine worms or barren substrate are present to the extent referred to in paragraph 11(2)(b).
Notification – British Columbia facilities
(2) The owner or operator of an aquaculture facility located in tidal waters in or adjacent to British Columbia must notify the Minister if the following occurs:
(a) the concentration limits set out in subparagraph 10(1)(b)(ii) are exceeded; or
(b) Beggiatoa species or similar bacteria or marine worms are present to the extent referred to in paragraph 11(2)(c).
Time for notification
(3) The owner or operator must notify the Minister within 14 days after the day on which the samples of the substrate were taken or the visual monitoring conducted, as the case may be.

Refer to:

Summary of Required Actions
(see Annex 10)

Intent:
This section requires the owner or operator to notify the Regional Aquaculture Management Office if BOD concentration limits are exceeded or if Beggiatoa species or similar bacteria, marine worms, or barren substrate are present at the levels indicated in the Regulations, whether determined through substrate sampling or visual monitoring. This notification is necessary for DFO auditing purposes.

Guidance:
Section 12(3) requires the owner or operator to notify the Regional Aquaculture Management Office within 14 days after the samples referenced in s.10(1)(b)(ii) and 11(2)(c) have been taken. Notification must be provided by email. Confirmation of receipt of notification will be provided.
The owner or operator is not allowed to restock until sampling results return to accepted levels.
These areas will be investigated as part of a Science Review that will inform monitoring approaches of impacts from aquaculture operations, both on the benthic environment and on wild fish populations. This research will inform the need for future regulatory amendments.

Section 13: Fish morbidity or mortality

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Conditions
13.          (1) If fish morbidity or mortality outside the aquaculture facility is observed from any part of the facility within 96 hours after the deposit of any drug or pest control product referred to in paragraph 2(a) or (b), the owner or operator of the facility must immediately notify a fishery officer of
(a) the name of the facility and its operator;
(b) the geographic coordinates of the fish observed;
(c) the estimated number and, if known, species of the fish observed; and
(d) the product name of the drug or pest control product deposited and the date of the deposit.
Minister’s directions
(2) If the owner or operator of an aquaculture facility is directed by the Minister to undertake measures under subsection 36(6) of the Act, and the Minister advises the owner or operator that the direction is related to the notification made by them under subsection (1), the owner or the operator must cease depositing the drug or pest control product referred to in subsection (1) until they have complied with the Minister’s directions.

Refer to:
s.13(1): AAR Reporting Requirement 5
(see Annex 1)

List of Drugs and Pesticides that may Require Testing
(see Annex 5)

Sampling Guidance for Drugs and Pest Control Products
(see Annex 6)

Summary of Required Actions
(see Annex  10)

Intent:
The purpose of section 13 is to require the owner or operator to notify a fishery officer and take specific actions if a fish kill or morbidity event is suspected to be linked to pesticide or drug treatment deposits.
Section 13 of these Regulations does not remove or repeal the powers available to fishery officers under s.49 of the Fisheries Act to lay charges in the event of a morbidity/mortality occurrence, if there is a determination of illegal use, misuse of a legal product, or if there is a deposit of non-authorized deleterious substances at aquaculture sites.

Guidance:
Paragraph 13(1) establishes the procedures to be followed if the owner or operator observes (through visual inspection or by means of underwater cameras) any wild fish morbidity or mortality outside the facility within 96 hours of depositing a drug or pest control product. All morbidity or mortality events must be reported. Following a report, DFO will determine, using a science-based triage process, whether a Fisheries Acts.36(6) directive will be issued.
In the context of an array of net pens, “outside the facility” means outside the rectangle formed by the placement of anchors on the seabed and the corresponding area on the surface:
8-pen array
The image is a three-dimensional representation of an 8-pen array showing the rectangle outlining the anchors on the bottom and the corresponding outline on the surface of the water.
The owner or operator is required to report any dead or moribund wild fish observed outside this area. Well boats are also deemed to be part of the facility, as are any other physical structures or equipment (see definition of aquaculture facility in Annex 11).
Bear in mind that “owner or operator” encompasses anyone working for the facility or acting as an agent of the owner or operator, whether full or part-time, casual or contract labour.
These procedures include notifying a fishery officer immediately and providing information to the fishery officer concerning location and scale of the morbidity or mortality event, as well as details of the deposition, including name of product and amount deposited. Because of the urgent nature of the notification, placing a call to the appropriate toll-free number (listed in Annex 4) is recommended. Confirmation of receipt will be provided.
If the Department’s triage process indicates that the morbidity/mortality event was caused by circumstances external to the facility and unrelated to the deposit, no further action is required of the owner or operator. These circumstances could include oceanographic conditions (e.g., superchill or algal blooms), disasters (e.g., oil spills), or obvious diseases or viruses affecting wild fish.
However, if the triage process indicates that the morbidity/mortality event may have been caused by the deposit, the Department may instruct the fishery officer to issue a directive under s.36(6) of the Fisheries Act, to “conduct any sampling, analyses, tests, measurements or monitoring, install or operate any equipment or comply with any procedures, and report any information, that is required by the Minister in order to determine whether the person is depositing the deleterious substance in the manner authorized.”
Unless otherwise directed, the owner or operator should follow the procedures contained in Annex 6 in collecting the samples. The fishery officer may be on site to oversee the sampling and retain the samples for testing. If directed by the fishery officer, the owner or operator may be required to send the samples to a laboratory certified by the Standards Council of Canada (see Annex 5 for a list of drugs and pesticides that may require testing). A list of accredited labs will be included in the s.36 directive. The owner or operator is responsible for providing the fishery officer with the name of the laboratory to which the samples have been sent and the date of their expected delivery.
The owner or operator will bear the cost of collecting the samples and sending them to the laboratory (if so directed). DFO will provide advice to the laboratory regarding which tests are to be run and pay for the testing. The testing will focus on active ingredients of authorized products (e.g., emamectin benzoate, SLICE®), as well as illegal products.
Once the owner or operator has complied with all the requirements for sampling, he may resume depositing; however, he should be aware that any continuing contravention of the AAR constitutes a separate offence for each day on which the contravention is committed.
Upon review of all information, the Minister will determine any further action as required. The following are example scenarios.

  • The analyses reveal that the cause of the morbidity/mortality event was not related to the deposit of pest control products or drugs. If another type of deposit has occurred within the aquaculture facility, DFO will further investigate. If such deposits occur outside of an aquaculture facility, the responsibility for further investigation is turned over to Environment Canada, as per the s.36 designation order.
  • The analyses reveal that the substance was deposited in a legal manner and in legal amounts. The matter is turned over to the Competent Authority (usually Health Canada) which will review the conditions of use and revise such conditions as necessary. The owner or operator may not continue to deposit the substance in question until instructed by the Competent Authority.
  • The analyses show that the substance has been deposited in an illegal manner: either the substance itself is illegal or the substance is legally authorized but was not used as authorized. In this case, DFO will investigate further, will notify Health Canada and may take enforcement action.

Note: The owner or operator is not obligated to report incidents of morbidity or mortality if they occur outside of the 96 hours following deposit of pesticides or drugs. However, as per s.38(5) of the Fisheries Act, owners and operators have a duty to notify DFO or EC if they deposit a deleterious substance not authorized by regulations.
Morbidity/mortality events can also be reported by fishermen or members of the public. Inspections and investigations would be conducted by fishery officers under s.49 of the Act.

Section 14: Annual report

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Conditions
14. The owner or operator of an aquaculture facility must submit an annual report to the Minister, and retain a copy of it, in accordance with section 16.

Intent:
This section establishes the requirement for the owner or operator to submit an annual report.

Guidance:
To assist owners or operators in completing this task, the Department has created the AAR Reporting Template that can be found in Annex 1, or on the DFO website. While use of the template is not mandatory, it is recommended as it provides a checklist for all of the information required for the annual report.
Further guidance is outlined below in s.16 (Annual Report) of the Regulations.

