Health and welfare

The Aquatic Animal Health Programme assists members to reduce the risks of aquatic animal disease impacting the livelihoods of farmers, national economies, trade, environment and human health by:

  • Improving regional cooperation in aquatic animal health and welfare.
  • Developing and implementing national strategies on aquatic animal health.
  • Improving surveillance, reporting and response to disease emergencies.
  • Promoting harmonisation of diagnostic procedures and risk assessment.
  • Widespread promotion of better aquatic animal health management practices at the farm level.

Key activities

Key activities of the programme include:

  • Convening the annual meeting of the Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health, coordinating the Quarterly Aquatic Animal Disease Report and bringing regional issues to the attention of global standard setting bodies such as the Office International des Epizooties.
  • Establishment and expansion of a three-tier shared resource in aquatic animal health.
  • Development of farm-level health management tools for key aquaculture commodities.
  • Supporting regional disease surveillance and reporting.
  • Strengthening aquatic animal health and biosecurity in the region.
  • Facilitating harmonisation in disease diagnostic techniques.
  • Developing resource material in support of diagnosis and surveillance.


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Subject tags

A collection of subject tags relating to technical matters.

In this collection

Quick fish sampling for disease diagnostics: Wet mount sampling guide (for ectoparasites & fungi)

Parasitic and fungal infestations represent one of the major challenges to sustainable aquaculture. As part of routine health checks or during abnormal mortality events, screening for ectoparasites and fungi in tilapia, carp and catfish production systems is important to minimize the risk of their introduction, transmission and spread. WorldFish and partners developed this quick guide for ectoparasites and fungi assessment under a light compound microscope. Standard wet-mount specimens consist of gill biopsy (gill clip), fin biopsy (fin clip) and skin scraping (mucus smears). Additional smears may be included in the presence of external lesions/ulcers (eye, skin, mouth). A free online training course on wet mount sampling is also available via

Quick fish sampling for disease diagnostics: Microbiome sampling guide

Interactions between microbes associated with the host, other organisms present in the system and the environment itself are increasingly recognised to contribute to aquatic animal diseases. Those microbiome assemblages and their functions are extremely diverse and poorly understood. They vary over time in water and between host tissues and organs.

High-throughput sequencing technologies (multi-omics) and bioinformatics analysis of complex microbiomes can provide biological insights offering new opportunities for early detection of pathogens and disease mitigation strategies. Similarly, such approaches are being applied to study the effect of locally available ingredients for use in fish feeds and their impact on fist gut microbiome and the health of the pond environment—optimising the growing conditions on-farm.

WorldFish and partners developed this quick guide for microbiome sampling from fish skin/gills mucus swabs, internal organs (e.g. gut) and water samples from ponds, hatcheries tanks, river, and canals.

A free online training course on microbiome sampling is also available on

Quick fish sampling for disease diagnostics: Blood sampling guide

Fish blood sampling requires specific techniques and skills that are fundamental for all kinds of analyses such as haematology, chemistry analysis, parasitology/bacteriology investigation, antibody titration, molecular diagnostic and many others. WorldFish and partners developed this quick guide on blood sampling from fish for: (1) blood serum isolation, (2) blood plasma isolation, (3) blood DNA extraction, (4) blood RNA extraction, or for (4) blood smear preparation on microscope slide. A free online course on blood sampling is also available via

Reported Aquatic Animal Diseases in the Asia-Pacific Region during the Third Quarter of 2023

With the implementation of the new aquatic animal disease reporting in the Asia Pacific region from January 2021, and in lieu of the published QAAD Reports (last issue published was 4th quarter of 2020), NACA is publishing reported aquatic animal diseases submitted by countries in the Asia-Pacific region. This report covers the third quarter of 2023 and the original and updated reports can be accessed from the QAAD page

