Archive for the 'fish health procedures' Category

Nov 09 2012

Heading off for our Annual Study Tour to Japan

We are heading to Japan Monday morning for our annual trip. Looking forward to meeting old friends and making new ones. I’ve included the outline for the formal portion of the trip . Some may find it interesting. We will also be visiting the Takashi Amano Gallery as well as the Ring of Fire Aquarium in Osaka as well as the Suda Aquarium in Kobe. We’ll have the opportunity to tour behind-the-scenes and meet withe directors, curators , veterinary and husbandry staff. We’ll probably also visit the Hiroshima Memorial as well as the temple complex in Narita.

STUDY TRIP: JAPAN 2012
HEALTH MANAGEMENT WITHIN JAPANESE KOI INDUSTRY
&
DEVELOPING ADEQUATE HEALTH MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS FOR JAPANESE KOI IMPORTED INTO THE UNITED STATES

NOVEMBER 12-21, 2012
Total CE credits proposed: 22 CE Credits

Lead Instructor: Tim Miller-Morgan, DVM
Extension Veterinarian – Aquatic Species
Lead, Aquatic Animal Health Program
Oregon Sea Grant and OSU College of Veterinary Medicine
Oregon State University

Co-Instructors:
Mr. Tony Prew, All Japan Koi, Hillsboro, OR, USA
Mr. Hoshino Masaharu, Koda Yorijo, Niigata, Japan

GOALS: The primary goal of this trip is to familiarize U.S. veterinarians with the Japanese koi industry and the health management practices within the Japanese koi Industry. Further, we will discuss opportunities and barriers to developing health management programs for imported Japanese koi with U.S. based importers and some the characteristics of the high-end U.S. koi hobbyist and their motivations for participating in the hobby and their information seeking strategies. Finally, we will participate in a group project to develop the concept and basic plans for a non-profit fish hospital.

Program Sessions:
1. Farm Visits – Niigata, Chiba and Hiroshima. We will visit a number of small family farms in the Niigata region of Japan and two large farms located just outside of Hiroshima and another outside of Chiba. (15 hours)
a. Farms in Niigata: Shinoda Yorijo, Yagozen, Marusaka Yorijo, Koda Yorijjo, Hosokai Yorijo, Suda Yogyojo. Farm in Hiroshima: Konishi Koi Farm. Farm in Chiba: Tani Farms
b. Instructors: Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan, Mr. Tony Prew and Mr. Hoshino Masaharu
c. Expected outcomes:

  • Observe standard koi handling practices
  • Observe and discuss basic biosecurity protocols related to pathogen exclusion and pathogen containment on and between farms.
  • Discuss common diagnostic procedures and infrastructure available to the koi farmers.
  • Discuss common treatment methodologies utilized by koi farmers in Japan.

2. ZNA 48th International Koi Show, Kobe, Japan – We will attend this koi show and spend time observing some of the highest quality show koi in the world. Mr. Prew a recognized expert on koi varieties and quality will lead this session. (2 hours)
a. Instructors: Mr. Tony Prew and Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan, DVM
b. Expected outcomes:

  • Review the common varieties of koi
  • Discuss assessment of koi quality including: body conformation, color, pattern, deportment and defects.
  •  Observe the common biosecurity protocols utilized at Japanese koi shows.

3. Principles of biosecurity for the koi industry (1 hour)
a. Instructor: Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan
b. Description: Biosecurity consists of the practices and procedures used to prevent the introduction, emergence, spread, and persistence of infectious agents and disease within and around fish production and holding facilities. Furthermore, these practices help eliminate conditions that can enhance disease susceptibility among the fish. In short, biosecurity precautions are put in place to exclude and contain fish pathogens. Biosecurity practices are applicable to all levels of the koi industry: producers, importers, retailers, and hobbyists. Proper use of biosecurity measures will help prevent introduction of infectious disease in a fish facility, and will also help minimize the risk of diseases being passed from producer to hobbyist. Such practices will lead to a healthier and more sustainable industry since decreased or reduced disease leads to decreased losses among broodstock and grow out fish lots, decreased financial output to treat or manage disease outbreaks and improved overall quality of fish for the export or the domestic market.

As import-export regulations for koi become increasingly stringent on a global level, veterinarians may be called upon to assist koi facilities in the planning and implementation of biosecurity programs. We will present a brief overview of the major considerations that should be taken into account when developing a biosecurity program for a koi facility.

Basic biosecurity procedures are uniform across the industry, but the biosecurity plan will be tailored to meet the special needs of each business. As the scope, needs, and finances of the business change, the facility manager will modify and adjust biosecurity measures accordingly, yet maintain the basic tenets of good biosecurity practices.

Designing and implementing biosecurity practices can be simplified if we consider some basic themes: pathogen exclusion, pathogen containment, and basic best health practices. We will consider the elements of each, and show how these elements will allow you to hinder access of pathogens to a facility, control the spread of pathogens that may emerge, and promote high health and disease resistance among the fish in the facility. The overlap of practices addressing these themes will become evident.