Section 15: Prescribed works, undertakings, activities and conditions

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Section 35 of the Act
15. (1) For the purposes of paragraph 35(2)(a) of the Act,
(a) the following works, undertakings and activities are prescribed:
(i) the installation, operation, maintenance or removal of an aquaculture facility, and
(ii) measures to control biofouling or the presence of fish pathogens or pests in the aquaculture facility; and
(b) the following conditions are prescribed for the carrying on of those works, undertakings and activities:
(i) the aquaculture facility is operated under an aquaculture licence,
(ii) the owner or operator of the facility takes reasonable measures to mitigate the risk of serious harm to fish outside the facility that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery, having regard to
(A) the effectiveness of the available measures,
(B) the degree of serious harm that may result from the carrying on of the works, undertakings and activities, and
(C) the physical characteristics of the facility and the type of aquaculture that is engaged in at the facility, and
(iii) the owner or operator submits an annual report to the Minister in accordance with section 16.
Exception – deleterious substances
(2) The deposit of deleterious substances is not prescribed for the purpose of paragraph (1)(a).
Exception – Pacific Aquaculture Regulations
(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to any work, undertaking or activity carried on in any waters or place referred to in section 2 of the Pacific Aquaculture Regulations.

Refer to
s.15 AAR Reporting Requirement 6
(see Annex 1)

Intent:
Section 35 of the Fisheries Act gives the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans the authority to authorize works, undertakings, and activities as prescribed in 15(1)(a) that cause serious harm to fish, if they are carried out in accordance with the conditions established in 15(1)(b): operating under a licence, taking reasonable measures to minimize serious harm to fish that are part of and support commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fisheries, and submitting an annual report. In British Columbia only, the works, undertakings and activities prescribed and authorized under s.15 of the AAR are instead authorized under the licence conditions of the Pacific Aquaculture Regulations.
Regardless of the authorizing Regulations (i.e., s.15 of the AAR or licence conditions under the Pacific Aquaculture Regulations), the intent is for all licence holders across the country to apply, as a minimum, the same mitigation measures and submit similar information when engaging in activities that may cause serious harm.
Guidance:
The AAR authorizes the regular operations and husbandry activities of an aquaculture facility with respect to controlling biofouling organisms (e.g., through cleaning nets or removing sea lice from fish), and permanently altering or destroying fish habitat (e.g., through the placement of anchors). These activities are only authorized if the conditions described in 15(1)(b) are met.
For example, if serious harm occurs as a result of the activities of an aquaculture facility and DFO determines that insufficient or no measures were taken to minimize that harm (based on the “reasonableness” test), the owner or operator would no longer be authorized, and as a result would be in contravention of s.35. In addition, the onus is on the owner or operator to demonstrate through record-keeping and the AAR annual report that appropriate and sufficient measures were implemented.
Most aquaculture activities are not expected to cause serious harm if precautionary and mitigation measures are implemented.
Mitigation measures minimize impact from aquaculture activities and contribute to protecting fish and fish habitat under this provision. The following measures (not an exhaustive list and not applicable to all types of operations), would help meet the mitigation requirements of s.15.
Note: Although not specifically mentioned in the Regulations, s.15, by implied reference to s.35 of the Fisheries Act, also applies to species that support commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fisheries.

Measures that could be taken to minimize serious harm to commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fisheries include, but are not limited to the following:

Section 16: Annual report

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Report
16.          (1) An annual report must be submitted in a form acceptable to the Minister and contain the following information in respect of the operation of the aquaculture facility during the calendar year:
(a) for each deposit of a drug or pest control product during the year,
(i) the product name of the drug or pest control product or the common chemical names of its active ingredients,
(ii) the purpose of the deposit,
(iii) the date, quantity and geographic coordinates of the deposit, and
(iv) the record of consideration of alternatives referred to in paragraph 5(c) or 6(c);
(b) a description of any measures taken under paragraph 5(b), section 7 and subparagraph  15(1)(b)(ii);
(c) In the case of a facility referred to in section 10,
(i) the concentrations of free sulfide referred to in subsection 10(1), or
(ii) if visual monitoring is required under subsection 10(2), the visual monitoring data collected; and
(d) if a fishery officer was notified of fish morbidity or mortality in accordance with subsection 13(1), the information provided to the officer.
Due date of report
(2) An annual report must be submitted to the Minister on or before April 1 of the year following the year that is the subject of the report.
Copy of report to be retained
(3) An owner or operator of an aquaculture facility must retain a copy of the annual report in the facility for a period of two years after the day on which it is submitted to the Minister.
Information prior to coming into force
(4) For greater certainty, an owner or operator of an aquaculture facility is not required to include information in an annual report in respect of any period before the day on which these Regulations come into force.

Refer to:
s.16 AAR Reporting Requirement 7
(see Annex 1)

Summary of Required Actions
(see Annex 10)

Intent:
Section 16 requires that the annual report be submitted in a form acceptable to the Minister, and specifies what information must be reported and by what date. Industry reporting is supported by this Guidance Document and the Aquaculture Monitoring Standard (Annex 7).

Guidance:
A suggested Reporting Template is available at Annex 1 and on DFO’s website. While using the reporting template is not mandatory, it is recommended as the template provides a comprehensive checklist of all the information required for the annual report.
Reporting is done on a calendar year basis, with the annual report due April 1, or three months following the end of the year being reported. It is the responsibility of the owner or operator to file a report for each site location.
The completed, signed report is to be submitted to the Regional Aquaculture Management Office (Annex 3) in electronic form or on paper by the date specified in the Regulations. Confirmation of receipt will be provided.
Information provided in the annual reports will be aggregated for the Minister to present to Parliament. As part of the aquaculture public reporting element of the Sustainable Aquaculture Program, an annual report will also be available on the DFO web site. The first annual report – based on industry reports that will be submitted by April 1, 2016, covering the period from July to December, 2015 – will be published in January 2017.
Annual reports must be retained by the owner or operator for a period of two years after submission.
Significant delays in submitting the annual report could result in charges under the Fisheries Act.

Section 17: Paragraph 35(2)(a) of Act

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Canadian Food Inspection Agency
17.          (1) For the purposes of paragraph 35(2)(a) of the Act, the disposal of fish by the President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for the purposes of fish pathogen or pest control and the Health of Animals Act is prescribed.
Deposit of deleterious substance
(2) The President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency may, for the purposes of fish pathogen or pest control and the Health of Animals Act, deposit a deleterious substance referred to in paragraph 2(a) or (b) in any water or place referred to in subsection 36(3) of the Act.

Intent:
When the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) requires treatment to be implemented for fish health management (subject to the Health of Animals Act), some harm may come to fish and fish habitat outside the facility. As a result, CFIA requires authorization for s.35 and s.36-related activities.This section of the AAR provides the necessary authorization. The Agency may ask the owner or operator to carry out the activity on its behalf.

Section 18: Registration

Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance for Owners and Operators

Coming Into Force
18.          These Regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.

 

Annex 1: AAR Reporting Template

Annual Report under the Aquaculture Activities Regulations

Annex 2: AAR Application

Type of Aquaculture Facility

Open-water Shellfish

Fresh-water Finfish

Open-water Marine Finfish

Open-water facilities

Land-based facilities*

AAR Requirements

Section 5: Deposit of Drugs.

  1. Complies with Food and Drugs Act
  2. Mitigation measures to minimize accidental deposits
  3. Assessment of alternatives to drug deposits

Authorized to deposit drugs and pesticides
subject to the conditions in s.5 & s.6

Section 6: Deposit of Pesticides.

  1. Complies with Pest Control Products Act
  2. Assessment of alternatives to pesticide deposits

Section 7: Measures to minimize detriment from deposit of feces, feed, pesticides and/or drugs.

Required

Sections 8 & 9: Baseline monitoring measures required for new (s. 8) or expansion of existing marine finfish sites (s. 9).

Not Applicable

As
required

by provinces

Not Applicable

Required
(unless facility has a standing biomass of 2.5 t or less or an annual production of 5 t or less)

Section 10-12: Monitoring of BOD matter deposit

Not required, unless a condition of a provincially issued licence.

Required
(unless facility has a standing biomass of 2.5 t or less or an annual production of 5 t or less)

Section 13: Notification of observed morbidity/mortality of wild fish outside the facility

Required
[If drugs or pesticides are not deposited, s.13 does not apply.]