Quick fish sampling for disease diagnostics: Bacteriology sampling guide

Bacterial diseases represent one of the major impediments to sustainable aquaculture. Routine screening for bacterial pathogens at various life stages of tilapia, carp and catfish a are important to minimise their introduction into production systems and before they can cause serious diseases and spread to new areas. During an abnormal mortality event, routine sampling for bacteriology from moribund animals should take place rapidly as part of the disease diagnostic investigation. Bacteriology is the culture and identification of bacteria growing under specific conditions. WorldFish and partners developed this quick guide on fish bacteriology sampling. Standard bacteriology is a swab taken from the caudal or anterior kidney and inoculated onto agar (e.g. Tryptone soya agar) to screen for systemic bacterial infection. Additional swabs may be included in the presence of external or internal lesions/ulcers (e.g., eye, skin, mouth, liver, spleen, brain). A free online training course on bacteriology sampling is also available via

Quick fish sampling for disease diagnostics: Molecular diagnostics sampling guide

Major pathogens of fish and other farmed aquatic animals include bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. These can lead to serious infectious diseases and losses representing one of the major limitation to sustainable aquaculture. Routine health checks for key priority pathogens of tilapia, carp and catfish—will vary with geographies—are important to minimize the risk of their introduction, transmission and spread. On suspicion of an unknown disease during abnormal mortalities, it is routine for the investigators to collect clinical samples from moribund fish for molecular and virology diagnostics. Molecular diagnostics are techniques used to amplify small DNA/RNA sequence(s) that are unique to a particular pathogen to ascertain their presence or absence. Virology is a branch of microbiology that study viruses and viral diseases. WorldFish and partners developed this quick fish sampling guide for molecular and virology diagnostics. Standard specimens for general molecular and virology health evaluation include kidney, liver, spleen, brain and gills. Other tissues may be collected.

Quick fish sampling for disease diagnostics: Histology sampling guide

During investigation of an abnormal mortality event, fish tissues (or biopsies) for histopathology analysis are collected for disease diagnosis. Histology consists in the preparation of thin, stained tissue sections for microscopic examination to study their structure and function. Histopathology is the study of disease and disease processes by looking at the change in the anatomy or anomalies from cells, tissues and organs as seen through a microscope. WorldFish and partners developed this quick fish-sampling guide for histology. Standard biopsy specimens for histological examination consists of fixed sections of brain, gill, heart, intestine, kidney, liver and spleen. Other tissues may be collected in the presence of external lesions/ulcers (e.g., eye, skin, muscle). A free online training course on histology sampling is also available via

NACA Newsletter, Vol. XXXIX, January-March 2024

In this issue:

  • Second High-Level Meeting on Aquaculture Transformation in Asia and the Pacific Region.
  • Reported aquatic animal diseases in the Asia-Pacific region during the second quarter of 2023.
  • Expert Workshop on Aquaculture Effluent Management.
  • Larvi 2024: First announcement and call for papers.
  • Tuskfish CMS 2.0.7 released.

Aquaculture Asia Magazine, October-December 2023

In this issue:

  • How welfare assessments of farmed white leg shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) can benefit the whole industry
  • Thai Fish Project: A path towards a sustainable aquaculture
  • Nationally-recognised ornamental fish breeder Kripan Sarkar - a man to remember
  • Tilapia parvovirus disease: An emerging threat for the tilapia aquaculture industry
  • Naihati fish seed market as state-of-the-art for sustainable support services to fish growers, buyers and traders
  • NACA Newsletter

Thai Fish Project: A path towards a sustainable aquaculture

The Thai Fish Project began in 2019, and involves around 200 research members and multiple institutions in Thailand and Japan. The project aims to promote domestication and wise use of two Thai native aquatic species, namely the Asian sea bass Lates calcarifer and banana shrimp Penaeus merguiensis through increasing productivity, reducing the impact of infectious diseases, and preserving genetic resources. The project also encompasses several specific research topics to ensure that it comprehensively addresses the concerns on safeguarding the food security and enhancing the environmental sustainability as much as possible. This article describes the main research activities, outputs and future expectations of the Thai Fish Project.