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Backgrounder: Aquaculture Activities Regulations and guidance document

The Aquaculture Activities Regulations clarifies rules on the deposit of pesticides and drugs in water for the purposes of aquaculture, as well as impose new reporting requirements to make industry practices more transparent to Canadians. The Regulations came into effect on June 29, 2015.

Aquaculture Activities Regulations’ Objective

Like any other food producers, aquaculture operators must control diseases and pests in their animals, manage deposits of organic matter, and install, operate, maintain, or remove their facilities under prescribed conditions. The Aquaculture Activities Regulations allow aquaculture operators to treat their fish or deposit organic matter within certain restrictions to avoid, minimize and mitigate any potential serious harm to fish and to fish habitat. The Regulations also impose greater public reporting on the industry as well as specific environmental monitoring and sampling requirements. The Regulations increase the Government of Canada’s oversight and ensure there are clear and consistent national rules.

Interpreting the Aquaculture Activities Regulations

To provide clear interpretation of the Regulations and to help aquaculture owners and operators meet the requirements consistently, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has developed a comprehensive guide: the Aquaculture Activities Regulations Guidance Document for Owners and Operators.

This document includes a Section-by-Section Guidance where each of the Regulations’ articles is complemented by a brief description of its intent, guidance on how it should be understood and/or applied, or tips, as appropriate.

Required Reporting, Sampling and Monitoring

The Guidance Document includes a detailed Reporting Template to ensure that aquaculture owners and operators provide consistent and specific data when reporting. This information will be compiled by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, which will make the overall data publicly available annually through its website.

Annexes, such as Sampling Guidance for Drugs and Pest Control Products and Biochemical Oxygen-Demanding Material (BOD) Monitoring Program Protocols for Marine Finfish Environmental Monitoring in British Columbia, present the methodologies to be used by aquaculture operators when performing these activities.

Expected Updates

The Guidance Document will be updated, as needed, as the Aquaculture Activities Regulations are implemented. A three-year science-based research and advisory process will be put in place to review the Regulations and associated Monitoring Standard, and to ensure they evolve as new technologies and scientific information become available.

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