Language selection


Genomic characterization of Piscirickettsia salmonis and Aeromonas species isolated from British Columbia waters to inform fish health management and to support improved diagnostics



Bacterial diseases remain a serious problem for both farmed and wild fish health in B.C. In particular, infection with the gram negative bacteria, Aeromonas salmonicida (Asal) and Piscirickettsia salmonis (Psal), are often associated with significant production losses (reduced growth and morbidity) in the BC salmon farming industry. In addition, the need to use antibiotics to treat these infections affects the ability of companies to meet Environmental Certification Standards, which includes provisions related to Therapeutant Use and Animal Health and Welfare.

To understand genomic basis of differences in antibiotic sensitivity and virulence, this project aims to determine genomic sequences of P. salmonis, A. salmonicida and the 3 other species of Aeromonas, which we have isolated from clinical samples of salmon in B.C. Over the long term these data will enable new molecular diagnostic tests that are species-specific and/or suitable for identification of isolates which are highly pathogenic and/or reduced antibiotic sensitivity. Information on antimicrobial sensitivity and virulent factors will help veterinarians make decisions with respect to the treatment and management of these diseases, as well as support vaccine development.

Program name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


Two years: 2019-2021

Principal investigator

Stewart Johnson, senior research scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station, Pacific Region

Team members

Ahmed Siah, research scientist, BC Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences
Allison MacKinnon, senior technical consultant, Elanco Animal Health Canada Ltd.


John Paul Fraser, Executive Director, BC Salmon Farmers Association

Date modified: