Aquatic animal health

Monitoring and management of aquatic animal health is important in many situations including the aquaculture industry, in ornamental species and also for wild populations of fish and shellfish.

Health management is a critical issue in the aquaculture industry, as intensive culture of animals and plants (both on land and in the water) can increase the likelihood of disease. A disease outbreak can devastate farmed populations and severely impact the short-term profitability and even long term viability of aquaculture businesses.

Those who keep ornamental fish and invertebrates for a hobby also frequently confront disease issues, and need to be scrupulous in managing the health of their animals and preventing any diseases that do occur from spreading to other aquaria or even the wild through transfer of sick animals or contaminated water and materials. Outbreaks of disease also occur in the wild, where they can cause unsightly and unhealthy fish kills or even endanger populations of certain native species.

In all cases, a quick response is essential to enable correct diagnosis of the problem and to allow for appropriate measures to be taken, whether this be quarantine, treatment and/or euthanasia of the affected population.

NSW DPI works on preventing the spread of diseases from one area to another through controls on the movement of infected stock and other quarantine measures; organising responses to aquatic animal health emergencies; assisting industry to improve aquatic animal health management; conducting surveillance for key diseases including QX oyster disease, Pacific oyster mortality syndrome, red spot disease and bass nodavirus; researching disease impacts and resistance; and representing NSW in national policy and technical groups that deal with aquatic animal health.

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