4. Development of Best Health Practices for the U.S. Based Koi Dealer and Importer. Opportunities and Barriers for the veterinary practitioner.
(1 hour)
a. Instructor: Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan
b. Description: This Best Health Practices Program (BHPP) is a new initiative aimed at helping control the spread of disease within ornamental pond fish retail facilities and to their customers. Project KHV provided initial support for this project, it is a charitable committee formed in 2004 by the Associated Koi Clubs of America, a nation-wide umbrella group of over 100 Koi clubs. The initial goal of this project was to focus on controlling the spread of Koi herpes virus (KHV) within the US. However, it became readily apparent that a true best health practices program should be broader in scope and address the risks associated with a wide range of common infectious diseases of ornamental pond fish.

The need for such a best health practices program was validated through a national survey of ornamental pond fish retailers and veterinary practitioners actively involved in pet fish medicine.

The BHPP has been designed and written by a group of aquatic animal health professionals. The BHPP is anticipated to operate as follows: Ornamental pond fish retailers will have access to the BHPP implementation guidelines through web-based or face-to-face workshops. Interested retailers may opt to participate in this voluntary program. Trained veterinary practitioners will be able to contract with these retailers to help implement the BHPP and assist with ongoing quality control, quality assurance, health monitoring and disease surveillance. In the future it is possible that compliant retailers may be issued an annual certificate by their veterinarian indicating program compliance. The veterinarian will continue to verify the dealership’s adherence to the program by requiring written Standard Operating Procedures that include ongoing reporting and disease surveillance:

• Facility configuration,
• Biosecurity,
• Employee training,
• Record keeping,
• Regular dealer reports on quarantine,
• Immediate reporting of suspected diseases of concern,
• Appropriate corrective action as required, plus
• Periodic site inspections.

Participating dealers would agree to quarantine all incoming Koi for a specific period of time and at a specific temperature necessary for a number of common diseases to be revealed. Further, they agree to health screening of fish in each fish lot arriving at the quarantine facility. If screening procedures indicate no evidence of disease or asymptomatic carriers, the fish are released for sale. If disease is suspected, the partnered veterinarian directs and monitors the dealer’s investigation and corrective action.

An online course and accompanying wet lab will also be available to those interested in becoming certified BHPP veterinarians. One of the other goals of this program is to build further opportunities for veterinarians within the ornamental fish hobby and industry.

For Hobbyists, the advantages are obvious. Customers would have a reduced risk of purchasing diseased fish from retail facilities.

For Dealers, the advantages include:

• The BHP helps prevent disease from entering other portions of their facilities beyond quarantine,
• Being proactive and adopting reasonable self-regulation may preclude or at least forestall mandatory government intervention into this problem,
• It offers an opportunity to establish a working relationship with qualified veterinarians who can provide additional valuable fish-health advice and services, and
• Dealers can favorably differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

It is important to note that the BHPP does not certify any fish as being disease free. It is a best management program designed to minimize the likelihood of an infected fish leaving a dealer’s facility.

The authors group developed the preliminary BHPP and an associated online training program for veterinarians. Six koi dealers from across the US and four veterinarians participated in this beta-test of the program to assess the feasibility, practicality and effectiveness of the overall program. Feedback was provided throughout the implementation process and after the participating veterinarians had determined each facility had achieved compliance.

We will discuss the outcomes of this beta-test as well as some of the opportunities for practicing veterinarians and pitfalls that can be associated with developing health management programs for this sector of the industry in the United States.

5. Characterizing the Koi Kichi – What makes the koi hobbyists tick, How do we reach them?, and How to we get compliance? (1 hour)
a. Instructor: Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan
b. Description: Hobby activities can be viewed through the lens of informal, free-choice learning. A wide range of hobbies combine fun and learning-intensive practices, and can contribute to scientific literacy. Hobby learning involves clear goal orientation, persistence and effort, and often results in more richly and strongly connected knowledge; traits highly valued in both in and out-of-school science learning. In this study, Koi hobbyists were sued as subjects to discover and explore hobbyists’ information-seeking strategies under different learning scenarios. We approached koi hobbyists’ learning about koi and their koi hobby in both quantitative and qualitative ways. We designed a Stage of Engagement Model to illustrate koi hobbyists’ engagement with their hobby, and adapted Falk and Dierking’s Contextual Model of Learning to explain how personal, socio-cultural and physical contextual factors affect koi hobbyists’ learning.

