Regional cooperation for improved biosecurity and efficient aquatic animal health management in the Asia-Pacific

The Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA), through its Regional Aquatic Animal Health (AAH) Programme and in collaboration with key partner agencies, has successfully implemented projects in the region for improved biosecurity and efficient aquatic animal health management. The AAH programme is the longest-running and considered as the flagship programme of NACA. The programme was initiated through a technical cooperation project by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) wherein the Asia Regional Technical Guidelines on Health Management for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals (TG) and the Beijing Consensus and Implementation Strategy was developed and implemented. It was this TG that guided NACA’s AAH programme in the implementation of important AAH projects in the region, and the establishment of the Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health in 2002. At present, the AAH Programme of NACA works closely with national (Department of Fisheries Thailand; Australian Department of Agriculture (DA-Australia)), regional (Aquaculture Department of Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center), and international organizations (World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE); FAO). Its main objective is to reduce risks of aquatic animal disease impacting on livelihoods of aquaculture farmers, national economies, trade and human health.

Since the establishment of NACA’s AAH Programme in 1998, the Australian government strongly supported major activities in the region through: DA-Australia (formerly Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry); Australian Center for International Agricutural Research (ACIAR), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and Australian National Quality Assurance Program (ANQAP). The support of these organizations/institutes in emergency biosecurity and aquatic animal health issues in the region, has made important impacts in the overall management of emerging problems.

Transboundary aquatic animal diseases are one of the major concerns for establishing biosecurity measures and strengthening of aquatic animal health management capacity in the region. Several transboundary aquatic animal diseases have swept the region over the past 25 years which have caused massive economic and social losses. These include spread and outbreaks of epizootic ulcerative syndrome (EUS) in freshwater fish, viral nervous necrosis (VNN) in marine fish, viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) in marine and freshwater fish, and several viral diseases in shrimps (white spot disease (WSD), white tail disease (WTD), yellow head disease (YHD)) . More recently, infectious myonecrosis (IMN) and acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND) are seriously affecting shrimp aquaculture in Indonesia (IMN) and China, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam (AHPND). The spread of these transboundary aquatic animal diseases clearly demonstrates the vulnerability of the aquaculture industry, as well as the wild fish populations, to disease emergence where impacts have been exacerbated by the lack of effective preparedness and response when diseases emerge. Throughout the years, collaboration between NACA and Australian institutes has addressed most of these transboundary disease emergencies including WSD and AHPND in cultured shrimps and KHV outbreaks in common carps. Recently, a regional program on Laboratory Proficiency Testing for PCR diagnosis of important fish and shrimp diseases in the region has been launched and presently in progress. Details of these important projects will be presented.


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World Aquaculture Adelaide: Special session on regional cooperation for improved biosecurity

A special session on Regional Cooperation for Improved Biosecurity was held at the World Aquaculture Adelaide 2014 conference, from 7-11 June. The session discussed i) regional cooperation in biosecurity, ii) dealing with emerging diseases, focussing on acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease, and iii) domestication programmes and their implications for genetic diversity, disease susceptibility and resistance.