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Terms of Reference

Defining Potential Exposure and Associated Biological Effects from Aquaculture Pest and Pathogen Treatments

National Advisory Process

Phase 1: November 2-3, 2011, St. Andrew’s, NB
Phase 2: TBD

Co-chairs: Ingrid Burgetz and Jay Parsons


In Canada, different aspects of fish pathogen and pest treatments are regulated under the Food and Drugs Act, Pest Control Products Act and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has a mandate to protect fish and fish habitat under the Fisheries Act. Section 36 regulations are required to authorize deposits of substances that are deleterious to fish or fish habitat. Some therapeutants may fall into this category. Proposed regulations under the Fisheries Act would harmonize Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada, Health Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulatory requirements to ensure that fish pathogen and pest treatment does not adversely impact fish and fish habitat and ensure that healthy aquatic ecosystems are maintained. Section 36 regulations typically restrict adverse effects outside a specified zone or area of impact.

As part of a separate, regionally-driven process, a Pacific Regional Science Advisory Process will be undertaken October 18-19, 2011, which will assess the environmental impact of the in-feed treatment of sea lice with the pesticide SLICE® at aquaculture facilities in British Columbia. The overall objectives of this Regional process are consistent with the overall objectives of the National process, and therefore the results will be considered within the overall National analysis. However, the Regional and National Advisory Processes are separate processes with distinct timelines and coordination.


The Aquaculture Management Directorate has requested a national Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) science advisory process to provide peer-reviewed science advice to inform Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s regulatory and policy considerations related to pest and pathogen management in aquaculture. The information and advice produced from this CSAS review will also be available to feed into future Health Canada environmental risk assessment processes for aquaculture pathogen and pest management products.

Specifically, science advice related to the exposure of non-target organisms to aquaculture pest and pathogen treatments and whether that exposure may result in biological effects has been requested.

In light of ongoing research and the current state of scientific information, in order to achieve the stated objective, a phased approach to providing this advice will be undertaken.

Phase I (November 2-3, 2011)

Phase I will be a national, internal to DFO, CSAS workshop to review the research results and analysis from the Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR) funded projects related to sea lice bath treatments in the Bay of Fundy. The results will be used to support management and policy considerations for a risk tolerance/risk management approach to “no adverse effects to non-target species are occurring outside treatment areas” for aquaculture pest and pathogen treatments.

The Phase I CSAS workshop will address the following specific questions:

  1. What are the factors that may influence the extent of exposure of non-target organisms to sea lice bath treatments (well boat and tarp application)? In order to address this question, a literature review of transport dynamics and dispersion in general is required, as well as an analysis of the dispersion and dilution of bath treatments in the Bay of Fundy specifically and the resulting model.
  2. What are the known biological effects of hydrogen peroxide, azamethiphos and deltamethrin on key non-target organisms? Known biological effects may include lethal, sub-lethal, and behavioural impacts.
  3. Using the Bay of Fundy experience as a model, what are the predicted biological effects on key non-target species (i.e., how does the exposure profile, including dilution and duration, map to the known biological effects from exposure at that concentration)?
Phase II (Fall/Winter 2012)

Phase II will be a full CSAS Science Advisory Process aimed at addressing the potential exposure and potential associated biological effects on key non-target organisms (including, where possible, consideration of population-level effects) from aquaculture pest and pathogen treatments.

Following Phase I, nominations for the Phase II CSAS Steering Committee will be sought.

The exact scope and specific questions for Phase II will be determined by the Steering Committee based upon outputs from the CSAS bath treatment workshop (Phase I), the Pacific SLICE Regional Advisory Process as well as ongoing regulatory policy requirements outlined by DFO Aquaculture Management.

Expected Publications

For the Phase I initial national CSAS workshop, research documents, and proceedings will be produced and published on the CSAS website.  A science advisory report will be produced if determined appropriate, by the Steering Committee, based on the state of available scientific evidence.

As part of the full Phase II CSAS advisory process, research documents, a science advisory report and proceedings will be produced and published on the CSAS website.


  1. Phase I CSAS Workshop:  participation will likely be limited to experts within the federal government due to the limited nature of the available scientific information and on-going nature of the research. Participation will include Fisheries and Oceans Canada Ecosystem and Oceans Science experts from all Regions, Aquaculture Management and Habitat Management, and experts from other federal governmental departments.
  2. Phase II Full CSAS Advisory Process:  participation will be expanded to include academic experts, provincial experts, industry representatives, First Nations and wild fishery stakeholders, and environmental non-governmental organizations.


Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.

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