An instrument was developed to assess koi hobbyists’ experience with keeping koi, knowledge about the hobby, motivation/goals, interaction with other hobbyists, and the information-seeking strategies they used under different learning scenarios. This questionnaire was administered to koi hobbyist communities in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and online. Based on the quantitative analysis, the results supported the hypotheses that koi hobbyists chose different information-seeking strategies based on personal contextual factors such as previous experience, motivation and learning goals; socio-cultural contextual factors such as interactions with other koi hobbyists; and physical contextual factors such as the nature of the problems they encounter. Koi hobbyists also chose different information-seeking strategies based upon their stage of engagement with their hobby. The long-term potential of this study is to offer insights into how learners construct their knowledge by applying different learning strategies under different personal, socio-cultural and physical circumstances, and to provide a framework for the future study of other kinds of hobbies and hobbyists that will help to promote public scientific literacy.

The results of this work will be useful for the veterinary practitioner wishing to develop better communication with this unique client base. This work provides some valuable insights that are very useful in terms of understanding changing needs and information sources of the koi hobbyists as he/she moves through the hobby.

This work based upon the PhD Dissertation of Dr. Michael Liu, a former Senior Aquarist and Research Aquarist within the Aquatic Animal Health Program. He received his PhD in Science and Math Education/Free-Choice Learning.

6. Designing the Optimal Fish Hospital (roundtable discussion) (2 hours)
a. Instructor/Facilitators: Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan and Tony Prew
b. Description: Participants will discuss the key aspects and features necessary to develop a not-for-profit fish hospital serving both freshwater and saltwater clients. The final outcome of this roundtable will be a rough diagram of the facility as well as a basic equipment and services synopsis.
c. Expected outcomes:

  • Develop a list of basic services that could be offered at such a facility
  • Develop a strategy for staffing such a facility: Medical director, technicians, local clinicians
  • Rough floor plan for such a facility given the current footprint available and the existing structures (the land and some basic structures are in place.
  • Develop a basic equipment list for equipping such a facility.
  • Assess interest for further participation in this project and develop a communication strategy.

 

I will try to post a few comments and pictures as we progress on our trip.

 

Until later.

 

Dr. Tim

6 responses so far

Aug 13 2012

Save the Dates!! Two Educational Opportunities in Newport

The Aquatic Animal Health Program will be offering two seminars/workshops in the coming months that may be of interest to hobbyists and individuals working in the ornamental fish industry.

 

Emerging Issues in Aquatic Animal Health: Ornamental Fish

September 29, 2012

Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport, OR

Cost: $100.00

Registration online (click here)

Purpose: The goal of this regular seminar is to provide an opportunity for industry professionals and ornamental fish hobbyists to learn about emerging and current aquatic animal health issues that affect the industry and to receive updates about ongoing research related to these important issues.

 

Seminar topics and Speakers:

—Fish Stress, Pain and Welfare: What do we know and what can your do? – —Dr. Carl Schreck, Fish Stress Physiologist, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University

—Aquatic Invasive Species in the pet store and the classroom: Is it a problem? How can retailers help prevent the introduction of non-native aquatic animals?— – Dr. Sam Chan, Aquatic Ecosystem Health Specialist, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University

—What’s New with Koi Herpes Virus? – Dr. Ling Jin, Virologist, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University
—Mycobacteriosis, an ongoing issue within the ornamental fish industry: What have we learned about managing this disease? – Dr. Mike Kent, Fish Pathologist/Parasitologist, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University
—Bacterial disease and antibiotic resistance among imported ornamental fish: Should you worry? – Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan, Extension Veterinarian – Aquatic Species, Oregon Sea Grant, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University

 

 

Koi Health Basics: Seminar and Wet Lab

October 13, 2012

Hatfield Marine Science Center

Newport, OR

Cost: $100.00

Registration online (click here)

OVERVIEW: The purpose of the seminar and wet lab is to introduce the novice koi keeper to the basics of koi health including: the biology of koi health, disease recognition and prevention, quarantine, proper fish handling and the basic health evaluation.

Instructors:

—Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan, Extension Veterinarian – Aquatics
—Dr. Trace Petersen, Aquatic Veterinarian/Fish Pathologist
—Dr. Nadia Stegeman, Aquatic Veterinarian

 

 

 

 

 

 


No responses yet

Apr 10 2012

2012 Ornamental Fish Medicine Course, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Newport, Oregon

 

Just finished teaching 1 week intensive Ornamental Fish Medicine Course. Great group of 12 participants: 8 senior veterinary students from OSU, 2 professional aquarists (Oregon Coast Aquarium and Seattle Aquarium), 1 veterinarian from the SEattle Aquarium, and 1 colleague from India ( Dr. Anna Mercy, Kerala College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences). Great learning experience for all of us. Great exchanges during the lectures, labs, group projects and case studies. Looking forward to next year. Considering expanding to 2 weeks. Thanks to my co-instructors: Dennis Glaze, Dr. Jerry Heidel, Stu Clausen, and Dr. Anna Mercy.

