Since 2009, tilapia aquaculture has been threatened by mass die-offs in Israel and Ecuador, which have been caused by a novel Orthomyxo-like (RNA) virus named Tilapia lake virus. This has been reported as a newly emerging virus that causes syncytial hepatitis of tilapia. An emergency regional consultation was held in Guangzhou, China from 27-28 September 2017 to discuss and plan actions on the overall prevention and management of this disease.

IDRC and the National University of Singapore (NUS) are offering fellowships for Southeast Asian entrepreneurs, leaders in business, government, and civil society who want to better understand Southeast Asian value chains. The four-day program from 19-22 March 2018 will give participants a useful toolkit of ideas to take full advantage of a connected ASEAN Economic Community. Women leaders and participants from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam are especially encouraged to apply.

A regional consultation on aquaculture feed production and use in Asia-Pacific was held from 7-9 March 2017. The consultation reviewed the current situation of aquaculture feed production and use, sourcing of ingredients, policy and research needs. This collection contains audio recordings of the technical presentations made by experts, international organisations, the private sector and governments in the region. The report of the consultation is in press and will be made available for download in due course.

Recently, we released a warning of TiLV in Thailand and an improved RT-PCR detection methodology. The Fish Health Platform in Centex, BIOTEC/Mahidol University has also obtained positive test results for TiLV in other Asian countries where it has not yet been reported. Many countries have been translocating tilapia fry/fingerlings prior to and even after the description of TiLV. We have prepared a map listing countries with confirmed reports of TiLV infections and 43 other countries that we believe have imported infected fish.

In this issue:

The 15th meeting of the Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health; a regional consultation on responsible production and use of feed in aquaculture; a report on the Giant Prawn 2017 conference; a preview of the new NACA website; and new initiatives on a very serious emerging issue - reducing the human and animal health risks from development of anti-microbial resistance in the aquaculture industry.

The development of resistant strains of disease-causing microorganisms is an important health issue of global concern. When microbes such as bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses become resistant to antimicrobial substances, the diseases they may cause become more difficult or impossible to treat. Resistance is developed by the indiscriminate use of antimicrobials and places human health at risk. The discovery of antibiotics revolutionised medicine, creating a belief that a 'magic bullet' had finally been found to control bacterial diseases. Antibiotics, a class of antimicrobial agents, kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria, but they have no significant effect on other types of microorganisms such as viruses.

It is estimated that around 1,061,173. tonnes of commercial aquaculture feeds were consumed on 2016. The aquaculture feed milling industry in the Philippines is presently  over capacity, based on the above-estimated feed requirement. The current primary law on animal feeds, which also covers aquaculture feeds, is under legislative review. Animal feeds ingredients standards are defined under administrative orders. Quality standards for finished aquaculture feeds are specified under the Philippine National Standards on Aquaculture Feeds (PNS/BAFPS 84: 2010).

The Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health meets annually to discuss regional health issues including emerging disease threats. This report includes a review of regional disease status circa 2016, global and regional disease reporting arrangements, global issues and standards, progress in implementation of the the Regional Technical Guidelines on Health management for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals, identification and designation of regional aquatic animal health resources and regional and international cooperation.

The 15th meeting was held from 21-23 November 2016, in Bangkok, Thailand. A special session was held on addressing the use of anti-microbial substances in aquaculture and the development of anti-microbial resistance. This is an issue of global concern for both human and animal health, and it had been addressed by a resolution at FAO’s Thirty-ninth Conference in June 2015. The meeting reviewed in detail the status of aquatic animal disease in the region.

The 71st edition of the Quarterly Aquatic Animal Disease Report contains information from 15 governments. The foreword provides information about the 10th Symposium on Diseases in Asian Aquaculture.