To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action is being taken by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to stop the importation of fish from any area with lower fish health status than Northern Ireland. 
The movement of live fish, eggs and gametes within the European Union is governed by Council Directive EC 91/67 (as amended). This Directive provides for the establishment of Approved Zones for the List II Diseases Viral Haemorrhagic Septicaemia (VHS) and Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis (IHN) and prohibits the import of fish into Approved Zones from non Approved Zones i.e. areas of a lower health status. Northern Ireland has Approved Zone status for both VHS and IHN and therefore can only import fish from other VHS and IHN Approved Zones. Due to the additional guarantees obtained by Northern Ireland in relation to the disease Gyrodactylosis Salaris (GS), imports of live salmonids into Northern Ireland must also be certified as coming from an area regarded as free from GS. Great Britain also has Approved Zone status for VHS and IHN and is regarded as an area free from GS and therefore fish can move freely between GB and Northern Ireland.However the Directive does not provide the Department with the legislative authority to prevent imports of fish into Northern Ireland from areas in which the List III Disease Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis (IPN) is present providing, they are certified as coming from an Approved Zone for the List II Diseases VHS and IHN and from an area regarded as free from GS. It is therefore the Department's policy to advise fish farmers of the risks of importing fish from these areas and to carry out rigorous testing of any such imports to determine whether the IPN virus is present. Should the presence of the IPN virus be detected it is the Department's policy to use its powers under the Diseases of Fish Act (Northern Ireland) 1967 to take the necessary measures to prevent, control and eradicate the virus.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the origin of the fish confirmed as having infectious pancreatic necrosis in the latest outbreak in Northern Ireland is. 
The latest incident of the infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN) virus occurred in a marine fish farm off the coast of County Antrim. The infected fish have been bred from broodstock selected from salmon stocks on the farm and reared in the farm's hatchery. However tests carried out on samples of fish taken from the hatchery have indicated that the virus is not present in the hatchery and this evidence suggests that the fish have become infected following transfer to the marine environment. The IPN virus is endemic in the marine environment around the coast of Scotland and scientific evidence therefore suggests that any vector such as wild fish, species cohabiting with farmed fish, plankton, crustaceans, birds or mammals could be the source of infection.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is taking to prevent further outbreaks of infectious pancreatic necrosis within the wild trout and salmon populations in Northern Ireland. 
Scientific evidence suggests that removal of the source of infection in farm fish means that the infection does not persist in wild populations. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has used its powers under the Diseases of Fish Act (Northern Ireland) 1967 to make Infected Waters Orders declaring the fish farms infected with the infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN) virus to be infected areas and providing the Department with the power to take such measures to prevent, control and eradicate the virus.In respect of the fish farm located in inland waters the Department has used its powers to direct the occupier to depopulate, clean down and disinfect the farm. The Department also directed that the farm remain fallow for a period of six weeks prior to restocking following which further sampling will be undertaken as a precautionary measure.In respect of the fish farm located in the marine environment the Department has used its powers to prohibit all movements of fish to and from the farm except under the authority of a licence issued by the Department. The Department has also introduced a number of precautionary measures at the infected area for the purpose of controlling the spread of the virus and is undertaking regular inspections of the area to ensure that these measures are being implemented.Although the Department has no powers to prevent imports of live fish from areas in which IPN virus is present providing the import is in accordance with EC Directive 91/67 (as amended) concerning the animal health conditions governing the placing on the market of aquaculture animals and products, the Department advises fish farmers of the risks of importing live fish from such areas and carries out rigorous testing on any such imports to determine whether the IPN virus is present. Should the presence of the IPN virus be detected it is the Department's policy to use its powers under the Diseases of Fish Act (Northern Ireland) 1967 to take the necessary measures to prevent, control and eradicate the virus.