STATEMENT: Infectious Salmon Anemia in Nova Scotia

Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISAv) is a naturally occurring virus in the environment. ISA is present in a variety of wild fish in many parts of the world, including eastern Canada and the United States. These include: Atlantic herring, Atlantic cod, Atlantic salmon and brown trout. 

Although unusual to find ISA in a land-based hatchery, evidence of ISA has been recorded in the wild fishery on the east coast for over 100 years. While ISA is harmful to salmon, it poses no risk to human health.

The industry has worked closely with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on standard operating procedures that guide all aspects of ISA containment and control. Fish health monitoring is conducted regularly in all land-based fish rearing systems by regulators, veterinarians and staff to make sure the fish remain healthy and to spot fish health concerns early. Hatchery or hatchery practices do not create the problem – but staff have been trained to detect symptoms and implement appropriate rigorous testing and monitoring as quickly as possible, as was the case in Nova Scotia. It was the highly trained staff at the facilities in question that reported the concern to provincial veterinarians and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. When ISA is detected, salmon farmers alert federal and provincial regulators and immediately initiate strict biosecurity and containment measures to protect the health of the fish and the environment.

Since 1996 when ISA was first identified in New Brunswick, salmon farmers have worked with scientists, veterinarians and government to ensure monitoring programs are in place, along with management and containment strategies to stop the virus from spreading.

The lessons learned from every ISA incident are used throughout the region to continuously improve ISA management. The fact that we have not seen wide-spread incidents of ISA show that the stringent protocols for fish health surveillance and testing our industry has in place are working.

Susan Farquharson
Executive Director
Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association



Atlantic Canadian Salmon Farmers Welcome New Federal Science Review

Atlantic Canada’s salmon farmers welcome today’s announcement of an independent review of science-based decision-making in aquaculture.

“Our farmers are world leaders in sustainable salmon farming, and our sector has always been supported by a diverse science and research community,” says Susan Farquharson, Executive Director of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association.

Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard today asked Canada’s Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer, to lead an independent expert panel to provide recommendations on the appropriate use, consideration, and communication of scientific evidence in protecting the marine environment in decision-making on aquaculture.

“We support any efforts to increase engagement and communication with Atlantic Canadians about our industry and the science that supports it,” says Farquharson. “We look forward to working with the committee as the process unfolds.”

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization projects that aquaculture will account for two-thirds of the global food fish consumption by 2030.

The Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA) is an industry-funded association working on behalf of Atlantic Canada’s salmon farming industry in addition to a wide range of service and supply companies and organizations. Salmon farming employs over 3000 people in our region and has a value of over $350 million to provincial economies.

For more information, please contact:
Susan Farquharson, Executive Director
Ph: 506-755-3526

ACFFA Marks 30th Anniversary with New Award

Gary Taylor of St. Stephen is the inaugural recipient of the Atlantic Canada Aquaculture Award in recognition of his long-time commitment to the success and growth of this region’s salmon farming industry.

The Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers’ Association (ACFFA) established the award this year to mark its 30th anniversary. Skretting International sponsored the 2017 award and presented it to Taylor at ACFFA’s Anniversary Gala this week in St. Andrews.

“Gary has been involved with many innovations as the industry has evolved to what it is today, one of the most significant economic drivers in Atlantic Canada,” said Larry Ingalls, ACFFA Chair. “His professionalism, commitment, hard work and passion for this industry truly deserve to be recognized and we’re proud that he is the inaugural recipient of this award.”

Taylor entered the aquaculture industry in 1981 when he graduated from the Aquaculture Technician Program at the New Brunswick Community College in St. Andrews. He first worked in Dark Harbour, Grand Manan, where was the first site manager hired in the industry working for Fundy Aquaculture. He joined Skretting in 1988 where he has been providing customers with excellent service, linking them to the many innovations in feed and fish growth that have taken place over the last 29 years.

“We have such a great industry here. We’ve got the best protein in the world with the least impact on the environment,” Taylor said. “It’s something to be extremely proud of and everyone in this room deserves a hand for the great industry we have developed.”