Sections 14 & 15: Submission of Annual Report

Required

Section 15: Fisheries Act s.35: Prescribed works, undertakings, activities and conditions

Authorized (but does not apply where PAR applies, i.e. in BC)
subject to the conditions under s.15

*applies to land-based facilities that have the potential to deposit deleterious substances into fish-bearing waters or to cause serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fisheries or the fish that support them.
AAR Application based on type of aquaculture facility


AAR Requirements refer to AAR section numbers:

Description

Open-water Shellfish

Freshwater Finfish Open-water facilities

Freshwater Finfish
Land-based facilities*

Open-water Marine Finfish Facilities

Section 5:
Deposit of Drugs

1. Complies with Food and Drugs Act

1

1

1

1

Section 5:
Deposit of Drugs

2. Mitigation measures to minimize accidental deposits

1

1

1

1

Section 5:
Deposit of Drugs

3. Assessment of alternatives to drug deposits

1

1

1

1

Section 6:
Deposit of Pesticides

1. Complies with Pest Control Products Act

1

1

1

1

Section 6:
Deposit of Pesticides

2. Assessment of alternatives to pesticide deposits

1

1

1

1

Section 7

Measures to minimize detriment from deposit of feces, feed, pesticides and/or drugs

2

2

2

2

Section 8

Baseline monitoring measures required for new marine finfish sites

3

3

3

6

Section 9

Baseline monitoring measures required for expansion of existing marine finfish sites

3

3

3

6

Section 10-12

Monitoring of BOD matter deposit

5

5

5

6

Section 13

Notification of observed morbidity/mortality of wild fish outside the facility

2

2

2

2

Section 14 & 16

Submission of Annual Report

2

2

2

2

Section 15

Fisheries Act s.35: Prescribed works, undertakings, activities and conditions

7

7

7

7

  1. Authorized to deposit drugs and pesticides (subject to the conditions in s.5 & s.6)
  2. Required
  3. Not applicable
  4. As required by provinces
  5. Not required, unless a condition of a provincially issued licence
  6. Required, unless the facility has a standing biomass of 2.5 t or less or an annual production of 5 t or less
  7. Authorized (but does not apply where PAR applies, i.e. BC) subject to the conditions under s.15

*applies to land-based facilities that have the potential to deposit deleterious substances into fish-bearing waters or to cause serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery or the fish that support them.

Annex 3: Regional Aquaculture Management Offices

Use this information for the notifications and reports required in AAR sections 6, 8, 9, 12 and 16.

Region Contact

Central and Arctic Region
Includes Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Nunavut and Northwest Territories

Regional Aquaculture Management Contact
501 University Cr.
Winnipeg, MB, R3T 2N6
Tel: (204) 983-5000
Email: DFO.CAAAR-RAACA.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Gulf Region
Extends from the New Brunswick-Quebec border to the northern tip of Cape Breton, and includes the province of Prince Edward Island and parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia

Regional Aquaculture Management Contact
343 Ave Université
Moncton, NB, E1C 9B6
Tel: (506) 874-0362
Email: DFO.GLFAAR-RAAGLF.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Maritimes Region
Extends from the north-eastern tip of Cape Breton to the New Brunswick-Maine border and includes part of Nova Scotia and part of New Brunswick

Regional Aquaculture Management Contact
1 Challenger Drive, 6th Floor, Polaris Building, P.O. Box 1006
Dartmouth, NS, B2Y 4A2
Tel: (902) 402-0298
Email: DFO.MARAAR-RAAMAR.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Newfoundland and Labrador Region
Includes the province of Newfoundland and Labrador

Regional Aquaculture Management Contact
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre
East White Hills Road, P.O. Box 5667
St. John’s, NL, A1C 5X1
Tel: (709) 772-0183
Email: DFO.NLAAR-RAANL.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Pacific Region
Includes British Columbia and Yukon

Regional Aquaculture Management Contact
200-401 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC, V6C 3S4
Tel: (604) 666-3152
Email: DFO.PACAAR-RAAPAC.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Quebec Region
Includes the province of Quebec

Regional Aquaculture Management Contact
104 Dalhousie Street
Québec City, QC, G1K 7Y7
Tel: (418) 648-3236
Email: DFO.QCAAR-RAAQC.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Annex 4: Reporting a morbidity/mortality event

Use these numbers ONLY to report a morbidity/mortality event under AAR section 13.

Province/Territory 1-800 Number
Alberta 1-800-265-0237
British Columbia 1-800-465-4336
Manitoba 1-800-265-0237
New Brunswick 1-800-565-1633
Newfoundland and Labrador 1-800-563-9089
Northwest Territories 1-800-265-0237
Nova Scotia 1-800-565-1633
Nunavut 1-800-265-0237
Ontario 1-800-265-0237
Prince Edward Island 1-800-565-1633
Quebec 1-800-363-4735
Saskatchewan 1-800-265-0237
Yukon 1-800-465-4336

Annex 5: Drugs and Pesticides Requiring Testing under the AAR (s.13)

Compound Commercial Name Drug (in feed) or
Pesticide (bath)

Emamectin benzoate a

SLICE®

in feed

Teflubenzuron a

Calicide®

in feed

Ivermectin

Ivomec®

in feed

Deltamethrin

Alphamax®

bath

Azamethiphos b

Salmosan®

bath

Cypermethrin

EXCIS®

bath

Dichlorovos

Aquaguard®

bath

aTeflubenzuron (i.e., Calicide ®) and emamectin benzoate (i.e., SLICE ®) are registered for use in fish in Canada.
bAzamethiphos (i.e., Salmosan®) and hydrogen peroxide-based products (e.g., Paramove 50®) are the only pesticide compounds currently authorized for sea lice treatments in Canada.

Samples collected following Annex 6: Sampling Guidance for Drugs and Pest Control Products (i.e. fish tissue, marine water, and marine sediment) may be analyzed for the compounds listed above as well as other drugs and pesticides as required.

When testing is required, the owner or operator will be provided a list of accredited labs via a Fisheries Act section 36(6).

Annex 6: Sampling Guidance for Drugs and Pest Control Products

Note: The following information is offered as guidance and may change, depending on site-specific direction from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

1. General Methods

  1. All water, sediment, and/or tissue samples collected by the owner or operator will be submitted to a laboratory accredited by the Standards Council of Canada. The specific drugs and pest control products to be analyzed will be determined by DFO (see Annex 5 for a list of drugs and pesticides that may require testing).
  2. Immediately prior to any treatment, prepare all required sampling supplies and equipment as described below and transfer to the collection boat, which should be ready for a rapid deployment.
  3. Copies of the field note forms and specific requirements for chemical analysis should be included with the shipment to the analytical lab.
  4. Original field note forms and digital images should be stored in a secure cabinet.
  5. Samples, sampling supplies, and equipment must be stored in a clean environment, away from drugs and pest control products, to reduce the potential for contamination. Sealed, watertight containers are preferred for storing sampling supplies to help to prevent contamination.
  6. All equipment must be cleaned with detergents and rinsed three times with sterile water between sampling sessions and when there may have been direct exposure to drugs and pest control products or indirectly via dust or water vapour

2. Fish Samples

  1. Upon observation of moribund or dead fish of any life stage, and subsequently notifying a fishery officer and obtaining DFO authorization, site staff should immediately deploy the collection boat to locate the fish and begin sampling.
  2. Fish of the same species and of representative size should be collected, up to a maximum of 50 fish per species. Where permissible, reference fish of similar size and species should be collected in the same manner and numbers from outside the zone of aquaculture influence.
  3. Protect the integrity of the fish by ensuring no damage occurs to the outside or to the gills of the fish. External lacerations provide entry points for contamination and can lead to fluid loss and/or uncertainties regarding analysis results.
  4. Using sterile impermeable (e.g. latex or nitrile) gloves set the fish on a clean piece of aluminum foil to record observations.
  5. Record digital images of all fish, ensuing that any morphological abnormalities and parasites are observed and the corresponding sample identification label is included in each image.
  6. Double wrap individual fish in heavy duty aluminum foil then double bag the fish using appropriately-sized sterile bags, ensuring that the sample identification label is included inside the outer bag and the bags are sealed with a zap strap. Place clean cork stoppers over significant carapace spines prior to wrapping.
  7. Store fish on ice in a closed cooler during collection.
  8. Continue collecting dead or moribund fish observed in the vicinity of the aquaculture site using new gloves, new aluminum foil and a clean club between fish.
  9. Low temperature storage is important to preserving the target analytes by preventing their degradation. Fish should be kept in bags on ice during collection and subsequently frozen as soon as possible on-site at -20°C for storage.
  10. As soon as the fish are cooled to -20°C, and within two weeks after collection, fish should be packed in coolers containing dry ice, ice or cooler packs and shipped to a lab for tissue processing, extraction, and analysis, as described below.
  11. During transport to the lab, frozen fish should be packaged in coolers with ample supply of coolant material. The amount of coolant material required should reflect the sample weight and anticipated shipping time.
  12. If using dry ice, follow shipping company guidelines.

