Diseases of aquatic animals – fish, shrimp, mollusks, etc and ASEAN biosecurity measures for managing risks of aquatic animal disease outbreaks have received less attention than livestock diseases such as avian flu. This is despite the fact that ASEAN is a major exporter of aquatic animal products annually worth several billion US$. Epidemic spread and devastating impacts of aquatic animal diseases such as epizootic ulcerative syndrome (EUS) in freshwater fish; viral nervous necrosis (VNN) in marine fish; white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) in penaeid shrimps; and the emerging Taura syndrome virus (TSV) in Penaeus vannamei; in ASEAN have clearly demonstrated the vulnerability of aquaculture systems to infectious disease emergencies. Widespread mass mortalities of koi and common carp in Indonesia associated with the international spread of koi herpes virus (KHV) re-emphasized the impact that emerging diseases can have on local economies and the livelihoods of poor people.
In 2000, 21 Asian countries prepared the FAO/NACA ‘Asia Regional Technical Guidelines on Health Management for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals’. In 2001, the 9th Meeting of the ASEAN Working Group on Fisheries held in September 2001 in Bali, Indonesia, recommended adoption by ASEAN of these guidelines as a framework for improving aquatic animal health management in ASEAN members.
The Technical Guidelines identify six major components which need to be in place and operating effectively in trading countries if the risk of international disease spread within the region is to be reduced. These components are: (a) Disease surveillance and reporting, (b) Import risk analysis, (c) Zoning, (d) Contingency planning, (e) Health certification and quarantine measures and (f) Disease diagnostics. These six components are underpinned by international agreements, standards and guidelines and require appropriate national legislation, policy and capacity within the region for effective implementation. ASEAN countries require collective actions to address such constraints and improve biosecurity for aquatic animal diseases, harmonized with international sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) measures, both for trade within ASEAN, and with ASEAN’s trading partners.
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