Aquatic Animal Health Subprogram: subprogram conference ‘Emergency Disease Response Planning and Management’
CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory
Mark S. Crane
In Australia, aquaculture is undergoing a growth phase (approximately 18% p.a.) where the number of aquaculture facilities, as well as the number of aquatic animal species being cultured, is increasing. The current value of the aquaculture sector is placed at $800 million and is expected to increase to $2-3 billion over the next 10 years. As the industry expands and intensifies the risk of infectious disease outbreaks also increases and there is a need for a parallel increased level of research on these diseases (c.f. Federal Budget Initiative). As part of the R&D effort nationwide, there is a need for a scientific conference during which the key aquatic animal health specialists/researchers/managers can convene and discuss current and future aquatic animal health issues and resolutions. In addition, the development of World Trade Organisation agreements on freedom of trade between countries is seeing an increase in the use of aquatic animal disease as a de facto trade barrier and increasing demands on exporting countries to demonstrate freedom from diseases of concern. The issue of Canadian exports of salmon to Australia and the national white spot survey of prawns and crabs are recent Australian examples. The demand of Australia by our trading partners for demonstrated competence in surveillance and monitoring is going to require a much greater investment by Australia in training of expertise, standardisation of diagnostic techniques and development of new methodology to back nationwide surveillance and monitoring programs. None of this activity will happen unless we foster a team approach by the limited numbers of individuals working in the aquatic animal disease disciplines. The development of AQUAPLAN and the Federal Budget Initiative has placed Australia at the forefront of aquatic animal disease management. An opportunity exists to capitalise on these initiatives and to value-add to planned outputs. It is proposed that the Scientific Advisory Committee of the FRDC Aquatic Animal Health Subprogram plan, organise and lead a 3-day scientific conference entitled, ‘Emergency Disease Planning and Management’, the core activity of which will be reports/scientific presentations on current projects funded by the Health Subprogram. In addition to these presentations, there is a need to highlight other aquatic health research, methodological and policy issues which may be of current or potential, future concern to Australia and which impact on emergency disease management. This conference will provide a forum for communication of project outputs, for critical review of aquatic animal health R&D currently undertaken in Australia, and will allow full discussion of the research and provide feed-back to the Principal Investigators of Subprogram projects. In this way, projects will benefit from receiving input from a relatively large number of researchers from a broad range of backgrounds. Potential future projects would be identified. In addition, an international expert with first-hand experience in management/eradication of an exotic aquatic animal disease could be invited to lead a discussion on a special topic relevant to emergency disease planning and management.
1. Plan, organise and lead a Scientific Conference on ‘Emergency Disease Response Planning and Management’
2. Produce a Proceedings of the Scientific Conference on CD Rom
The 1st FRDC Aquatic Animal Health Subprogram Scientific Conference was held at the Four Points Hotel, Sheraton Eastern Beach, Geelong, 8-10 October 2003. Over 40 representatives from Commonwealth and State Government agencies, from universities and other academic institutions, and from supporting industries, as well as private consultants gathered to discuss the conference topic ‘emergency disease response planning and management’. An international expert, Dr Ron Stagg Deputy CEO FRS Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen was the Keynote Speaker.
The conference was planned and organised by staff from the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, assisted and supported by the FRDC AAH Subprogram Steering Committee and Scientific Advisory Committee.
Proceedings of the scientific conference are available as appendix 6 of this report.
Keywords: Aquatic animal health; conference; emergency disease response