3. Sediment Samples

  1. At the same time as the collection of fish samples, sediment samples will be collected.
  2. Three sediment samples (replicates) for analysis must be collected at the same sampling location(s) as identified for BOD sampling. An equivalent number of reference samples will be collected from an area beyond the predicted exposure zone.
  3. All equipment parts that come in contact with a sample must be composed of metal, glass, or uncolored polyfluorocarbon.
  4. Follow the procedures for collecting sediment grabs or cores as per the respective sections of the Monitoring Standard (Annex 7) regarding BOD sampling.
  5. Remove the top 2 cm of sediment from the core tube.
  6. Place the sediment into 500 mL amber glass jars. Immediately chill samples by placing them in an ice chest with wet or dry ice for transport, and ship to an accredited Standards Council of Canada laboratory for analysis.
  7. Sediment samples should be kept on ice and sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis within three (3) days after collection.

4. Water Samples

  1. Water column sampling at all stations must be completed at the same time as fish and sediment samples.
  2. If a tarpaulin application method was employed, three water column samples (replicates) will be taken:
    1. at a horizontal distance of 0 m (i.e., within the cage); and;
    2. at a horizontal distance 100 m from the cage edge, in the direction of the dominant current, and within 10 m of the surface ; OR
  3. If a well boat application method was employed, three water column samples will be taken:
    1. at a horizontal distance of 10 m (i.e., within the treatment well); and;
    2. at a horizontal distance 100 m from the discharge point, in the direction of the discharge plume; and within 10 m of the surface.
  4. An equivalent number of reference samples will be collected at the same depth as those collected at the 100 m station.
  5. Clean-sampling techniques are required when collecting samples for analysis of trace organic compounds and major inorganic elements, particularly when the target analyte may be subject to contamination from field and/or laboratory procedures at a level that could exceed data quality requirements.
  6. Select equipment with metal, glass, or colourless fluorocarbon polymer components if the components will directly contact samples to be analyzed for organic compounds. Do not use plastics other than colourless fluorocarbon polymers.
  7. A Van Dorn Sampler is recommended to obtain discrete, surface samples, but any non-contaminating sampler may be used.
  8. Water samples should be sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis within 24 hours of collection. The protocol for collection, preservation, and transport should be reported in the AAR Annual Report to DFO.

5. Records

  1. For the proper interpretation of analytical results it is important to collect all vital field data in a consistent and standardized method.
  2. Data collection forms should include the specific information included below. Separate identification labels that accompany the samples during storage and shipment should be designed to correspond with the data collection forms.
  3. Indelible pens and field grade waterproof paper are recommended.

6. Specific information requirements include:

  1. Aquaculture site and company name;
  2. Time and location when fish were first observed and name of observer(s);
  3. Contact information;
  4. Depth and GPS coordinates of aquaculture site;
  5. Species, size and biomass of fish on site at the time of treatment;
  6. The drug or pest control product, method of application, application concentration, amount of product applied and stage of application when affected fish were observed;
  7. Date, time and location (GPS coordinates) of sample collection and names of collectors;
  8. Surface water and air temperature at time of sampling;
  9. Weather observations
  10. Collection method;
  11. Sample Identification Number for each fish;
  12. Photograph number;
  13. Length (cm);
  14. Weight (g);
  15. Species collected;
  16. Condition: live or dead and, if live, observed behaviour;
  17. Observed morphological abnormalities, such as evidence of tissue damage, growth abnormalities, lacerations, fin erosion, skin ulcers, neoplasms;
  18. Quantity and type of ectoparasites; and
  19. Record of storage and transport conditions (time spent at ambient temp/time and temperature spent on ice at collection, and storage time).

Annex 7: Monitoring Standard

Introduction

This Aquaculture Monitoring Standard (Monitoring Standard) is intended to support the monitoring and sampling requirements of the Aquaculture Activities Regulations (AAR) under the Fisheries Act. This document provides the necessary level of detail to enable the owner or operator of an aquaculture facility to produce to the greatest extent possible, consistent and high quality data to support the implementation of the AAR.
This Monitoring Standard will be amended (in consultation with provinces) from time to time.

This Monitoring Standard is available on the Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) website: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/aquaculture/management-gestion/aar-raa-eng.htm.

Definitions

“Containment array”
means an assembly of interconnected cages used to cultivate fish.
“High slack tide”
means the point in time in any given location where the water depth has reached its maximum height and any water movement has ceased, up until the current reverses direction.
“Reference station”
means a sampling station chosen to represent background or natural environmental conditions in a given area.
“Sampling station”
means the location where recording is carried out and any samples are collected.
“Transect”
means a directional line, along which sampling stations are established.

I. Survey for Baseline Information [AAR section 8]

Predicted Contours [AAR paragraph 8(1)(a)]

  1. (1)   Calculate the rate of deposition of biochemical oxygen demanding (BOD) matter from the facility during maximum daily quantity of feed usage, using an aquaculture waste deposition model, and map the 1, 5, and 10 g C/m2/day depositional contours.
    (2)   In the case of an aquaculture facility that is located in or adjacent to tidal waters in British Columbia, subsection 1(1) applies, and the calculated rate of deposition must be to a minimum of 125 m from the edges of the cages or containment array.
    Survey of Fish and Fish Habitat [AAR paragraph 8(1)(b)]
  2. (1)   Conduct fish and fish habitat benthic surveys by diver and/or remote imaging within the 1 g C/m2/day area as calculated in subsection 1(1).
    (2)   In addition to (1), in the case of an aquaculture facility that is located in tidal waters in or adjacent to British Columbia, conduct fish and fish habitat benthic surveys in the manner provided in subsection (1) to a minimum of 125 m from the edges of the containment array in the direction of the dominant current.
    (3)   The fish and fish habitat benthic survey is to be conducted using a grid approach, which will identify species that are 1 cm or greater in length and the type of habitat present.
    (4)   The depth must be recorded by holding a depth gauge up to the camera or through the Global Positioning System (GPS) function of the camera.

Bathymetry Survey [AAR paragraph 8(1)(c)]

  1. (1)   The bathymetric survey must be conducted with a minimum resolution of 10 m contours to generate depth profiles within the 1 g C/m2/day depositional contour, as calculated in subsection 1(1)
    (2)   In addition to subsection (1), in the case of an aquaculture facility that is located in tidal waters in or adjacent to British Columbia, conduct the bathymetric survey in the manner provided in subsection (1) to a minimum of 125 m from the edges of the containment array.
    (3)   Despite subsection 3(1), bathymetric maps from the Canadian Hydrographic Service that represent the 1 g C/m2/day depositional contour, as calculated in subsection 1(1), may be used instead of conducting a bathymetric survey.
    (4)   Echosounders, transducers, and associated equipment used to generate the bathymetric survey in subsection 3(1) must be capable of industry-standard calibrations, including:
    (a)   bar check calibration for echosounders;
    (b)   procedures to account for the following sources of errors:
    • static draft setting;
    • dynamic draft, including settlement and squat;
    • speed of sound changes;
    • instrumental errors;
    • roll, pitch and heave;
    • navigation timing;
    • water level readings or GPS heights; and
    • tide or separation models.
    (c)   horizontal position fixing measurements must be carried out using a differential Global Positioning System (dGPS).

