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The transfer potential of fish pest and pathogen from farmed to wild salmon: Stocking density effect



Salmon farms can become infected with the Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus (ISAV) from wild fish stocks. Should this occur, farms could potentially become an amplified source of ISAV that could, in turn, impact wild fish. ISAV is transported and dispersed by water currents, and the resulting plumes or ISAV zones may contribute to the transfer of ISAV between farms and to migrating wild salmon that intersect the plumes.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) regulators in the Maritimes Region are particularly interested in the role of stocking density in pest and pathogen transfer from existing farms to endangered wild Atlantic salmon populations. This project aims to produce new experimental information quantifying the transfer rates of ISAV from farmed Atlantic salmon, new information on the minimum exposure dose needed to infect naïve salmon, as well as models for predicting the potential for waterborne transfer of ISAV from commercial salmon farms under a range of stocking and farm density scenarios. The information will help inform regulators, and aquaculture and recreational salmon industries who are working toward developing and implementing strategies and actions aimed at mitigating the potential for transfer of ISAV from farmed to wild salmon.





Program Name

Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR)


2014 - 2017


Atlantic: Gulf of Maine, Scotian Shelf

Principal Investigator(s)

Fred Page
Research Scientist, St. Andrews Biological Station
531 Brandy Cove Road, St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Nellie Gagné
DFO Research Scientist, Gulf Fisheries Centre
343 Université Avenue, Moncton, New Brunswick

Team Member(s)

Blythe Chang

Francis Leblanc

Steve Leadbeater

Kyle Garver

Collaborative Partner(s)

Michael Beattie, New Brunswick Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries

Ian Gardner, Atlantic Veterinary College, Fish Health Management Unit

Larry Hammel, Atlantic Veterinary College, Fish Health Management Unit

Crawford Revie, Atlantic Veterinary College, Fish Health Management Unit

Sophie St. Hilaire, Atlantic Veterinary College, Fish Health Management Unit

Raphael Vanderstichel, Atlantic Veterinary College, Fish Health Management Unit

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