07/08/2013 09:50 EDT | Updated 09/07/2013 05:12 EDT

P.E.I. fish lab loses international credentials

The fish health lab at Charlottetown's Atlantic Veterinary College has lost its designation as a testing centre for infectious salmon anemia from the World Organization for Animal Health, the Canadian Press is reporting.

The lab came under scrutiny in 2011 when it said it found evidence of infectious salmon anemia in B.C. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said researcher Fred Kibenge’s results weren’t corroborated and it sent its results to the World Organization for Animal Health, known as the OIE.

Researchers say they are stunned by the move, as the lab is one of only two in the world recognized by the world body to test for the salmon virus. Critics say the government went after Kibenge’s work to protect B.C.'s salmon exports.

Rick Routledge, a professor at Simon Fraser University, says the loss of the special status might put a chill on research.

The OIE audited the lab last August, and AVC dean Don Reynolds said deficiencies were found. A report recommended the lab's designation be suspended, Reynolds told CBC News in November, but that recommendation still needed at that time to go the OIE director.

The OIE says inadequacies were found and the decision to suspend the designation was not political.