Composition of the Seabed and Corroborative Measurements [AAR paragraph 8(1)(d)]

  1. (1)   The following information concerning the seabed within the 1 g C/m2/day depositional contour, as calculated in subsection 1(1), must be collected:
    • latitude/longitude using dGPS;
    • depth;
    • date and time of sampling;
    • sediment texture and colour;
    • presence of gas bubbles;
    • estimation of surface coverage of bacterial mats;
    • presence of marine worms;
    • presence of fish feces and feed;
    • presence of flocculent organic material;
    • free sulfide concentration measurements
    • redox and pH measurements on all samples for which free sulfide concentrations are measured in paragraph (j), in the following manner:
    • use a redox combination electrode with an appropriate ion-selective electrode (ISE) or mV meter;
    • calibration of the probe must be completed before measurements are taken; and
    • measure the redox value, pH, and temperature at the same time as the free sulfide.
    • total volatile solids (TVS) measurements on all samples for which free sulfide concentrations are measured in paragraph (j), using the standard gravimetric method of determining the mass of total volatile solids within the subsample, as follows:
    • heat the subsample at 103 to 105 °C until dry, and then heat at 550 °C for 30 minutes;
    • weigh the subsample prior to analysis, after the drying step is completed, and after processing at 550 °C; and
    • measure the total volatile solids for each sample.
    • sediment grain size distribution measurements on all samples for which free sulfide concentrations are measured in paragraph (j) by recording the mass of each size class according to Wentworth grain size scale as a percentage of the total subsample mass.

Establishing Reference Stations [AAR subsections 8(1) and (3)]

  1. (1)   In the case of an aquaculture facility that is located tidal waters in or adjacent to British Columbia, two reference stations must be established in a manner compliant with subsection (2).
    (2)   The following criteria must be used when establishing a reference station:
    • (a) the location is not exposed to BOD matter deposit from the facility or from adjacent facilities as indicated by predictive modelling, historical data, and / or sampling results;
    • (b) the depth is within +/- 10 m of the range of depths of the sampling stations; and
    • (c) topography, seabed type, current and tidal regimes, exogenous influences, sediment grain size, and the amount of freshwater runoff influence are to be representative of the sampling stations.

Recording of Baseline Survey Information [AAR subsections 8(1) and (3), and 9(1)]

  1. The report of the baseline survey findings must include at a minimum:

II. Procedures for Monitoring Sediment Free Sulfide [AAR section 10(1)]

Timing of Sampling [AAR paragraphs 10(1)(a) and (b)]

  1. Samples must be taken at the facility during:
    (a)   water and weather conditions that minimize adverse effects on sampling quality and facilitate accurate sampling at stations; and
    (b)   30 days prior to or after the predicted maximum daily quantity of feed usage at least once during the production cycle at sea or every 24 months for farms with finfish continuously on site.

Establishing Sampling Stations [AAR paragraphs 10(1)(a) and (b)]

  1. The following procedures must be complied with when establishing sampling stations:
    (a)   in the case of an aquaculture facility that is located in tidal waters in or adjacent to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or Newfoundland, a minimum of two sample stations must be established, one at each edge of either side of the containment array in the direction of the dominant current;
    (b)   in the case of an aquaculture facility that is located in tidal waters in or adjacent to British Columbia, sample stations must be established 30 m and 125 m from either side of the containment array in the direction of the dominant current; and
    (c)   if the containment array in paragraph (b) is greater than 200 m in length and is perpendicular to the direction of the dominant current, additional sampling is required in the following manner:
    • (i) two transects for every 200 m increment;
    • (ii) the transects must be a minimum of 50 m apart;
    • (iii) the transects shall be based on modelling results as per subsection 1(1) and:
      • (A)  if the 5 g C/m2/day contour extends beyond 30 m from the containment array on the shoreward end of the array, the transects shall be located such that they transit the contour at its furthest extent; and
      • (B)  if the 5 g C/m2/day contour does not extend beyond 30 m from the containment array on the shoreward end, the transects shall be located on the seaward end of the array.

Sediment Sampling Procedures [AAR paragraphs 10(1)(a) and (b)]

  1. The following procedures must be complied with for sediment sampling:

Measurement of free sulfide (S) [AAR paragraphs 10(1)(a) and (b)]

  1. (1)  Determine the free sulfide concentration from the samples collected in section 9 within 36 hours
    (2)   If the free sulfide measurements are not carried out within 5 minutes of the sample being collected, subsamples must be stored at 3 +/- 2 °C until they are analyzed.
    (3)   Use a silver/sulfide probe with a sulfide sensitivity range of at least 0.000 to 19,900 μM and a relative accuracy of +/- 5 % with an appropriate (ISE) or mV meter of 0.1 mV resolution.
    (4)   Calibrate the probe using serial dilutions of a standard sulfide solution at concentrations of 0.0001 moles/L and 0.001 moles/L beginning with the most dilute solution first and a minimum of two points is needed to make a calibration curve.

III. Visual Recording Procedures [AAR section 11]

Manner [AAR paragraph 11(2)(a)]

  1. Visual monitoring of the benthic substrate will be conducted in the following manner:

Times [AAR paragraph 11(2)(a)]

  1. Conduct visual monitoring at the times specified in section 7.

Locations [AAR paragraph 11(2)(a)]

  1. (1)  Video sampling must be located within the 1 g C/m2/day area, as calculated in subsection 1(1).

Annex 8: Program Protocols for Marine Finfish Environmental Monitoring in British Columbia

Acronyms, Abbreviations and Definitions

ANOVA:
analysis of variance
Beggiatoa-like species: species of bacteria that form visible mats on the seabed surface in areas of organic enrichment which may be in the genus Beggiatoa, but may also include those found in different genera.
Benthic Monitoring: sediment sampling and video surveys conducted during operation of a finfish aquaculture facility. This includes operational monitoring as well as prescribed follow-up and pre-stock monitoring.
dGPS:
differential Global Positioning System
DI:
de-ionized
EDTA:
Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid Disodium Salt Dihydrate
Eh:
redox potential (expressed in millivolts, mV)
Epifauna:
animals that live on top of the substratum
HA:
alternate hypothesis
HO:
null hypothesis
High slack tide:
is that point in time in any given location where the water depth has reached its maximum height (above chart datum) and any water movement has ceased, up until the current reverses direction. Official tide tables are to be used to determine the predicted time for maximum height of the nearest tidal station and then extrapolate for the specific aquaculture facility location.
Infauna:
animals that live within the substratum
M:
median
μM:
micromolar; unit of measure used to express sulfide concentrations
Macrofauna:
animals with body sizes on the scale of mm
Megafauna:
animals with body sizes on the scale of cm
n:
sample size
NAD:
North American Datum
OPC:
Opportunistic Polychaete Complexes
Post Processed (PP):
GPS positions are corrected for satellite and propagation errors after the observations are made.
QA/QC:
Quality Assurance / Quality Control
Real Time (RT):
GPS positions are corrected for satellite and propagation errors as the observations are made. The reference receiver sends corrections and/ or observations to the roving receiver.
ROV:
Remotely Operated Vehicle
S=:
free sulfide concentration (expressed in micromolar; μM)
SAOB:
Sulfide Anti-Oxidant Buffer
SD:
Standard Deviation
SGS:
Sediment Grain Size
TVS:
Total Volatile Solids (expressed as a percentage)
x:
sample mean

1. Compliance Sampling Locations

1.1   Selecting compliance sampling stations or zones:

1.2   Selecting Reference Stations

2. Benthic Monitoring and Reporting Requirements

2.1   Monitoring Frequency and Timing

2.2   Monitoring Method

2.3   Report Frequency and Timing

2.4   Report Content and Format

3. Video Surveys

The focus of these protocols is to describe the accepted method of performing continuous video surveys using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Standard deployment and positional methods as well as equipment specifications are detailed.

3.1 Monitoring Design

3.2   ROV Minimum Requirements

3.3   Camera and Recording Minimum Requirements

3.4   Positioning Equipment Requirements

3.5   Conditions and Requirements

3.6   Deployment

3.7   Video Assessment

4. Sediment Sampling

For the purposes of this protocol, sediment sampling is primarily used for compliance purposes. The regression approach is used such that data are collected at stations along transects extending outward from the facility along prevailing current directions. This section describes the protocols on how to choose a sample station, obtain and handle samples, use electrodes and generate physical and chemical data.

