Aquatic Animal Health Committee

Input into the development of the National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP) is managed through the Aquatic Animal Health Committee (AAHC). This Committee includes provincial and territorial authorities for aquaculture and wild fisheries resource management, veterinary association representatives, Aboriginal groups and wild and farmed industry stakeholders.

NAAHP program development and its implementation is reported to the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers, and to the Agriculture Federal/Provincial/Territorial Regulatory Assistant Deputy Minister Committees.

The AAHC is co-chaired by the CFIA and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Terms of Reference

The National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP) is a federal program, co-delivered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) under the legislative authority of the Health of Animals Act. The NAAHP is designed to meet international aquatic animal health management standards that protect Canadian aquatic resources (wild and farmed) from serious aquatic animal diseases and maintain competitive international market access.

Rationale

The National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP) is a science-based regulatory program for aquatic animal diseases that have been designated reportable or notifiable because of their impact on Canada's trade, economies and environment. As such, development of the NAAHP will impact, to a greater or lesser extent, traditional activities of a wide variety of aquatic resource-users and some government organizations with aquatic resource management responsibilities. Since the objective of the NAAHP is to enhance, rather than replace or duplicate, established programs, policies and related management activities, CFIA has implemented, and will maintain, an Aquatic Animal Health Committee (AAHC), herein referred to as "The Committee", to ensure meaningful and ongoing input from all interested parties on NAAHP development and implementation.

Mandate and Scope

The Committee is responsible for ensuring meaningful and documented input into NAAHP development, implementation plans, and ongoing changes, as the program evolves. The Committee will include representation from as wide a range of aquatic animal health interests in both wild and farmed aquatic resources as possible.

Coverage of topics will focus on NAAHP core activities, such as export certification, import permit control measures, domestic disease controls, and emergency response (contingency) plans as these relate to diseases regulated under the Health of Animals Act (Health of Animals Regulations and Reportable Disease Regulations). These core activities are underpinned by surveillance, risk assessment, diagnostic testing, and regulatory research.

Additional topics may be presented for information, but do not fall under the advisory scope of the Committee; e.g., aquatic invasive species, aquatic animal welfare, aquaculture technology, veterinary drug approval updates, and species diversification. Advisory input on these topics will be covered under separate federal, provincial, territorial and/or inter-jurisdictional groups.

The Committee will provide input on the following via annual face-to-face meetings and inter-session specialist ad hoc Task Groups (short-term, specific tasks):

  1. Communications processes and prioritization for education and information exchange with industry, government or other organizations represented on the Committee.
  2. Task Group reports and recommendations.
  3. Non-technical, policy or regulatory inter-jurisdictional issues that require referral to the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM) CFIA Committee.
  4. Emerging disease issues that may require CFIA aquatic animal health involvement or referral to the appropriate regulatory authority.
  5. Recommendations for Task Groups.

Note: These Terms of Reference do not apply to the CFIA Fish, Seafood and Production Division (FSPD) mandate which is related to wholesomeness and consumer safety. Where such technical issues are identified by AAHC members to the Committee Secretariat, the item will be referred to FSPD expertise to address as appropriate (e.g., as an Agenda item at the annual meeting or as an inter-session communication to AAHC members).

Organization

The Director of the Aquatic Animal Health Division (AAHD), CFIA, will chair the Committee. CFIA will also provide Secretariat support for annual meetings, and coordination of input from Task Groups approved by the Committee.

Secretariat support will consist of:

  1. Maintaining a list of Members of the Committee and Task Groups.
  2. Management and filing of Action Items and Records of Decision.
  3. Arrangements for meetings/calls to support Committee and/or Task Group deliverables.

Any changes to organisation representation on the Committee and/or Task Groups should be relayed to the Secretariat as soon as possible to ensure continuity of input from each organisation.

A call for Agenda Items will be sent to the AAHC membership by the end of March of each year. A draft Agenda will be sent out shortly thereafter with a request to confirm on-site/off-site attendance. The final Agenda will be provided in advance of the meeting.

The annual meetings will be held in Ottawa by mid-June and will ensure provision of teleconference participation for those who cannot travel. All travel costs are the responsibility of the organisation being represented.

All documents will be translated prior to the annual meetings. Task Groups will ensure translation of documents as appropriate.

Invited Committee Membership

  • DFO Science
  • CFIA Operations
  • DFO Fisheries and Aquaculture Management; DFO Oceans
  • Provincial and Territorial governments
  • National Aboriginal, First Nations and Métis Organisations
  • The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA)
  • The Fisheries Council of Canada (FCC)
  • Recreational aquatic resource organisations (anglers; baitfish)
  • Ornamental and educational display aquatic resource users
  • Research and Academic interests
  • Commercial harvest fisheries representatives
  • Seafood processing industries
  • The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and associated regional representatives.

Invitations may also be extended by the Chair of the AAHC to other individuals to attend meetings as observers. In addition, expertise on specific areas of aquatic animal health may also be invited to provide advice to the AAHC and Task Groups, as needed.

Records of Decisions: Available upon request.

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