 

Dr. Mercy is from Kerala College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, India. She participated in the course but was also kind enough to give two lectures. One lecture addressed the current status of the Indian ornamental fish industry and outreach work she has lead to train ornamental fish farmers. In the second lecture Dr. Mercy discussed some of the common health problems associated with collecting native broodstock  and breeding these fish in captivity. We recorded both of these lectures and you will be able to view them on our YouTube channel soon. I will post the links once the lectures have been posted.

 

Here’s the course outline for the course this year.

 

VMB 727
ORNAMENTAL FISH MEDICINE
April 2-6, 2012
Lead Instructor:
Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan, DVM
Oregon Sea Grant – Aquatic Animal Health
College of Veterinary Medicine
tim.miller-morgan@oregonstate.edu
Co-Instructors:
Dr. Jerry Heidel, DVM, PhD, DACVP, Cert. Fish Pathologist
Dennis Glaze, AAS – Aquarium Science
Stuart Clausen, BS, Cert. Aquarium Science

 

Recommended Texts:
o Wildgoose, W. 2001. BSAVA Manual of Ornamental Fish, Second Edition, BSAVA, Gloucester, UK 304p. Available through Amazon.com and Blackwell Publishing.
o Noga, E. 2010. Fish Disease Diagnosis and Treatment. Mosby, New York. Available through Amazon.com and Blackwell Publishing Roberts, H. 2010.
o Roberts, H. (2010) Fundamentals of Ornamental Fish Health, Wiley-Blackwell, New York. 229p.

 

MONDAY (We’ll start @ 0900)
AM (Old Library)
• Introduction
• Ornamental Fish: Essential Anatomy and Physiology and the Interface with the Captive Environment. (Old Library)
PM
• Clinical approach and procedures (Old Library)
• Laboratory: fish handling, sedation and common clinical procedures (West Wing – AAHTL)

 

TUESDAY
AM
• Laboratory: Review – Components water management systems (Dennis Glaze, West Wing – AAHTL)
• Life Support System Assessment (Old Library)
o Fish Health Cases I (Handout) – water management cases

PM
• Fish Necropsy and Dissection (Lab – TBA, Dr. Jerry Heidel)
• Laboratory: fish handling, sedation and common clinical procedures, cont. (West Wing – AAHTL)

• Evening Lecture – An Overview of the Indian Ornamental Fish Industry (Dr. Anna Mercy)

 

WEDNESDAY
AM
• Common Clinical Problems of Ornamental fish I (Old Library)
• Common Clinical Problems of Pet Fish II (Old Library)

PM

• Common Clinical Problems of Pet Fish II cont. (Old Library)
• Management and treatment of fish disease
• Laboratory: fish handling, sedation and common clinical procedures, cont. (West Wing – AAHTL)
o Fish Health Cases II (Handout) – Medical Cases

 

THURSDAY
AM
• Biosecurity and the Essential Principles of Fish Health Management (Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan)
• Collection, Transport and Acclimation of Ornamental Fish ( Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan)
• Handout Biosecurity consultation problems (Dr. Tim Miller-Morgan and Dennis Glaze)

PM
• Common Health Management Issues Associated with the Production of Native Indian Fish Species (Dr. Anna Mercy)
• Case Discussions I

 

FRIDAY
AM (Old Library)
• Laboratory:
o Assessing fish populations (Oregon Coast Aquarium)
o Handling, sedation and clinical examination of elasmobranchs (Stu Clausen, Oregon Coast Aquarium, Passages of the Deep)
PM (Old Library)
• Biosecurity Consultation problem (Old Library)
• Case Discussions II
• Evaluations

 

2 responses so far

Nov 10 2011

So what does Dr. Tim do at the Hatfield Marine Science Center? The lost radio show found!!

It has been quite awhile since I’ve posted. Here is a little interview from the past.

Marine Science Chat is a regular radio show in Newport that showcases individuals and work being done at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. These shows are also available as podcasts.

I  participated in one of these programs a number of months ago but the  file was lost foe a time. The interview is now available. So if you are interested in what I do at the HMSC have a listen.

I’m heading to Japan later today. Stay tuned for posts about this current trip.

One response so far

May 27 2011

Aquarama – One of the Premier Ornamental Fish Industry Trade Shows. Some thoughts and Observations.

I’m in Singapore, a wonderful city, attending Aquarama one of the major ornamental fish trade shows.

A panoramic view of Marine Bay, central Singapore

Aquarama is an annual trade show held at the Suntec Convention and trade center in Singapore. The show provides an opportunity for may segments of the industry to come together and network, see new products, conduct business, attend seminars and tour facilities.

The Trade Show

Dr. Tim Chatting with Scott Dowd from the New England Aquarium outside the Ornamental Fish International booth.

Water Bats!!!

It is a large event strictly devoted to ornamental fish and invertebrates. The show is also well known for its fish and aquarium show. Here producers enter fish, planted tanks and marine aquarium displays. THey are judged by experts and the winners announced. It is another great way for producers to showcase their products.

