International and national biosecurity strategies in aquatic animal health.
With a growing global human population and an increasing demand for food protein, aquatic animal protein has become an increasingly important resource. In several geographic areas, wild stocks have been severely overfished, increasing the demands on aquaculture. In response, aquaculture production has dramatically risen over the last 30 years. Movement of live aquatic animals, within and between countries, for aquaculture and the ornamental trade, is an important route of disease spread. Over the last decades, many aquatic animal diseases have emerged to have a substantial economic impact on aquaculture, sometimes with ecological consequences. Effective biosecurity strategies provide protection to both farmed and wild aquatic animal populations by minimising the risk of introducing pathogens and minimising the consequences if the pathogen was introduced. We provide an overview of international, supranational and national biosecurity strategies for aquatic animal health. The role of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) as the reference organisation for the development of standards relating to international trade in animals and animal products is described and an overview of the OIE standards provided; Europe and England and Wales are used as examples to illustrate how the international standards are implemented at supranational and national level other important elements of biosecurity not defined by international standards are described. At the national level, the paper describes and discusses the role of the competent authority, instruments to prevent the introduction of exotic diseases and limit the impact of endemic diseases; it highlights the relevance of import risk assessments and the importance for awareness of international developments. At farm level, it summarises available standards and the role of farm biosecurity plans. Challenges to biosecurity strategies at the various levels are discussed.