4.1   Monitoring Design

4.2   Equipment Requirements

4.3   Sampling Preparation and Information

4.4   Sample Collection and Description

4.5   Preparing Sediment Subsamples

Perform Eh and ‘S’ analyses within 5 minutes after sample collection by completing the following steps:

4.6   Measurement of ‘S’

4.7   Measurement of Eh

4.8   Biological Sampling

5. Quality Assurance / Quality Control of Sediment Samples

Quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) are essential components of a sampling and monitoring program. Quality assurance can be described as “all those planned and systematic actions necessary to provide adequate confidence that a product or service will satisfy given requirements for quality”.

Quality control can be described as “the operational techniques and activities that are used to fulfill requirements for quality” or “a well-documented plan that ensures results are within a consistent level of error.” There is both a field and lab component to QA/QC. Commercial labs are required to obtain certification from the Canadian Association for Environmental Analytical Laboratories (CAEAL), which requires them to participate in a proficiency testing interlaboratory program. Not all parameters associated with marine sediment analysis are part of this program, and for those, labs must follow a standard quality assurance plan that includes the use of blanks, duplicate samples and reference standards.

5.1   Physical and Chemical QA/QC

5.2   Biological QA/QC

There are two options for QA/QC on biological samples:

6. Calibrating the Sulfide (Ag+/S=) Electrode

Ag+/S= electrodes are used to measure free sulfide ions (S= or ‘S’) in sediment samples treated with an antioxidant buffer solution (SAOB). Exposure of sediments to alkaline conditions created by the buffer (pH 12 and greater) may solubilise some fraction of solid phase ‘S’ (pyrite and other metal complexes) in a sample. ‘S’ is therefore operationally defined as total free ‘S’ ions measured in sediment samples buffered with SAOB. Ag+/S= electrodes must be calibrated before the start of each sampling event, and recalibrated a minimum of every 3 hours during an analytical session.

The following protocols are generic to the Ag+/S= electrode. Specific models may have slightly different specific requirements and the operator must be familiar with the model prior to calibrating the electrode. If routinely used Ag+/S= combination electrodes should be replaced every couple of years as they tend to become less accurate due to wear and tear.

6.1   Materials and Equipment

6.2   Summary Table of Required Solutions

Solutions Expiration Period

Sulfide Anti-oxidant Buffer (SAOB) 3 hours

Sulfide Anti-oxidant Buffer excluding L-ascorbic acid 7 days

Stock S= solution 10,000 μM (10-2 M Na2S)* 48 hours (cool, dark and air excluded)

Standard S= solution 1,000 μM (10-3 M Na2S)* 3 hours

Standard S= solution 100 μM (10-4 M Na2S)* 3 hours

Note: The three standards (*) in the table are recommended for the 3-point calibration. If samples are expected or found to have ‘S’ concentrations below 100 μM then a 10 μM standard should be prepared to create a 3-point calibration series consisting of 10 μM, 100 μM and 1,000 μM. ‘S’ solutions below 100 μM are unstable and these values are also at the minimum sensitivity of most commercially available Ag+/S= combination electrodes.

6.3   Solution Preparation

6.4   Calibration Procedures

7. Standardizing the Redox (Pt) Electrode

The Pt electrode is used to measure EhNHE potentials to indicate oxidation/reduction potentials in sediment samples. The measurements do not specify what thermodynamic reactions are involved in forming the potentials measured.

The following protocols are generic to the redox (Pt) electrode. Specific models may have slightly different specific requirements and the operator must be familiar with the model prior to standardizing the electrode.

7.1   Materials and Equipment

7.2   Procedures

8. Performing Statistical Analyses

For soft sediment sites, statistical analyses are performed for compliance purposes to determine if there are significant differences (p < 0.05) between observed mean sediment total free sulfide (‘S’) and designated compliance standards. Nonparametric tests may be used to assess between-station differences in median values of ‘S’ at facility stations and reference stations.

8.1   Statistical Methods to Determine if Requirements Have Been Met

The following study designs and statistical tests are to be used to determine whether facilities are meeting chemical and biological requirements.
Note: Different statistical software may produce slightly different results. The following are examples only, and were produced using the open-source statistical computing environment.

Example Dataset

Table 1: Mean free sulfide concentrations (μM) at facility and reference stations

Station Rep 1 Rep 2 Rep 3 Rep 4 Rep 5
30 m 1200 1500 3000 1900 800
125 m

900

700

1000

600

800

Ref 1

100

150

175

 

 

Ref 2

200

300

250

 

 

30 m post-fallow

800

650

1100

540

200

(a) Descriptive Statistics (required)
These descriptive statistics provide a summary of the data from each station.
(i) Calculate summary statistics including sample number, mean, median and standard deviation for all stations.

Table 2: Summary Statistics

Station number mean median standard deviation

30 m

5

1680

1500

841

125 m

5

800

800

158

Ref 1

5

142

150

38

Ref 2

3

250

250

50

      (ii) Draw a box-and-whisker plot showing all stations.

Figure 1. Box-and-whisker plot

This figure is an example of a box-and-whisker plot showing the median value (centre of the box), the 25th and 75th percentiles (edges of the box), the minimum and maximum values (end of whiskers) and outliers (dots).


figure 1

Statistical Test to Determine Compliance (required)

The one-sample t-test is a parametric test to compare measurements from a single station to a single value threshold. It is recognized that with only three to five data points per station, there is not enough information to determine whether all assumptions of the t-test have been met. However, a non-parametric equivalent to this test does not exist. As such, the t-test will be used as the primary method for assessing compliance. The null hypothesis is rejected if the p-value is less than the accepted significance level (α = 0.05).

Example:
H0 = the true mean is equal to 1300 μM
HA = the true mean is greater than 1300 μM

Results:
t = 1.011, df = 4, p-value = 0.185
There is no evidence that the mean free sulfide concentration at the 30 m station is significantly greater than the standard of 1300 μM (p > 0.05).

Example:
H0 = the true mean is equal to 700 μM
HA = the true mean is greater than 700 μM

Results:
t = 1.414, df = 4, p-value = 0.115
There is no evidence that the mean free sulfide concentration at the 125 m station is significantly greater than the standard of 700 μM (p > 0.05).

Annex 9:  Monitoring Protocol for Benthic Substrates under Marine Finfish Farms in Newfoundland and Labrador

Objectives

The Monitoring Protocol for Hard Bottom Benthic Substrates under Marine Finfish Farms in Newfoundland and Labrador ( NL) gives guidelines for sampling impacts of marine finfish net pen farm operations on benthic fish habitat to enable evaluation of nutrification effects from deposition of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) matter (fish feces, uneaten fish feed, and naturally occurring biofouling material).

The protocoldescribes the visual benthic sampling procedures conducted at standing biomass necessary to demonstrate compliance with the conditions authorizing the deposit of deleterious substances at an aquaculture facility under the Aquaculture Activities Regulations. It replaces the provisions of the Finfish Fallow Period Monitoring Reporting designed to evaluate the effectiveness of site fallowing as the principal mitigation measure to maintain productive fish habitat.

It is applied in circumstances where the nature of the benthic substrate at an aquaculture facility precludes sediment sulfide measurement and when interpretation of the baseline site characterization data normally collected during the aquaculture site licencing process concludes that more than 50% of the lease area is hard bottom composed of rockwall, bedrock, boulders, rubble, cobble, gravel, or hard packed finer substrates. It is expected to be applied at most marine finfish sites in Newfoundland.

Scope

Aquaculture Activities Regulations under the Fisheries Act authorize and establish conditions under which aquaculture operations may deposit drugs, pesticides, and BOD matter during normal operations pursuant to measures in sections 35 and 36 of the Fisheries Act intended to protect fisheries and fish habitat. The regulations are complementary to existing provincial and federal legislative measures and builds upon established siting criteria, mitigation measures, and production management measures.