The Fish Show

Eric very excited about a red arowana

and the Bettas!!

THere are also two days of educational seminars, addressing key issues in the industry. Topics covered over the past two days focused on international perspectives on a changing industry and maintaining of improving quality of the animals traded. Speakers from multiple countries provided a diverse range of views, experiences and opinions. Specific topics included:

  • Resident-based Ornamental Fisheries in the Western Ghats, India: Managing Poverty Alleviation and Change at the community Level. – Dr. Rajeev Raghavan
  • An update on Recent Biosecurity Changes and Their Impact on the Australian Ornamental fish Sector – Shane Willis, Australia
  • Roadmap towards a “Green” Aquarium Industry – Scott Dowd, USA
  • Eco-Freindly Marine Culture and Capture – A Mexican Perspective – Dr. Nuno Simoes, Mexico
  • Potential Impacts of Climate Change on the Ornamental Fish Industry – Ryan Donnelly, Australia
  • A New quality Assurance Scheme to Assure better Quality  Ornamental Fish from Singapore – Poh Yew Kwang, Singapore
  • Total Quality Management in the Aquarium Business – Dr. Anton Lamboj, Austria
  • Fish Health and Biosecurity Issues in Retail Shops and Wholesale facilities – Dr. Gerald Bassaleer, The Netherlands
  • DNA Multi-Scan a New Fish Disease Diagnostic Tool – Dr. Kris Willems, Belgium
  • Implications of Epizootic Ulcerative Syndrome Legislation for the Ornamental Aquatic Industry – Somkiat Kanchanakhan, Thailand
  • EU Fish Health Legislation: Clarifying the Confusion and Introduction of New Online Tool for the Successful Completion of Health Certificates for Import – Alex Ploeg, The Netherlands
  • Invasive Ornamental Fish Species in Singapore: A Case Study – Dr. Ng Heok Hee, Singapore
  • A Trade Perspective on Invasive Species – Sven Fossa, Norway
  • A Profile of the Indian Ornamental Fish Industry with Special Focus on the Concerns of Key Players – Dr. Mini Sakharan, India
  • Trends in Breeding Marine Aquarium Fish: Where Are We Today and Where Do We Need to Go? – Matthew Wittenrich, USA
  • Where do Science, Industry, and Aquariums meet?Practical Applications for What Can Be From THings Learned in the Aquarium Hobby – Julian Sprung, USA

What I have taken away from these presentations and my discussions with industry members is that there are three emerging areas that all sectors of the industry must address in the next few years:

  • The need for improved biosecurity throughout all sectors of the industry. THis is being driven by new emerging diseases as well as re-emerging diseases that not only pose a threat to the ornamental fish trade but also to the  aquaculture industry for food fish and invertebrates. Consequently there is increased scrutiny by the regulatory bodies for national and international trade. THis is a truly global issue since ornamental fish are being exported from over 130 different countries.
  • The need to address the issue of aquatic invasive species. There are many animals traded that could have significant invasive potential in many countries. Many of these are banned for import but are often included due to poor quality control at packing or a lack of awareness of the specific regulations and/or risks on the part of the exporters and importers. There is a need for more research characterizing the specific invasive pathways as well as improved outreach and education at all levels when it comes to aquatic invasive species.
  • There is emerging pressure to develop specific guidelines that ensure adequate concern for animal welfare throughout all sectors of the industry. At this point the European Union and Australia appear to be the primary drivers though there are also emerging discussions on this topic in the United Staes as well. It is not inconceivable to envision specific regulations that would require documentation of  adherence to specific welfare guidelines in order for ornamental fish to be exported to some of these countries. This would probably be very much like a health certificate. Obviously, this will be an area of much spirited debate and diplomacy since the definitions of welfare, the perceptions of an actual need for guidelines, and the appropriate methods for guideline development and enforcement vary dramatically across the globe.

These are all weighty issues that will not be addressed overnight. However, it is very important to continue discussions, continue to develop industry solutions and to maintain contact and educate key regulatory bodies about the industry. The key is to remain proactive. The alternative is regulatory requirements developed and implemented with little industry input. Not making a decision to address an issue is a decision but it may not be a very good one in this case.

4 responses so far

May 22 2011

Biosecurity Practices – Essential Considerations for the Pet Fish Industry: Pathogen Exclusion

This post is really aimed at the retailer but the basic principles can be applied in all segments of the industry. Again, the specific approaches to biosecurity  must be tailored to the actual risks, needs and capability of each facility. TMM

The goal of pathogen exclusion is to prevent the entrance of an infectious agent into a facility, thereby preventing infection and possibly disease in a group of fish.  To accomplish this, you must recognize and understand the various routes by which an infectious agent can enter a pristine fish tank or pond. This allows you to plan defensive measures that will block that entry.

