We’re no longer posting on this blog, but you can follow us on Facebook!
All four keynote addresses from the 2014 Sharks International conference in
Durban, South Africa are now online. Learn about sustainable shark
fisheries, using population genetics for shark conservation, stable isotope
analysis as a tool for feeding ecology, and why scientists and
conservationists need to focus on the less charismatic shark species.
Last Thursday many of us lost a great friend and the ornamental fish industry lost a tireless advocate. OFI Secretary-General, Alex Ploeg, his wife, Edith, and their son, Robert, were on the Malaysian Airlines flight 17 shot down over the Ukraine. A truly senseless tragedy.
Practical Fish Keeping just published a short article about this tragedy and the impact Alex has had on the industry during his tenure as OFI Secretary-General.
You may also go to the OFI website to read some personal messages from fiends in the global ornamental fish community.
Our thoughts and prayers are with their two daughters , Mirjam and Sandra, who must now move ahead without their parents and brother.
Dr. Tim and the AAHP.
With Alex and Edith (second and third from the right) in Malaysia in 2011.
At the home of Raymond Cheah (Greeny Aquaculture), checking emails after a day of fish collecting.
I have some fond memories of that trip with Alex and Edith.
The Aquarium Science (AQS) Program now has a Facebook page. Check in frequently for an update on our students’ activities, current classes and summer workshops jointly sponsored by the Aquarium Science Program and the Aquatic Animal Health Program.
Chris Spaulding, The AQS program director, just posted some great picks of some of the current cohorts term projects.
Here’s the link to the new Aquatic Animal Health Program Facebook page. I also have a Twitter feed. Our first use will be to post periodic updates and location indicators for the Rio Negro expedition which begins next Saturday. There will be a message and a link to the Delorme website. When you click on the link you will see a map with an arrow indicating our location. I’m using an inReach satellite communicator which only allows text messages and location information.
We’ll try to post some pictures when we get wireless access, probably only 1-2x during the course of the trip. One of my colleagues may be live blogging. If that works out, he will be using a sat phone and a data package, I’ll send the weblink.
In the future I’ll post bits of news, upcoming educational opportunities, and program activities.
Looking for something different to do on January 25 – February 8th, 2014?
Here is an exciting opportunity to visit the natural habitats of many South American ornamental fish, and meet fishermen who collect these fish for the pet trade in a sustainable manner. The New England Aquarium would like to share with you the opportunity to travel with Project Piaba to the heart of the Amazon, Brazil’s Rio Negro. The expedition will be part of Project Piaba’s long term study on the Amazon fishery for the global home aquarium fish trade.
Join Dr Tim Miller-Morgan (Aquatic Animal Health Program, Oregon Sea Grant, OSU College of Veterinary Medicine), Dr Scott Dowd (New England Aquarium) and Dr. Nick Saint-Erne (Pet Quality Veterinarian, PetSmart, Inc.) on the adventure of a lifetime. We will be examining the development & implementation of Best Handling Practices with the goal of maximizing animal welfare, minimizing stress and trauma at capture and handling by intermediaries and also pre-export conditioning for maximizing market value and competitiveness.
The overall objective of the trip will be the continuation of the assessment of trade barriers and strategic planning to preserve and enhance the ornamental fishery and it’s benefits to the environment and local people.
Also, we’ll be spending a few days visiting an ornamental fishing community that we won’t be able to reach on the live-aboard boat. We’ll get there by motor canoe, and stay with the community for a couple nights.
Here is a link with some details about the trip:
or Project Piaba’s facebook page:
One last link – a very nice article in Discover Magazine on the project:
Here is the cost breakdown for the trip:
Dates: January 25, – Feb. 8 2015
Costs: US $2,500 for the two weeks on the boat
accommodations in a double occupancy cabin. En suite, air conditioned
All meals, mineral water, coffee/tea, juices
all program activities, guides, etc
Local transportation in Brazil; airport pickup, & drop off
airfare (rendezvous in Manaus, Brazil or Miami)
Guide/boat crew tips
Alcoholic and carbonated beverages – there is a well stocked bar on the
boat and a tab is settled up at the end of the trip
Continuing Education Credits will be available for participating veterinarians
For additional information, please contact:
New England Aquarium
Timothy J. Miller-Morgan, DVM, CertAqV
Aquatic Animal Health Program – Oregon Sea Grant,
College of Veterinary Medicine
Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon State University
2030 Marine Science Drive
Newport, OR 97365
(541) 867-0265 (office)
(541) 867-0320 (fax)
Skype Name: h20doc
Sid Stetson – Research Aquarist, Aquatic Animal Health Program
Aquarists of all levels of accomplishment tend to share a lot of the same attributes. They are intensely curious about aquatic animals, quick to lend a hand when a friend or colleague needs assistance, generous with their time, resources and expertise, passionate about providing the best possible care for their animals and keenly interested in fostering a sense of community with others in the hobby or profession. All these attributes and more were exemplified by many of the members of the Pacific Northwest Marine Aquarium Society when they heard that the aquarists at Hatfield Marine Science Center were planning to build a new coral reef exhibit in the Visitor’s Center.