Approximately 140 salmon farmers, industry stakeholders, scientists, researchers, provincial and federal government representatives, and community members gathered in St. Andrews this week for ACFFA’s 2017 Aquaculture, Research, Science and Technology Forum at the Huntsman Fundy Discovery Centre. Conference participants heard presentations that looked back over the evolution of the industry as well as those that showcased the latest research and innovations, including a Sea Lice Resistance Panel sponsored by Elanco. At the Anniversary Gala, ACFFA also paid tribute to long-time board member and Cooke Aquaculture VP Communications Nell Halse who is retiring at the end of 2017.

“Nell Halse has been an incredibly strong voice for this industry. She’s a collaborator, a builder and a true professional,” said Ingalls. “She’s made a significant and lasting contribution to this industry and as a result, this province. I wish her well in her retirement.”

The Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA) is an industry-funded association working on behalf of Atlantic Canada’s salmon farming industry in addition to a wide range of service and supply companies and organizations. Salmon farming employs over 3000 people in our region and has a value of over $350 million to provincial economies.

Picture Caption (from the left) NB Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet, ACFFA Executive Director Susan Farquharson, Gary Taylor, David Seeley and Trevor Stanley from Skretting.

For more information, please contact:
Kathy Kaufield, Communications Director


Time for a New Approach to Recovering our Region’s Wild Atlantic Salmon

New Brunswick’s salmon farmers, like the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF), are disheartened by the lack of returns of wild Atlantic salmon to the Magaguadavic River. Our members have a long history of working on wild salmon enhancement efforts in many parts of the region, including the Magaguadavic River.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation should be challenged for floating hypothetical assumptions as science to continually blame salmon farming for the demise of wild Atlantic salmon.

The discovery of 15 fish on the riverway trap has been discussed thoroughly by all partners in the NB Aquaculture Containment Liaison Committee, which includes the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the NB Department of Aquaculture, Agriculture and Fisheries, Cooke Aquaculture, Northern Harvest Sea Farms, the NB Conservation Council and the NB Salmon Council.

Our farming companies have conducted thorough investigations in addition to their routine equipment and fish monitoring programs and have found no breeches of containment on their farms to explain the recent discoveries. To help determine the origin of the fish, farmers offered to perform genetic testing on the clips taken from these salmon, which ASF have not yet supplied. Through genetic testing, farmed salmon can be traced back to the hatchery and farm where they were raised.

ASF is well aware of the industry escapee reporting requirements both federally and provincially. Our farmers are in fact going above and beyond that. In 2014, we changed our Code of Containment so that companies are now also voluntarily reporting suspected escapes from their farms. Confirmed escapes of over 100 are communicated by the federal regulator to several non-government organizations, including the ASF.

Approximately five million healthy farmed salmon swim in safe, secure farms in southwest New Brunswick in any given year. Escape events in New Brunswick are rare and are largely a result of extreme weather events. Occasionally a small number of fish may escape due to human error when fish are being handled (i.e. harvesting, fish health inspections, etc.).

The regulatory analysis performed by ASF last year was written with an anti-aquaculture agenda and the author’s lack of experience with the subject matter was obvious to anyone with knowledge of the sector. It ignored significant mechanisms that are in place to manage the industry, including ten pieces of federal and provincial legislation, the national Aquaculture Activity Regulations, conditions of license, industry codes of practice and the rigorous, independent audits by third-party internationally recognized certification programs that our companies subscribe to.

The regulations that oversee salmon farming are rigorous. They are being followed. There is more transparency in salmon farming than any other food producing sector.

It is well known and well documented that wild Atlantic salmon populations are impacted by a variety of issues. Marine Survival is considered the most significant factor, and this is being compounded by climate change. Other impacts include acid rain, industrialization, seal predation, unhealthy watersheds, hydro dams, habitat loss and over fishing. To point the finger at aquaculture based on hypothetical assumptions is ridiculous and ignores the cumulative effect and realities of warming oceans and river systems.

