International Trade:

Canada's Restrictions on Certain Salmon Imports

GGD-95-117: Published: Apr 20, 1995. Publicly Released: Apr 20, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on Canada's policy regarding the import of fertilized salmon eggs and smolts, focusing on: (1) the reasons Canada implemented its policy; (2) whether concerned parties view Canada's policy as reasonable; and (3) whether opportunities exist for U.S. producers to increase their salmon egg and smolt exports.

GAO found that: (1) since 1985, Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has maintained a policy that requires a quarantine of imports of fertilized Atlantic salmon eggs and bans imports of Atlantic salmon smolts into British Columbia; (2) hatchery facilities must be certified by DFO that they are free of certain diseases over a period of 18 months in order for them to export fertilized salmon eggs; (3) according to DFO officials, the salmon policy was developed to protect British Columbia's valuable fishery resources from pathogens that could be inadvertently destructive; (4) Atlantic salmon is the principal salmon species used in worldwide aquaculture production and accounts for about 60 percent of farmed salmon production in British Columbia; (5) salmon hatchery producers in the United States and Canada have questioned whether the Canadian policy is necessary, since in 9 years of testing, none of the hatchlings from imported eggs have been found to carry pathogens; (6) Washington state and federal officials have questioned the need for a ban on U.S. hatchery smolts, since both British Columbian and Washington salmon share the same watershed and have equal chances of acquiring pathogens; and (7) if Canada's import restrictions were relaxed, there would be great market potential for U.S. hatchery salmon eggs and smolts.

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