The Campbell administration is committed to supporting the sustainable development of the aquaculture industry, basing its decisions on sound science. But the computer system presently being used to record information about the health of fish in that industry, is "dysfunctional and cannot be relied upon to produce accurate or timely statistics, reports, data or information." This according to a request for proposal seeking a contract able to replace that database. The document also notes the present system, "cannot capture relevant information, does not allow for the full flexibility of queries, multiple users and multiple laboratory tests and results data entry and retrieval." As a result, agriculture and land bureaucrats have had to manually collate aquaculture fish health statistics - news which will no doubt please those advocating against fish farms. The following is a complete copy of the relevant section of that request for proposal, which was quietly posted on Friday.
The B.C. government supports the sustainable development of the aquaculture industry. This means acknowledging aquaculture as a legitimate user of the coastal resource, basing decisions on sound science and ensuring sustainable practices
Virtually all marine finfish sites are located on tenured Crown foreshore. While most operations are primarily focused on Atlantic and Pacific salmon production some companies are beginning to diversify into new aquaculture species.
Maintaining healthy stock is essential to profitable farming. Managing to promote fish health is not simply managing disease but involves management of all aspects of farm production that can impact on fish health, growth and survival. Nutrition, feed quality and feeding techniques, water quality, handling, grading, vaccination, brood stock management and disease screening are part of an integrated fish health management program.
As in other agri-food industries, veterinarians and fish health professionals are involved in the day-to-day management of fish health in the aquaculture industry. Fish are observed on a daily basis and records are kept of their behaviour, feeding activity, and general physical condition. If a health or disease problem does arise, the fish health professional staff makes the necessary changes to deal with the problem in an efficient and effective manner.
The Fisheries and Aquaculture Branch of the Ministry of Agriculture, and Lands, located primarily in Courtenay is responsible for the capture of all diagnostic and health management issues identified through on site farm visits where specimen samples are taken, and recorded, and in some instances, compared to Industry reports. Samples are submitted to the Animal Health Centre laboratory in Abbotsford for a variety of diagnostic testing and the Fish Health Veterinarian makes a final diagnosis.
The system utilized by the Fish Health unit to capture and report this information is the focus of this RFP.
The current Access system is dysfunctional and cannot be relied upon to produce accurate or timely statistics, reports, data or information. The system cannot capture relevant information, does not allow for the full flexibility of queries, multiple users and multiple laboratory tests and results data entry and retrieval. The Fish Health Branch is legislated to report statistics and currently, those statistics are mainly collated manually.