Next week, ACFFA and many of our members are heading to Fundy National Park to celebrate the release of a record number of wild Inner Bay of Fundy salmon from a conservation farm on Grand Manan to their native river. We’ve been working with a wide variety of partners as part of the innovative Fundy Salmon Recovery project ( that is seeing salmon return to the river in unprecedented numbers. If ASF truly wants to satisfy their funders by fulfilling their mandate to recover the region’s wild salmon, I suggest they focus more attention on cutting-edge, collaborative enhancement projects rather than divisive, unsubstantiated finger pointing.

Susan Farquharson
Executive Director

Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association
Ph: 506-755-3526


Big Hike in Worker's Compensation Premiums Will Hurt Aquaculture Industry

By Susan Farquharson

New Brunswick’s salmon farming industry plays a vital role in this province’s economic renewal plan.

 Our farmers are producing one of the healthiest foods in the world while creating jobs in our rural and coastal communities. Our industry employs people directly on farms as well as in feed production, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, supply and services, research and innovation and spin-off jobs in many other sectors including retail and tourism.

 Our industry employs thousands of people in areas where labour opportunities have been transitioning for the past several decades. Whether it’s in a hatchery, on a fish farm, in a processing plant, on a transport truck, or in administrative roles, New Brunswickers who are employed in the fish farming industry work in varying and challenging conditions. Our industry knows that safe and healthy work environments are imperative. We also know the importance of having a functional workers’ compensation system in place that balances the needs of employees and employers.

 Our companies want to continue to aid economic growth in our province, which is why we feel compelled to add our voices to the chorus of industry professionals who are raising the alarm over WorkSafeNB’s unexpected announcement of an immediate 33 per cent hike in employer premiums. Increasing the average assessment rate for employers from $1.11 per $100 in 2016 to $1.48 in 2017 will have an immediate and significant impact on the budgets of both big and small companies and subsequently the entire provincial economy. WorkSafeNB’s warning that subsequent rate hikes are likely for the foreseeable future is alarming as well.  How can companies operating in New Brunswick plan and support provincial economic development, while operating under these unknowns?

 It seems there has been a long and murky road of ineffective policy and politics that has taken us to where we are today – dealing with such a sudden hike in premiums unseen in both percentage and raw dollars in the past 20 years.

 There is no doubt that our companies are frustrated that this increase came without warning and is now seemingly irreversible. Like other industries, we are dedicated to operating here in New Brunswick, but we are already struggling to navigate increased taxes, rising operational costs, changing global markets and a significant labour shortage.

 We know that our people, our labour force, are our greatest resource. Our industry supports having a healthy worker’s compensation program to support our employees when they need it. However, the system we have in place now that allows for such sudden, unplanned and disruptive increases is simply not acceptable, professional or productive. New Brunswick businesses need stability and predictability in order to survive and thrive. Developers need confidence to invest in New Brunswick. Entrepreneurs invest less and take fewer risks when they are forced to operate in an unpredictable environment.

 We strongly urge the provincial government to work with WorkSafeNB and New Brunswick businesses, including those in our industry, to act quickly to find a solution that works for both employers and employees.

 Susan Farquharson is the Executive Director of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association.


New Global Report Highlights the Role of Land Based Farming Systems for Atlantic Salmon

October 27, 2016 – The global salmon farming industry continues to lead the way in the use of land based farming systems, says a new report.

 The International Salmon Farmers’ Association (ISFA) released a report today – The Evolution of Land Based Atlantic Salmon Farms that highlights the history and the current state of land based farms for Atlantic salmon.

Salmon farmers are experts in land based freshwater farming systems and have been successfully using these systems for smolt production and a variety of broodstock programs for almost half a century. They fully understand the value and limitations of this technology,” says Trond Davidsen, President of the International Salmon Farmers Association. “This report serves as an excellent resource in the ongoing discussion about the future of land based farms for Atlantic salmon.”

The report reviews available studies and information on land based Atlantic salmon farms from around the world, the current state of knowledge and technology as well as the challenges that have to be overcome as these systems continue to evolve.