Fish-associated entry:

An obvious route of entry of pathogens into a facility is via the incoming fish. These animals may be asympotmatic carriers of a pathogen, or may have frank disease. It can be very difficult to determine if one is receiving healthy fish, and rarely can a manager be totally confident that the fish he has received are in fact healthy. To help minimize opportunities for diseased fish to enter a facility, owners/managers must scrutinize potential suppliers before fish are purchased or shipped.

Water-associated entry:

The presence and persistence of pathogens in water makes this medium a potential source of pathogen entry into a fish facility.  Water supply is a major consideration when designing a biosecurity program based upon pathogen exclusion.

Food-associated entry:

Fish food can not only serve as a source of pathogens, but poor, contaminated or spoiled diets can compromise the fish and make them more susceptible to infection by pathogens.  In most cases, good quality commercial diets will satisfy the basic nutritional requirements of ornamental fish, and are unlikely to host infectious agents.  As with fish suppliers, one should consider reputation and history of service when selecting food suppliers.  The food should be carefully inspected to ensure that there is no spoilage.  Live foods deserve special consideration as there is a higher potential for harboring pathogens, and caution is warranted.  Pretreatment or quarantine of the live food animals may be considered.

Person-associated entry:

The people that enter a facility, whether staff or customers, should be considered in a biosecurity plan as they can be a source of pathogen introduction as well as pathogen persistence.  Obviously, these people cannot be excluded from the facility, but the risks they pose can be managed.

Quarantine to prevent pathogen entry

Quarantine is critical to preventing introduction of pathogens into a facility. Quarantine also provides for the important process of acclimation of fish to new water conditions, new husbandry protocols, and new feeds.  Furthermore, the quarantine system and quarantine period allows time for the fish immune system to recuperate from the stresses of transport and handling.

All new fish that arrive at a facility should be quarantined.  Fish from separate sources should be quarantined separately. Additionally, any fish that have had contact with fish or water from other facilities, that are wild-caught or farm-raised, or have been returned to the facility by customers should also be quarantined before they are mixed with holding or display stock. Finally, many plants and invertebrates are capable of carrying potential fish disease agents including intermediate stages of many common fish parasites. Therefore it is wise to quarantine all plants and invertebrates in separate quarantine systems.

Quarantine Facilities and Systems

A quarantine facility should be distinct from the retail, wholesale, or import facility.  It can be located in a separate building or within a room adjacent to the main fish holding area, physically separated by a closed door and footbath.  Quarantine facilities should have designated equipment that is not used outside the quarantine area. Access to this facility is restricted to those employees assigned to this work area.  The restricted access to the quarantine area should be clearly emphasized by appropriate and well-placed signage, limiting access to those properly trained and authorized to be in that area.

Figure 1. illustrates the features of a quarantine system as well as the recommended movement of fish through the ornamental fish facility.

Figure 1. Recommended flow of fish through a quarantine facility at an ornamental fish retail establishment. The figure reiterates some of the important questions and issues a facility manager must consider in order to prevent disease introduction and propagation within a facility. These same considerations would be generally applicable within any ornamental fish enterprise.

The duration of quarantine is generally based upon the life-cycle of the most common disease organisms found in the fish species of interest. A quarantine period of 2-4 weeks at the optimal temperature is often recommended. The authors generally recommend a 4-week quarantine as a minimum for most species of fish, although many veterinarians would recommend 60-90 days of quarantine for many cool-water pond fish. However, this duration may not be practical for many businesses.  If a retailer is unable to complete recommended quarantine periods, they should strongly urge their customers to establish their own quarantine in the above fashion for the recommended period of time.

As the fish progress through the quarantine period, diseases may emerge, and treatment rather than culling of the affected fish may be considered. During quarantine fish must be examined daily. Dead or sick fish should be promptly culled and examined by trained staff or veterinarians to identify the cause of death or illness so that corrective and preventative measures and/or treatments can be started. When possible routine health monitoring of apparently healthy fish may be considered to identify emerging disease issues within a facility before they become a serious problem. Such monitoring may include: physical examination, skin scrapes, gill biopsies, fecal examinations, bacteriology, serology, molecular diagnostics and/or necropsy depending on the species and potential disease risks.

Your comments are always welcome. I’d be particularly interested in comments/experiences about implementing pathogen exclusion approaches at large import and/or production facilities.  In the next post I’ll discuss the principles of pathogen containment. TMM

No responses yet

May 21 2011

Biosecurity Practices – Essential Considerations for the Pet Fish Industry: An Introduction

Biosecurity has become an emerging issue within the ornamental fish industry. We are seeing increased discussions of  biosecurity concepts at the industry , veterinary and regulatory level. OFI has recently publish a book on biosecurity and there is chapter on biosecurity in the new book, Fundamentals of Ornamental Fish Health.  As I travel around  and visist ornamental fish facilities within the United states and internationally I am alsways interested  in learning about different approaches to biosecurity and fish health management. With my upcoming travels to Singapore and Malaysia I thought it would be a good time to begin a series of discussions about biosecurity from our perspective here at OSU. What follows are some thoughts developed by myself and my colleague, Dr. Jerry Heidel.

