Exterior of the Vancouver Island University (VIU) campus. Image: VIU.

University shuts down trout facility after fish deaths

Vancouver Island University (VIU) has temporarily stopped using its trout facility after almost 400 fish died due to human and mechanical error.

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“On December 5 a series of errors (mechanical and human) led to the deaths of 377 fish housed at the Vancouver Island University (VIU) facility,” VIU said in a news release.

“VIU is taking this incident very seriously and is working in cooperation and close consultation with the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) to determine the path forward.” 


The university decommissioned the trout facility to help resolve the problems.

“VIU’s Animal Care Committee (ACC) submitted its report along with the institutional responses to this incident to the CCAC  and is awaiting a response. VIU is required to follow the CCAC guidelines to maintain its Certificate of Good Animal Practice,” stated the university.

“VIU is committed to the ethical and humane treatment of animals. As part of this commitment the VIU Animal Care Committee oversees and ensures that all activities involving vertebrates are conducted in accordance with the guidelines set out by the Canadian Council of Animal Care.”

Biological Station

On December 20 and 21 the university chose to move 1,500 trout from the VIU Nanaimo campus to Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Pacific Biological Station which is approximately 10 km away.

“Vancouver Island University, ACC and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans reviewed and approved the successful transfer, conducted due to security and mechanical issues at one of VIU’s fisheries and aquaculture facilities. The fish will be cared for at this facility until further notice while VIU addresses these issues,” said the university.