Aquaculture in the region is expanding, diversifying and intensifying to become a major food producing sector. The spread of aquatic animal pathogens has directly led to serious disease outbreaks in the region, impacting on aquaculture productivity, livelihoods, trade and national economies. Such problems have also indirectly impacted on trade of aquatic animal products, within Asia, and between Asia and major trading partners.
Addressing aquatic animal health issues through pro-active cooperation is one of the key program areas of NACA, with the purpose of assisting members to reduce risks of aquatic animal diseases impacting on the livelihoods of aquaculture farmers, national economies, trade, environment and human health. NACA implements its programs throughout the region in partnership with governments, industry, NGO's, donors and development agencies.
Aquatic animal health is a core programme of the NACA Work Plan. With FAO and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and with regional and international expertise, guiding principles for responsible movement of aquatic animals and aquatic animal health management have been established. The guiding principles in the Asia Regional Technical Guidelines on Health management and the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals, was adopted as a regional strategy by 21 governments in the Asian region in the year 2000. The focus of the program will be on the implementation of the FAO/NACA Technical Guidelines on Health Management for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals which will involve developing and implementing projects at both national and regional levels and sharing of experiences and resources through regional and sub-regional cooperation in order to provide the required support for national level implementation of the Technical Guidelines. New issues such as food safety, emergence of new diseases in the region and continued introductions of exotics to the region, are being given special attention in the work program
The aquatic animal health programme of NACA presently being implemented in member countries are expected to result in the following: