Regional proficiency testing program for aquatic animal disease diagnostic laboratories in Asia-Pacific

This is the report of the first workshop of the Regional proficiency testing program for aquatic animal disease diagnostic laboratories in Asia-Pacific, held from 25-26 July 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand.

There is a strong need for improved aquatic animal disease laboratory diagnostic capability across Asia—the region that produces most of the world’s aquatic animal products. This capability is required to facilitate the sanitary safety of trade in aquatic animal products and to ensure countries can detect potentially damaging transboundary diseases. The need for improved diagnostic capability is widely agreed and documented but few activities have made significant or lasting impact on this issue at the regional level.

Laboratory proficiency testing is an important mechanism for laboratories to test and improve diagnostic capabilities, and participation in a recognised program is usually a requirement for formal laboratory accreditation. There is currently very limited or no access to proficiency testing programs for aquatic animal health laboratories in Asia. In the report of their 2010 meeting, the Regional Advisory Group for Aquatic Animal Health (an advisory group to NACA) provided a status report on the implementation of the Asia Regional Technical Guidelines. In their report, the advisory group noted that ad hoc proficiency testing programs have been run (for a limited selection of diseases and countries) but that there is limited or no access to on-going laboratory proficiency testing programs.

This project will establish a regional laboratory proficiency testing program for aquatic animal diseases of significance to the region. The program will provide access to proficiency testing services from an accredited provider (the Australian National Quality Assurance Program; ANQAP) and will draw on the expertise of the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) to develop required testing reagents and materials for the program. Below are the general objectives of the programme:

  • To strengthen Asia’s regional capability to diagnose important aquatic animal diseases that impact on trade, industry sustainability and/or productivity.
  • To train participating laboratory personnel in diagnostic standards, and proficiency testing procedures, and to provide technical assistance to improve laboratory performance.
  • To establish a laboratory proficiency testing programme that meets regional needs and which can be accessed following completion of the project.

The first project activity of the programme is this preparatory Workshop hosted by NACA, to train participants on diagnostic standards, proficiency testing procedures, laboratory accreditation and to reach agreement on the panel of tests to be included in the program.

The workshop was o-organised by DAFF, CSIRO, ANQAP and NACA. Forty-five participants attended the workshop, representing 43 aquatic animal disease diagnostic laboratories from 13 Asia-Pacific countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Resource persons were experts from DAFF Australia, CSIRO, ANQAP, NACA and OIE.


Publisher: Australian Government, ANQAP, CSIRO and NACA

Rights: Creative Commons Attribution.


Workshop and conference proceedings

NACA frequently organises technical workshops and consultations on aspects of aquaculture. The proceedings of such meetings are made available for free download. Audio and video recordings of technical presentations are also available for some meetings (please see the podcast section).