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Science Response 2016/034

Proposed Use of European-Strain Triploid Atlantic Salmon in Marine Cage Aquaculture in Placentia Bay, NL


Canada has endorsed the use of sterile fish to minimize adverse effects to wild salmon from aquaculture, ranching, introduction and transfers, and transgenics within the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) through the 1992 North American Commission Protocols for the Introduction and Transfer of Salmonids (NAC(92)24), the 2002 Oslo Resolution (CNL15.147), and the Williamsburg Resolution (CNL(06)48) (NAC/NASCO 1992).

In March 2016, Grieg NL Nurseries (hereinafter referred to as “The Proponent”) submitted a request to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to import triploid Atlantic Salmon eggs from Iceland. The importation has been approved by the CFIA and an import permit has been issued to the Proponent. The issuance of a CFIA import permit indicates that an export certificate will be endorsed by the Icelandic Competent Authority certifying that the disease risks associated with the import of the aquatic animal from Iceland have been mitigated. The Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) Introductions and Transfers Committee (ITC - a multi-jurisdictional committee with membership from DFO as well as the NL Departments of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Environment and Conservation) conducted a risk assessment of the importation request under the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) National Code on the Introductions and Transfers of Aquatic Organisms, based on the outcome of the 2013 Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) process (DFO 2013) and recent scientific publications on performance characteristics, ecological effects, and pathogen matters using sterile salmon.

In April 2016, Aquaculture Management, Ecosystems Management Branch, NL Region requested Science Branch conduct a peer-review of the risk assessment of the ITC with respect to the following:

  1. Provide a science review of the Newfoundland and Labrador Introductions and Transfers European Triploid Atlantic Salmon Risk Assessment, and scientific advice on the genetic, ecological and fish health risk from the proposed introduction of European triploid Atlantic Salmon to Placentia Bay, NL.


  1. Characterize the effectiveness of triploid induction in fish. Provide advice on triploidy monitoring measures including sampling protocols, sample sizes required, and statistical power, to ensure triploidy induction levels are acceptable (i.e., 100%).
  2. Review and provide advice on the scientific basis for predictions on impacts associated with the potential for triploid escapes to occur and subsequent impact of sterile and potential non-sterile European strain salmon on wild Newfoundland Atlantic Salmon, including genetic (direct and indirect), ecological and fish health impacts.
  3. The scientific advice may also propose mitigation measures that may further reduce the risk of impacts from the introduction of European strain triploid Atlantic Salmon into NL waters.
  4. To advise on any new significant information that might affect the potential for genetic and ecological effects on wild populations and that might need to be added to the existing risk assessment document.

This Science Response Report results from the Science Response Process of May 25, 2016 on the Review of the Introductions and Transfers Committee’s Risk Assessment on the Proposed Use of European-strain Triploid Atlantic Salmon in Marine Cage Aquaculture in Placentia Bay, NL.

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