When members of the HMSC animal husbandry team recently rekindled their association with the PNWMAS and requested donations of coral fragments to give the exhibit a running start, many PNWMAS members graciously donated a wide range of different coral species. Several members collected and held these frags until HMSC Senior Aquarist Colleen Newberg and Staff Aquarist Kristen Simmons could pick them up and transport them back to Hatfield.
Not only were PNWMAS members generous in the number of coral species they donated, they were generous in the quality of the animals as well. Many of the frags were of especially prized species that fetch a very respectable price at retailers. While it may be unseemly to quantify the value of animals in monetary terms, it would be much more so not to mention the value of this organization’s contributions to HMSC. PNWMAS members donated coral frags worth at least $3,000 and perhaps as much as $4,000 so that guests in the Visitor’s Center could enjoy the beauty and endless variety of forms of these animals.
There’s another and much more important facet to this organization’s generosity. By fragging out corals and sharing them with other aquarists, the members of PNWMAS and similar organizations reduce collection pressure on natural reefs all over the world. No other type of habitat supports as much biodiversity as a coral reef and the majority of aquarists responsibly seek out animals that have been sustainably cultured in order to preserve these important resources. By sharing corals and other types of animals they have cultured, aquarists like these PNWMAS members become stewards of the animals in coral reefs everywhere, as well as the reefs in their homes.
Hatfield Marine Science Center will be hosting the next PNWMAS meeting on Saturday, June 29. The members of the animal husbandry team are looking forward to meeting PNWMAS members and express their appreciation for the donations. They also look forward to returning members’ generosity when Hatfield’s coral propagation ramps up in the months ahead.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once said, “Talent is always conscious of its own abundance, and does not object to sharing.” The aquarists of the Pacific Northwest Marine Aquarium Society are a talented bunch, indeed. Thanks, folks, from the animal husbandry team at Hatfield Marine Science Center.
Spent the morning at the ZNA show at Merikan Park in Kobe. We saw some very impressive fish.
The grand champion was a very impressive Kohaku.
From the standpoint of biosecurity there have been a few changes over the years. THe tanks are separated by at least 3 feet to reduce the risk of cross contamination via splash. Each owner has his/her own tank for their fish but the fish are not judged in the tanks. They are laid out in their plastic transport bags on a blue tarp ( see picture above) and sorted by variety and size. These bags have a very high optical quality to allow for excellent viewing of the fish. They are judged here and then moved to their respective owners tanks after the outer surfaces of the bags are disinfected. This is an elegant combination of the old Japanese style show and the English style show. The judges are able to judge all the fish of the same size and variety together ( old Japanese approach) while still maintaining separation of the fish by owner ( English style). This is an excellent approach that reduces the risks to the fish but allows for an optimal judging environment. Of course, all other biosecurity practices must be maintained especially related to equipment used for cleaning the tanks but all-in-all an elegant solution.
We are seven days into our trip. We’ve seen some beautiful Koi in Niigata and we’re now down south in Kobe. Tony has posted pictures of the beautiful koi on his blog, All Japan Koi Blog, enjoy. While in Kobe we will attend the ZNA Koi Show and visit the Ring of Fire Aquarium in Osaka and the Suma Aquarium in Kobe for behind the scenes tours and a chance to chat with the veterinarians at each facility. Dr. Saint-Erne and I are quite excited about this aspect of the visit. Then we will be off to Hiroshima to visit Konishi Koi Farm to view some of Mr. Konishi’s beautiful fish.
Fish health is generally quite good. Many of these fish have just come out of the ponds so one would expect a few scrapes and bruises. Fish handling is excellent as it should be given the value of many of these fish. The fish are never caught up in the mesh net, merely guided into a waiting koi sock where it is gently transferred to a tote for examination. Biosecurity procedures tend to vary from farm-to-farm and can be problematic at times given the number of visitors to the farms during the Fall and Spring buying season. Ensuring adherence to essential protocols can be a never ending task.
Off to see more fish, until later……
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
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.
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.
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,
• 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.