Protecting Fish Health
The FFSBC’s Fish Health Unit plays an integral role in the Society by maintaining year round diagnostic assessments on all hatchery-reared fish to ensure that all Fish Health standards established by federal and provincial regulatory agencies are met. This ensures a high-quality hatchery fish, and protects the aquatic ecosystem and wild fish populations from exposure to disease pathogens originating from hatchery fish.
The Fish Health Unit constantly maintains 5 cell lines to conduct virology assays. Two of these lines are salmonid, and the other 3 lines are white sturgeon cell lines, making the Fish Health Unit unique in British Columbia. These cell lines are used in monitoring the ongoing health of salmonids and sturgeon, meeting regulation requests for the FFSBC's fish culture stocking programs, and conservation culture programs for white sturgeon.
The Fish Health Unit is capable of performing a number of other disease screening techniques. The Fish Health Unit lab was relocated in February of 2009 to a new facility within the Freshwater Eco-Centre in Duncan, British Columbia. The new Fish Health Unit lab facility supports several labs including a necropsy, serology, virology, PCR, and a tissue culture lab. The Fish Health Unit can perform bacteriology isolation and basic identification of some common fish bacterial pathogens. PCR is used for the amplification and confirmation of certain fish pathogens, and virology is used for the detection of salmonid and sturgeon viruses.