Minimizing BOD matter deposition and avoidance and mitigation of benthic changes at marine cage sites in Newfoundland has historically been accomplished through the application of siting criteria prior to the establishment of sites, adoption of best practices during the production cycle, and establishment of a monitored fallow period between production cycles to allow assimilation of organic deposits through natural processes. These included:

Terms and Definitions

aquaculture
the cultivation of fish
baseline monitoring
sampling of an area of influence which previously has not been used for finfish production
benthic
associated with the sea floor
biochemical oxygen demanding matter
any organic matter that contributes to the consumption of oxygen that is dissolved in water or sediment
cage
floating framework with attached net bag which encloses the fish, and which forms a part of the fish farm
cage area
area of seabed directly below the cage
disease event
detection of a pathogen or disease that results in a site being quarantined by federal and provincial authorities or as indicated by a veterinarian
environmental monitoring
systematic observation, measurement and calculation of the condition of the environment, emission of pollutants, or populations and species, which are necessary for the assessment of the condition of the environment, the development of environment policies, and the planning of environmental protection measures, as well as the control of the effectiveness thereof
fish farm site
geographically defined location for aquaculture
hard bottom
substrate consisting of bedrock, larger rocks/stones or fixed marine constructions such as wharfs, quays and pipelines
indicator species
benthic species that defines a trait or characteristic of the environment or that serves as a measure of the environmental conditions that exist in a given location
macrofauna
bottom-dwelling animals retained on a mesh screen of 0.5 mm or 1 mm aperture size
monitoring program
set of routine measurements of parameters that describe environmental effects from finfish farms
monitoring standard
means the Aquaculture Monitoring Standard, as amended from time to time, that is produced by the Minister and maintained on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans website
soft bottom
in relation to a body of water, a bottom or floor that consists of loose particles such as clay, mud, marl, sand, pebbles, gravel, shells or small stones
standing biomass
the total biomass held in an aquaculture facility at a given time
threshold value
value of a parameter that divides between defined levels of impact in a monitoring program
transect monitoring
documentation of qualitative and quantitative changes over a distance

Methodology

Establishing Sampling Stations

Sites may not be visited under the following circumstances:

Sites may be visited under the following conditions:

Establishing Reference Stations
The following criteria will be used when establishing a reference station:

Sampling Methodology

Trout sites

Because trout aquaculture in Newfoundland follows a different production cycle than salmon aquaculture (trout are seasonally raised in an overwintering site and production/growout site), application of this monitoring protocol to the seasonal trout aquaculture sites will be modified as follows:

Amendments

Any amendments made to this Monitoring Protocol will be done in conjunction with the AAR Working Group.

Appendix 1 – Tables

Table 1: Sample Video Observation Data Template for Hard Bottom Sites (Substrate type)
This table has 18 columns, with headings as follows: Column 1: Station, Column 2: Cage, Column 3: Transect (m), Column 4: Latitude, Column 5: Longitude, Column 6: Depth (m), Column 7: Video quality, Column 8: Figure number, Columns 9 - 17 are under the heading "Substrate", Column 9: Primary/secondary (>50% hard/soft), Columns 10 - 17 are under the sub-heading "Descriptions", Column 10: Rockwall vertical, Column 11: Continuous bedrock, Column 12: Boulders/rubble, Column 13: Cobble, Column 14: Gravel/pebble, Column 15: Sand/mud, Column 16: Organic, Column 17: Floc (% cover), Column 18: Comments and observations.

Station Cage Transect
(m)
Latitude Longitude Depth
(m)
Video
Quality
Figure # Substrate Comments and observations
Primary/Secondary
(>50 % hard/soft)

Descriptors

Rockwall vertical Continuous Bedrock Boulders / rubble Cobble Gravel /pebble Sand /mud Organic Floc (% cover)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2: Sample Video Observation Data Template for Hard Bottom Sites (Benthic Descriptors)
This table has 20 columns with headings as follows: Column 1: Station, Column 2: Cage, Column 3: Transect (m), Column 4: Latitude, Column 5: Longitude, Column 6: Depth (m), Column 7: Video quality, Column 8: Figure number, Columns 9 - 12 are under the heading "Benthic Indicators", Column 9: Beggiatoa (% cover), Column 10: OPC, Column 11: Type of OPC, Column 12: % of OPC, Columns 13 - 19 are under the heading "Other Benthic Descriptions or Observations", Column 13: Off gas, Column 14: Feed, Column 15: Shell debris, Column 16: Sediment colour, Columns 17 and 18 are under the sub-heading "Flora (% cover)", Column 17: Cor. algae, Column 18: Others*, Column 19: Fauna (abundance by group** (e.g., Anenomes (2), Starfish (1), Porifera (1) and Column 20: Comments and observations.

Station Cage Transect
(m)
Latitude Longitude Depth
(m)
Video
Quality
Figure # Benthic Indicators Other Benthic Descriptors or Observations Comments and observations
Beggiatoa
(% cover)
OPC Barren Off
Gas
Feed Shell Debris >Sed. Colour Flora (% cover) Fauna (abundance by group)**
Type % Cor. Algae Others* e.g. Anemones (2), Starfish (1), Porifera (1)
                                       
                                       
                                       

* Rhodophyceae (red algae), chlorophyceae (green algae), phaeophytae (brown algae such as kelp)
** crab, soft coral, anemone, sponge, crinoid, urchin, starfish, brittle star, sea cucumber, other (specify)

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
General Comments on Site: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Completed By:           ______________________________
Date Completed:       _______________________________                                                      Phone:                                      ___________________________________

Appendix 2 – Figures

Sample site layouts and surrounding information
These figures provide guidance on how to diagram the containment array, including global positioning system (GPS) coordinates, for location of where sediment samples should be collected. The labelled diagram must also include location of nearby onshore and offshore infrastructure (wharves, buoys, cabins, etc.).
figure 2
Provide a labelled, dimensioned drawing that illustrates:
- Cages and configuration;
- Transect intervals;
- True North; and
- All onshore and offshore infrastructure (wharves, buoys, cabins, etc.).

Annex 10: Summary of required actions

There are six sections (6, 8, 9, 12, 13, and 16) in the Regulations that require the owner or operator to take specific action. This annex outlines the required actions and provides a schematic summary of the subsequent processes, together with expected timelines. Actions for sections 6 and 13 are related, so the schematic is combined. Actions for 8 and 9 are the same.
Section 6: The owner or operator must notify the Regional Aquaculture Management Office (RAMO) at least 72 hours prior to the deposit of pest control products. Notification must include the following information:

Notification must be made by email. The owner or operator will receive confirmation of receipt of the notification. If the owner or operator does not provide the notification, DFO fishery officers will inform the company that it is in contravention of the AAR.

Section 13: The owner or operator must immediately notify a fishery officer if fish morbidity or mortality outside the aquaculture facility is observed (either through visual inspection or by means of underwater cameras) from any part of the facility within 96 hours after the owner or operator has deposited any drug or pest control product referred to in sections 2(a) or (b). Notification must include the following information:

Notification must be made by calling the appropriate toll-free number (see Annex 4). The owner or operator will receive confirmation of receipt of the notification.

In the context of a net pen array, “outside the facility” means outside the net anchors on the bottom and the corresponding area on the surface (see schematic in s.13).

Following a report, DFO will determine, using a science-based triage process, whether a Fisheries Acts.36(6) directive will be issued. Measures under the directive may include taking water, tissue and sediment samples in the affected area, according to the Sampling Guidance for Drugs and Pest Control Products contained in Annex 6.

Figure 1 (below), entitled “Process for pesticide notification and subsequent morbidity/mortality observation,” shows the relationship between the notification of pesticide deposit in section 6(d), the notification of a morbidity or mortality event [s.13(1)] within 96 hours of depositing either a drug or a pest control product, and the steps that must be taken [s.13(2)] if the triage process indicates that the event was caused by the deposit.