“For us, the conversation is about growing healthy, nutritious seafood in an efficient and sustainable manner,” says Mr. Davidsen. “By using both marine and freshwater resources in the most efficient way, the global salmon farming industry represents one of the best ways to feed the world’s growing population with a minimal environmental footprint.”

A 2012 ISFA report showed that the global salmon farming industry produces 14.8 billion meals every year and creates 121,000 jobs in coastal communities around the world.

 Copies of the report are available at

For more information, please contact:

Trond Davidsen

President, International Salmon Farmers’ Association

Tel: +47 90180702


Salmon Farmers Host Farm Tour to Celebrate Bay of Fundy Seafood Week

Event will raise funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation

May 30, 2016 – Letang, N.B. – New Brunswick salmon farmers will celebrate Bay of Fundy Seafood Week by hosting a guided farm tour to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

The Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, on behalf of local salmon farmers, will offer the farm tour on Saturday, June 4 to give the public an opportunity to learn about salmon farming.

 “Salmon farming is always evolving and has changed significantly in the 40 years since it began in our province. These popular tours are a tremendous way to learn about our innovative and sustainable sector and to celebrate New Brunswick seafood,” says Sue Farquharson, Executive Director of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers’ Association.

The salmon farm tour, on an Island Quest Marine vessel, will leave St. Andrews main wharf on Saturday, June 4 at 3:00 p.m., weather permitting. The tour will be filled on a first come, first served basis. Call (506) 755-3526 for reservations. Space is limited. Cost is $10; children 12 and under are free. ACFFA representatives will be onboard to provide an overview of the salmon aquaculture industry and to answer questions about our operations. Participants will also get the chance to sample some delicious Atlantic salmon, courtesy of True North Salmon. Proceeds from the tour will be donated to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

“The Heart and Stroke Foundation encourages healthy lifestyle choices to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke for men and women. Eating more heart-healthy foods like salmon is a big part of that, and our members are pleased to raise money for this worthwhile cause,” says Farquharson.

The Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA) is an industry-funded association working on behalf of the salmon farming industry in Atlantic Canada. The ACFFA represents salmon producers in addition to a wide range of supporting companies and organizations.

For more information, please contact:

Susan Farquharson, Executive Director

Ph: 506-755-3526



Letang, N.B. - Atlantic Canada salmon farmers take pride in growing healthy, fresh and nutritious salmon that is in high demand with consumers.
Members of the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA) do not farm or sell GMO salmon, nor are they researching or considering the possibility of raising transgenic fish. Our farmers have no plans to change farming practices, which already produce the highest quality fresh salmon for consumers in Canada and abroad.  Our farmers are committed to sustainability and responsible best practices and a science-based management approach.
The Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA) is an industry funded association working on behalf of the salmon farming industry in Atlantic Canada. The ACFFA represents salmon producers in addition to a wide range of supporting companies and organizations.
For more information, please contact:
Sue Farquharson

Executive Director
Ph: 506-755-3526


ACFFA Position: Genetically Modified Salmon

Salmon grown in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia originate from Saint John River wild salmon. However, through careful selective breeding programs like the Atlantic Salmon Broodstock Development Program, the offspring from this superior stock were supplied to our salmon farming industry allowing us to produce the highest quality salmon in the most economical and environmentally sound manner possible.

