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Animal Health and Welfare

Trade in frozen milt from farmed fish and the risks of transmitting infectious disease

Report no:

Ordered: 30.11.2017

Publishing: 12.03.2019


The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) will assess the risks of transmitting infectious diseases through trading frozen milt from Atlantic salmon and Rainbow trout.

The VKM is conducting the assessment, on behalf of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA).

The NFSA request knowledge on what types of infectious diseases that may be transmitted through frozen milt trade, as well as whether disease control should be made at national, regional or lower levels.

In addition, The NFSA request answers to what requirements should be made for exporters to document that the milt does not carry infectious diseases.

The VKM will also consider other measures that can ensure that frozen milt does not transmit infectious diseases.

Will develop standards for trade in genetic material

The use of frozen milt opens up new opportunities in the trade of genetic breeding material on farmed fish. All trade concerning living materials involve a risk of transmitting infectious diseases. Little has been done to develop good standards to eliminate risks in fish farming, as opposed to, for example, cattle breeding.

The VKM's assessment will be an important source of knowledge when the NFSA develops such standards for fish farming. The assessment will also contribute to the development of standards in the OIE - World Organization for the Animal Health Acquatic Animal Health Code.

VKM´s working group

The following members comprises the working group:

  • Espen RimstadPDF, VKM-member in the Panel on animal health and welfare, chair of the working group
  • Edgar BrunPDF, external expert at the Norwegian Veterinary Insititute
  • Duncan ColquhounPDF, external expert at the Norwegian Veterinary Insititute
  • Niels Jørgen OlesenPDF, external expert at the Danish Technical University
  • Dean Basic, projectleader, the VKM secretariat

The composition of the working group is based on relevant scientific expertise in areas such as fish health, virology, bacteriology, pathology, epidemiology as well as experience with risk assessments.

VKM’s Panel on animal health and welfare is responsible for approval of the report. The risk assessment is expected to be published in early March 2019.


Dean Basic

Project manager, PhD

T: +47 21 62 28 25
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The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment

T: 21 62 28 00
@: vkm@vkm.no


P.O. box 222 Skøyen
0213 Oslo

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