Monday, September 12, 2016

CFIA confirms whirling disease in Bow River

Government of Alberta - Today, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the lead federal agency responsible for preventing the spread of animal diseases within Canada, confirmed the presence of whirling disease in the upper Bow River, downstream from the confluence of the Bow River and Cascade River within Banff National Park.

In response to the detection of whirling disease in Johnson Lake, in Banff Nation Park on Aug. 23, Alberta Enviroment and Parks developed a three-point action plan to provide emergency response and early detection, education and mitigation.

As part of the plan, the province issued a precautionary quarantine on all commericial fish culture operations until the facility is cleared of whirling disease. Sample results from the Sam Livingstone Provincial Fish Hatchery in Calgary and the Cold Lake Provincial Hatcheries have tested negative.

Detection sampling has been completed in the main stem of the Bow River. Work is underway to collect samples from basins immediately adjacent to the Bow River, Oldman River and upper Red Deer River watersheds. Results will be reported by CFIA as they are received.

“We are taking swift action to protect our fish populations. Our plan ensures continued testing, a strong public education campaign, long-term monitoring and a precautionary quarantine on commercial fish operations to manage whirling disease.” - Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks

Environment and Parks will establish a Whirling Disease Management Committee, with representatives from various federal agencies and stakeholders to implement procedures to identify, test and manage whirling disease as well as communicate with affected stakeholders.

The province has asked that whirling disease be added to the agenda at the upcoming Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment at the end of September due to its potential economic and recreational impact.

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