Figure 1: Process for pesticide notification and subsequent morbidity/mortality observation

Figure 1 is a flow chart illustrating the process which begins with the owner or operator notifying the RAMO of the intent to deposit 72 hours in advance. The RAMO provides receipt of notification and informs DFO Conservation and Protection (C&P) that the deposit is being made and if there are any concerns. C&P and/or the RAMO may visit the site to verify that the deposit has been made. If the 72-hour notification is not provided, C&P will inform the owner or operator that he is in contravention of the Regulations. Should the owner or operator observe morbidity or mortality among wild fish populations outside the facility, he must notify a DFO fishery officer by calling the appropriate toll-free number listed in Annex 4 and provide geographic coordinates of the event, the estimated number of fish and species, the date of the deposit and name of the product deposited. Confirmation of receipt of notification will be provided. Using the information provided, DFO will perform a triage to examine the cause and gauge the scope of the morbidity/mortality event. Based on the triage result, the RAMO works with the fishery officer to determine whether an investigation is required. If such an investigation is warranted, the fishery officer contacts the owner or operator and issues a s.36(6) directive to sample. The owner or operator must follow the instructions contained in the directive. The owner or operator must submit information regarding all deposits and any morbidity/mortality events in the annual report.

figure 1

Sections 8 and 9: The owner or operator is required to submit baseline data on new sites (s.8) and for any applications that would result in an increase in the predicted contour of the BOD footprint of an existing site (s.9). Information may be submitted by email or by post; confirmation of receipt will be provided.

Figure 2 (below), entitled “Typical provincial siting process,” is a flow chart showing the start of the process where industry requests siting, the public engagement and data gathering on siting options carried out by the applicant, followed by submission of the final aquaculture licence request. Once the complete request has been received, the 300 days begin. There is a six (6) month siting review period during which DFO has between four and six months to provide its advice to the province for consideration. Once the licence or lease has been granted by the province, the industry has four to six months to install equipment and stock fish.

Figure 2: Typical provincial siting process
figure 2

Figure 3 (below), entitled “The 300-day review process,” illustrates the siting review process, starting with the owner/operator collecting the baseline data and submitting the information to both DFO (as required by the AAR) and to the province as required by provincial lease application processes. At this point, the application is reviewed on two tracks: through DFO and through the province. On the DFO level, the RAMO provides confirmation of receipt and sends the package to Fisheries Protection Program, Science, and Fisheries Management. The RDG provides DFO’s complete siting advice to the province which incorporates it into the provincial review of baseline data. Following the conclusion of the provincial review, the owner or operator is informed of the siting decision.

Figure 3: The 300-day review process
figure 3

Section 12: Owners and operators are required to monitor sediment sulfide concentrations either through substrate sampling (s.10) or visual monitoring (s.11) to assess the potential impact of organic matter on the benthic environment. If the specified concentration limits are exceeded, the owner or operator must notify the RAMO within 14 days after the day on which the samples of the substrate were taken or the visual monitoring conducted. Information must be submitted by email, and confirmation of receipt will be provided.

Section 16: Anyone holding a provincial/territorial or federal aquaculture licence for a facility that has the potential to deposit deleterious substances or cause serious harm to fish must submit an annual report respecting the operations of each site location during the calendar year. The report is required to be filed by April 1, or three months following the end of the year being reported.

The report must include all the information listed in section 16 of the Regulations (and itemized in the Reporting Template in Annex 1). While using the Reporting Template is not mandatory, it is recommended as it provides a comprehensive checklist of all the information required to be included in the annual report.

Annex 11: Glossary of terms

Aboriginal (in relation to a fishery)
fish is harvested by an Aboriginal organization or any of its members for the purpose of using the fish as food, for social or ceremonial purposes or for purposes set out in a land claims agreement entered into with the Aboriginal organization.
Act
the Fisheries Act.
Aquaculture
the cultivation of fish.
Aquaculture facility
the location where aquaculture activities are being conducted and encompasses: net pens, walkways, barges, floating structures, tanks, vessels (e.g., well boats), and living accommodations, and any associated lines and anchors. Equipment used in the rearing, handling or transport of fish, or in the operation, cleaning (including off-site net cleaning), disinfection and care of the physical structures themselves (whether on or off lease) is considered to be part of the facility.
Aquaculture licence
any of the following:
  • A lease or licence issued or granted by the Minister under section 7 or 58 of the Act, or its regulations, for the purpose of aquaculture;
  • A lease granted by the government of a province under subsection 59(1) of the Act for the cultivation of oysters;
  • A provincial licence or authorization for the operation of an aquaculture facility.
Barren substrate or bare substrate
benthic substrate on which there are no visible organisms as a result of organic enrichment from deposits from aquaculture activity; areas where BOD deposits have created hypoxic or anoxic conditions that are inhospitable to organisms including organisms that are indicators of organic enrichment. These are not areas that were bare prior to aquaculture activity.
Bathymetry
the measurement of the depths of oceans, seas, or other large bodies of water, as well as the data derived from such measurement, especially as compiled in a topographic map.
Beggiatoa
species of bacteria that form visible mats on the seabed surface in areas of organic enrichment.
Benthic
associated with the sea floor.
Biochemical oxygen demanding (BOD) matter
any organic matter that contributes to the consumption of oxygen that is dissolved in water or sediment.
Commercial (in relation to a fishery)
fish is harvested under the authority of a licence for the purpose of sale, trade or barter.
dGPS
Differential Global Positioning System is an enhancement to a Global Positioning System that provides improved location accuracy, from the 15-meter nominal GPS accuracy to about 10 cm in case of the best implementations.
Deleterious substance
(a) any substance that, if added to any water, would degrade or alter or form part of a process of degradation or alteration of the quality of that water so that it is rendered or is likely to be rendered deleterious to fish or fish habitat or to the use by man of fish that frequent that water, or
(b) any water that contains a substance in such quantity or concentration, or that has been so treated, processed or changed, by heat or other means, from a natural state that it would, if added to any other water, degrade or alter or form part of a process of degradation or alteration of the quality of that water so that it is rendered or is likely to be rendered deleterious to fish or fish habitat or to the use by man of fish that frequent that water.
Disinfectant
an antimicrobial agent capable of destroying pathogenic and potentially pathogenic micro-organisms on environmental surfaces and inanimate objects.
Fish
includes (a) parts of fish, (b) shellfish, crustaceans, marine animals and any parts of shellfish, crustaceans or marine animals, and (c) eggs, sperm, spawn, larvae, spat and juvenile stages of fish, shellfish, crustaceans and marine animals.
Fish habitat
spawning grounds and any other areas, including nursery, rearing, food supply and migration areas, on which fish depend directly or indirectly in order to carry out their life processes.
Fish that support
fish that contribute to the productivity of a fishery.
Hard bottom
substrate consisting of bedrock, larger rocks/stones or fixed marine constructions such as wharfs, quays and pipelines.
Mitigation
measures to reduce the spatial scale, duration, or intensity of adverse effects to fish and fish habitat that cannot be completely avoided.
Monitoring Standard
the Aquaculture Monitoring Standard, as amended from time to time, that is produced by the Minister and maintained on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans web site. This document is incorporated by reference into the AAR.
Morbidity
the state of being diseased or unhealthy.
Operation
the carrying out of animal husbandry activities (i.e., the management and care of cultured animals).
Owner or operator
includes everyone employed by the aquaculture facility or acting as an agent of the owner or operator, whether on a full-time, part-time casual or contract basis.
Oxic state
refers to the oxygen content of the sediment. The higher the oxygen content, the greater the biodiversity. The accumulation of organic matter on sediments can reduce the amount of oxygen available for fish species to survive.
Pest
any injurious, noxious or troublesome insect, fungus, bacterial organism, virus, weed, rodent or other plant or animal.
Pesticide or pest control product
any product, device, organism, substance or thing that is manufactured, represented, sold or used as a means for directly or indirectly controlling, preventing, destroying, mitigating, attracting or repelling any pest. Control products include active ingredients used in the manufacture of end-use products and the end-use products themselves. Includes herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, antimicrobial agents, pool chemicals, microbials, material and wood preservatives, animal and insect repellents, and insect- and rodent-controlling devices.
Recreational (in relation to a fishery)
fish is harvested under the authority of a licence for personal use of the fish or for sport.
Serious harm to fish
the death of fish or any permanent alteration to, or destruction of, fish habitat. For more detailed information, refer to the Fisheries Protection Policy Statement.
Soft bottom
in relation to a body of water, a bottom or floor that consists of loose particles such as clay, mud, marl, sand, pebbles, gravel, shells or small stones.
Standing biomass
the total biomass held in an aquaculture facility at a given time.