Statement: Aquaculture Activities Regulations

The federal government’s proposed Aquaculture Activities Regulations will do the opposite of what detractors are claiming. They will, in fact, strengthen environmental protection measures, ensure greater public reporting and transparency while at the same time allowing farmers to continue to grow healthy and sustainable seafood in a responsible manner.
The Fisheries Act was created at the time of Confederation – when commercial aquaculture in Canada did not exist. The proposed regulations will help to modernize aquaculture regulation and don’t cover just salmon farming. The proposed regulations cover all aquatic species farmed in Canada, including trout, clams, mussels and oysters to name a few – in both freshwater and the oceans.
Canada’s aquaculture industry is now regulated by no fewer than 10 federal agencies in addition to provincial ones too. The regulations and rules often overlap and are even contradictive in many cases, making it cumbersome for operators and confusing for the public.
The proposed regulations will now set clear parameters around issues such as how mussel farmers can remove invasive species such as sea squid from their mussel socks; how barnacles can be removed from equipment; or how salmon farmers use sea lice treatments and feed their fish. Although these matters are largely covered in provincial regulation, they will now be articulated within a clear, federal regulation.
Aquaculture is one of Canada’s most promising industries. We produce one of the healthiest proteins in the world. The regulations governing our industry need to be updated and modernized if we want it to continue to evolve and meet the growing demand for seafood.
None of the proposed regulatory changes will change the way sea lice treatments are approved or used in Canada. Only treatments that have undergone extensive risk assessments by Health Canada to ensure they are safe for salmon and other species, the environment and human health are registered for use.  Farmers have access to two approved bath treatments for sea lice management – both used under the direction of a veterinarian and by prescription.
Based on independent field research conducted right here in New Brunswick, Canadians can be confident the use of Salmosan or hydrogen peroxide pose very little risk to the marine environment and to fisheries. The risk assessments conducted on each product plus an independent review by the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat also comes to this conclusion. The treatments used in Canada have been used in other countries in Europe for more than a decade.
The aquaculture industry will continue to be regulated and monitored by both the provincial and federal governments. We will always have to consider the Fisheries Act.  We welcome that.  The proposed regulations address that. There are Fisheries enforcement officers from both the federal and provincial governments on the water. They stop at our farms on a regular basis and inspect records and operations. This will continue to be the case. The proposed regulations do not change that.

Our farmers have built this industry and co-existed with traditional fishermen for nearly 40 years.  Many of our salmon farmers are lobster fishermen too.  We are partners in a diversified economy so important for New Brunswick. As our industry has grown, so too have the lobster catches.
I encourage anyone interested in the getting the facts about the proposed Aquaculture Activities Regulations to read about them in the Canada Gazette on the Government of Canada website.

Pamela Parker
Executive Director
Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association


Salmon farmers are ready to work with the Nova Scotia government to complete a strong regulatory aquaculture framework and move forward with responsible industry growth that will bring jobs and prosperity to coastal communities.
The Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA) welcomed today’s final report from the Doelle-Lahey Panel’s Independent Aquaculture Regulatory Review for Nova Scotia.
“Now that the review has been completed and a report has been submitted, we must continue to move forward to grow the sector and create jobs in rural Nova Scotia,” says Pamela Parker, Executive Director of the ACFFA. “Our industry already meets high regulatory standards that cover all aspects of our farming operations. We look forward to working with the Province of Nova Scotia to finalize any regulatory amendments or, where necessary, the introduction of new regulations in a timely manner.”
Nova Scotia’s salmon farming industry generates about $80 million in economic activity and employs 670 people in direct and supply and service jobs, largely in coastal communities. The industry contributes $41.9 million to Nova Scotia’s GDP.
“Our industry has shown over the past 40 years that we can grow Atlantic salmon in their natural environment with minimal potential for risk to wild stocks or the marine habitat. Salmon farming is bringing much needed jobs and prosperity to Nova Scotia, especially to its coastal communities.  However, we have not tapped our potential,” says Parker. “Our region is facing record debt, skyrocketing health care costs, an aging population and high unemployment. Salmon farming represents an extraordinary opportunity to bring economic prosperity to our rural communities – while producing one of the world’s healthiest foods.”
She says it’s time Nova Scotia moved ahead with its Aquaculture Strategy to grow this valuable and important sector.
“Tremendous economic opportunity awaits. Nova Scotia can’t afford to keep saying no to responsible industries that can bring jobs to our province. Salmon farming offers one of the few bright spots of hope in our region’s challenging future. It’s time to embrace it – not shun it,” says Parker.
 The Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association (ACFFA) is an industry-funded association working on behalf of the salmon farming industry in addition to a wide range of service and supply companies and organizations in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Salmon farming employs over 3000 people in our region and has a value of over $356 million to provincial economies.
For more information, please contact:
Pamela Parker, Executive Director
Ph: 506-755-3526