Regional cooperation on aquatic animal health

Tilapia lake virus (TiLV) is an emerging virus that causes syncytial hepatitis of tilapia with mortalities of up to 90%. Recent disease outbreaks in Thai tilapia farms have been associated with high cumulative mortalities and histopathological features typical of SHT. Infection has now been confirmed. The semi-nested RT-PCR protocol described here may be used freely for non-commercial applications to detect TiLV. The authors urge laboratories in Asia to test for TiLV when abnormal tilapia mortality occurs.

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Projects

Development of regional code of practice for movement of aquatic organisms in the lower Mekong basin

The objective of this project was to develop an agreed code of practice for the transboundary movement of aquatic organisms that feeds into the fisheries management strategy for the lower Mekong basin. The risks of unregulated movements include the introduction of disease agents, unwanted or invasive species and of compromising the genetic integrity of local populations. The code of practice provides guidance on risk management and mitigation measures be taken into account for live aquatic animal imports or other transfers that are part of the established commercial practice, or those related to scientific study at research facilities. The code addresses impacts relating to the movement of both exotic and indigenous species.

The code was developed in consultation with the fisheries line agencies of MRC member countries and through a regional consultation workshop that was held from 3-4 November 2014. Development of the code was funded by the Mekong River Commission.

About the Aquatic Animal Health Programme

Healthy shrimp

The Aquatic Animal Health Programme assists members to reduce the risks of aquatic animal disease impacting the livelihoods of farmers, national economies, trade, environment and human health by:

  • Improving regional cooperation in aquatic animal health and welfare Developing and implementing national strategies on aquatic animal health.
  • Improving surveillance, reporting and response to disease emergencies.
  • Promoting harmonisation of diagnostic procedures and risk assessment.
  • Widespread promotion of better aquatic animal health management practices at the farm level.

Key activities

  • Coordinating the annual meeting of the Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health and bringing regional issues to the attention of global standard setting bodies such as the Office International des Epizooties.
  • Establishment and expansion of a three tier shared regional resource base in aquatic animal health
  • Development of farm-level health management tools for key aquaculture commodities
  • Supporting regional disease surveillance and reporting
  • Strengthening aquatic animal health capacity and biosecurity in the region
  • Facilitating harmonisation in disease diagnostic techniques
  • Developing resource material in support of disease diagnosis and surveillance

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