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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is seeking comments on a proposed disease surveillance plan that could involve the testing of 5,000 wild salmon for disease in British Columbia.

The aim of the surveillance is to get a comprehensive picture of the health status of salmon in on the west coast. The fish will be tested for three diseases: infectious haematopoietic necrosis, infectious pancreatic necrosis and infectious salmon anaemia.

The CFIA said in a release it will lead the surveillance with support from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the Province of British Columbia and industry. All testing, as well as any activities undertaken to respond to confirmed cases of disease, will be directed by science, the release said, international guidelines and national aquatic animal health requirements.

Approximately 5,000 wild salmon will be collected per year for a minimum of two years, starting in the spring of 2012. In addition, the CFIA will evaluate ongoing, industry-led testing of farmed salmon.

The design of the proposed surveillance plan was based on internationally accepted surveillance principles and developed by the CFIA in consultation with DFO, the Province of BC and the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. A summary of the initiative is available on the CFIA web site at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/ aquatic.

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