What is biosecurity?

Biosecurity consists of the practices and procedures used to prevent the introduction, emergence, spread, and persistence of infectious agents and disease within and around fish production and holding facilities. Furthermore, these practices help eliminate conditions that can enhance disease susceptibility among the fish. In short, biosecurity precautions are put in place to exclude and contain fish pathogens. Biosecurity practices are applicable to all levels of the ornamental fish industry: producers, wholesalers, retailers, and hobbyists.   Proper use of biosecurity measures will help prevent introduction of infectious disease in a fish facility, and will also help minimize the risk of diseases being passed from producer to hobbyist.

As import-export regulations for ornamental fish become increasingly stringent on a global level, veterinarians may be called upon to assist ornamental fish facilities in the planning and implementation of biosecurity programs. We will present a brief overview of the major considerations that should be taken into account when developing a biosecurity program for an ornamental fish facility.

Basic biosecurity procedures are uniform across the industry, but the biosecurity plan will be tailored to meet the special needs of each business.  As the scope, needs, and finances of the business change, the facility manager will modify and adjust biosecurity measures accordingly, yet maintain the basic tenets of good biosecurity practices.

Designing and implementing biosecurity practices can be simplified if we consider some basic themes: pathogen exclusion, pathogen containment, and basic best health practices. We will consider the elements of each, and show how these elements will allow you to hinder access of pathogens to a facility, control the spread of pathogens that may emerge, and promote high health and disease resistance among the fish in the facility. The overlap of practices addressing these themes will become evident.

Next we will discuss basic concepts of pathogen exclusion, pathogen containment and finally best health practices. I look forward to your discussions. TMM

2 responses so far

Mar 09 2011

Industry Profile: Aquatic Animal Veterinarian

THE PET FISH DOCTOR

March 2011

When your dog or cat needs medical care, it’s generally not difficult to find a local veterinarian who is familiar with the general afflictions facing these species. But if your fish needs a doctor, whom are you going to call? Veterinarians with knowledge of pet fish medicine may be few and far between, but they do exist.

Dr. Helen Roberts is a small and exotic animal veterinarian who is one of the few practitioners in the country who provide medical and surgical care for fish. Located only 15 minutes from Niagara Falls, she is a partner at the 5 Corners Animal Hospital and is the go-to fish doctor at her associated practice, Aquatic Veterinary Medicine of Western New York.  She says that when she talks to people about her work, most are “amazed” that she treats fish, and that she even performs surgery on fish. “I think the public perception is once a fish is sick, it’s dead,” she says. But through her veterinary practice, her educational publications and her lectures to all kinds of audiences about fish health, this outdated perception is beginning to change.

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Jan 10 2011

Wet Pet Vet: OSU aquatic veterinarian is the good doctor for fish in captivity.

Just out in the current issue of Oregon’s Agricultural Progress. Nice general discussion of a day in the life of our program, specifically many of my activities  in Newport when I’m not out and about in the state or more far flung regions. I hope you enjoy the article.

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Nov 19 2010

NEWS AND LINKS: November 19, 2010

  • Report reveals gaps in federal regulation of imported animals
    A Government Accountability Office report released Monday said it found lapses in the way federal agencies regulate foreign animals imported to the U.S., which totaled at least 1 billion between 2005 and 2008. The influx of foreign animals can lead to the emergence of zoonotic diseases that can spread around the world, the report stated. (Very Interesting reading, I’ll have a few comments soon. Some may be surprised at the number of fish imports. TMM)
  • From Ornamental Fish International a very brief report from Keith Davenport or the Ornamental Aquatics Trade Association on the recent Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity held in Nagoya, Japan, October 18-29, 2010.

CBD CONFERENCE IN JAPAN (Links to draft decisions and background information are included, TMM)

Keith Davenport (OATA) and also on behalf of OFI, EPO, PIJAC and PIJAC Canada, attended the CBD meeting from 18-29 October in Nagoya, Japan. Some 18.000 participants from 193 countries participated.

Keith reports:

“A number of issues covered are directly relevant to the industry immediately or in the future. The invasive species issue first became prominent in the CBD in the mid nineties and that issue has blossomed not only because it is serious, but scientists, and to a lesser extent officials have made a career out of the subject. Among the topics of note were:

Invasive alien species, in particular aquarium, terrarium, live food and bait species (Draft decision).

The meeting discussed the issue and agreed to establish an ad hoc Technical Expert Working Group (AHTEG) on the subject, which Spain has agreed to fund. So it will meet and discuss invasive pathways and risks trade in aquarium, terrarium, live food and bait species. Industry is to be included but to reinforce the point I made an intervention.

It remains to be seen how the industry gets invited to participate.

PIJAC are still developing a “tool kit” which might be launched at an AHTEG. Diseases are considered invasive species.

Strategic Plan Draft decision

This was hotly disputed and only agreed on the last day. It establishes targets for various matters surrounding biodiversity to be met by 2020. They follow on from a 2010 set of targets, which they failed to meet. The targets cover a wide range of items including public awareness, invasive species, sustainable use, poverty alleviation etc.

We could ignore them. However, we could also start to compile examples of what we do as an industry which, even if sometimes unintentionally, help to support meeting the targets. If we, the global industry, started to compile examples, we could produce literature, a web site or even hold side events at the next appropriate CBD meeting. For reasons that I explain more fully below the CBD is in a “we love business” mode at the moment and there is less risk now than perhaps ever that this would back fire. I have in a sense already put a mark in the sand with the item I wrote for the CBD Business 2010 magazine. The benefits may be a generally more positive view being taken of the industry globally. While we can work to influence issues in our home countries and the EU a quite closely, this may help color opinion about our industry more positively throughout the countries that are in our supply chains.

The Economics of Environment and BiodiversityTEEB

TEEB has in some senses taken the world by storm. Massive side events, political endorsement from all directions, endorsements from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, mention in almost every decision made were just some of the accolades. Major companies were queuing up to say they had supported TEEB or were starting to or had undertaken TEEB projects within their business.

TEEB looks at the value of “environmental services” such as rainfall, river flow, carbon fixation by forests and the like. An example that keeps being mentioned is the use of forests, especially of those on sloping ground, in China. The value of the wood extracted was a fraction of the costs paid in losses due to landslides, floods and the like. China now no longer logs its own forests so heavily but buys in wood from Madagascar. The environmental costs of the logging in China (and now in Madagascar) were externalized by users. TEEB emphasizes that the price of environmental services used or conserved should be internalized in business accounts and pricing.

Large companies are looking to benefit by being allowed to put on their books the value of the environmental services on land they own and haven’t used or have restored. There was repeatedly talk of a market in the mold of the carbon market for environmental services.

Our industry helps play a part in conserving rainforests and reefs. In the Barcelos region of Amazonas where 70% of the income derives from ornamental fish collection there is, I believe, 8 billion tons of carbon fixed. The price for carbon is approximately €13 per ton. So we might suggest our industry plays a role in help keeping €100 billion worth of carbon fixed. We will never get a cent from it, but it puts in context an unintentional consequence of our activities. Equally on the reef arguments along these lines might become apparent if we were delve a little.

Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) from genetic resources – Draft decision

I kept a watch on this issue and did talk to UK and EU officials about this briefly. They remember past positions I had presented and so it did not take much of my time. Anyway, after 10 years of negotiations officials broke up at 1 am in the morning of the final day with no agreement. The President of the meeting (a Japanese Minister with help from CBD legal staff) cut out all text that could not be agreed on. The actual text was agreed at 3am on Saturday after a 3 hour boozy reception hosted by India to celebrate being awarded the next COP in 2012. I think the main protagonists were worn out and under political instruction from the 100+ Ministers present.

Amongst the text that was removed was some saying commodities (which the EU said included ornamentals) would not be included. This reference was removed and so the picture is less clear. Indeed, the failure to get agreement on many areas just leaves uncertainty.

At worst breeders may be required to obtain Prior Informed Consent (PIC) and establish Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT) before accessing genetic materials (breeding stock). However this unclear. It is also not clear if the agreement applies from next year on when it is likely to formally start its work of 1994 when the Convention (with its text on this issue) came into force.

I think that countries that were aggressively pursuing the harshest conditions on access and retroactivity may implement “harsher domestic measures”. There might be an obligation on the governments of importing countries to help resolve disputes. All the Africa and South America as well as Malaysia and India could prove difficult on this issue if they move their gaze further than pharmaceutical products. Will we have more cases of “biopiracy” as highlighted in Brazil for instance?

Industry engagementWeb link

There were more industry representatives than I have ever seen before. The CBD Chief Executive made an impassioned statement along the lines that “industry may not just be part of the solution to biodiversity loss it may be the solution”. I think this was echoed in part by others. Though mainly they are anticipating funds they do seem prepared to recognize positive impacts of industries. Several delegates especially one from Sweden said after a discussion the pet industry might be better served by being more vocal.

CBD Conclusion

There was a wide range of other discussions on relevant issues. As I said above we can ignore them. However, I have found following the invasive issue in from the CBD to the UK and the EU has helped in promoting our case and in some cases turning the tables on officials to achieve outcomes more to our benefit. I think maintaining a presence at the meeting so a face from the industry that becomes “part of the furniture” is useful.” ( As we often say here in Oregon when policy/regulatory issues arise, ” You’re either at the table or your on the menu!” – TMM)

Comments are always welcome, TMM

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