Koi-TV features videos of Dr. Tim demonstrating and discussing various common fish health procedures and protocols on koi. These were all done in one take. To my colleagues who will say, ” you should have mentioned…..”, yes I know. I will address some these in later posts. It’s hard to remember everything without cue cards.
My profound thanks to Promod and Sumi from KoiTV for their patience on this project. I hope we can continue and produce some more educational vignettes.
- You may now access all of the abstracts for the papers and posters presented at the Sixth International Symposium on Aquatic Animal Health held in Tampa, Florida, September 5-9th 2010. This international meeting occurs every 4 years. Scientists, aquatic health professionals, industry professionals from all over the world gather for this meeting every 4 years. It’s the Olympics of aquatic animal health.
- Just published in Reviews of Fisheries Science, Development of Captive Breeding Techniques for Marine Ornamental Fish: A Review.
- FAO Proposes new Guidelines for Aquaculture Certification. Many of the issues with small-scale producers would certainly apply to the ornamental fish sector. While such certification could be valuable to the ornamental fish industry it seems to me that implementation could be much more difficult given the huge diversity of species. (What do you think? Could this be done with the global ornamental fish industry? How would you approach this problem? IS the Marine Aquarium Council Certification program for marine ornamentals a good model? TMM)
From Ornamental Fish International (my comments in bold, italics):
- EU CONSULTATION ON BIODIVERSITY
The European Union is currently undertaking a public consultation on the EU Biodiversity strategy. This topic is important for our industry as well, as it touches issues like trade legislation (including our trade). EU biodiversity strategy is available from the website: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/biodecline.htm <http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/biodecline.htm> The objective of this consultation is to gather input from a wide range of stakeholders on possible policy options for the European Union’s post-2010 EU biodiversity strategy, which will be assessed by the Commission as part of the process of its development.
- VACCINE FOR WHITE SPOT DISEASE (ICH)
Scientists have shown that fish can be immunized against Ich, the ‘white-spot’ disease, but growing the parasite in large quantities for immunization use is problematic.
Fish can be immunized against Ich, the dreaded “white-spot” disease, that is the bane of home aquarists and commercial fish farmers, government scientists have shown. Although the team still has many obstacles to overcome, the study presented at a Boston meeting of the American Chemical Society indicates for the first time that a protective vaccine is within reach.
Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, commonly known as Ich, is the most common protozoan parasite of fish. It is characterized by the appearance of white spots, about the size of salt or sugar granules, on the fishes’ skin, and is especially common when fish are grown in crowded conditions. Symptoms include loss of appetite, rapid breathing, hiding or resting on the bottom of tanks or ponds, and rubbing or scratching against objects. The disease kills 50% to 100% of those infected. (Here’s a link to a bit more information from Science Daily.TMM)
- OFI POLL
In the previous months we had an interesting Poll in the OFI website. The question was: Most important tradeshow for my business is? 43% of the respondents mentioned Interzoo, which in itself considering the size of this show is of course not so surprising. We were pleased to see that the specialized aquatic show Aquarama was second in this list with 41%. This despite the fact that the Poll was on-line before and during Interzoo. The general pet trade show in Las Vegas came out third with 7% and Aquafair Malaysia fourth with 3%. Other shows listed 5%.
- AUSTRALIA TO RESTRICT IMPORTS?
To reduce the risk on imports of certain iridovirusses, the Australian government is in the process for developing legislation to address these risks. In July a report was published which can be downloaded here <http://www.ofish.org/files/files/iridovirusses-australia.pdf> . (An interesting read and a chance to see how countries carry out import risk assessments. TMM)
Main recommendation: restrict imports from disease free countries only, or start batch testing of all poecilids, gouramis and cichlids, which enter Australia. This is about 67% of all Australian imports! The first option seems to be a theoretical option only as exporting countries to Australia will have very serious problems to introduce the required procedures and controls to declare these countries or farms free of the Iridovirusses. Batch testing demands a high number from fish of every batch (all specimens of the same species and origin in the shipment).
This recommendation will lead to the killing of very, very many healthy fish every year. It will also lead to a huge increase of cost, as importers will have to pay for these fish, for their transport and for the testing. Altogether it is a huge incentive to breeding of fish within Australia. (Also raises the question – could the screening be pushed to producers? THe costs might be lower? But is the disease screening infrastructure available in the countries of origin? Koi imported into the USA must now come from sources certified free of Spring Viremia of Carp Virus. There is a mechanism for this type of screening outlined in the OIE Code and Manual. However, adequate, validated diagnostic tests must be available for screening these fish. TMM)
Lets hope the Australian authorities will also consider the cost of these recommendations for both importers and government, and the ethical aspects of the ideas of some veterinarians. (THis is a tough balancing act. The Australian authorities must balance the needs of this industry with the need to protect their food fish aquaculture industry and protect their wild fish resources. This is an issue every country must face at some point. How would you address these issues? Remember, even inaction is a decision that may have long-lasting ramifications. TMM)
Coral Magazine recently posted an online survey intended to address survival of ornamental marine fish in their readers tanks. Coral Magazine put this survey out in response to an editorial and book promotion written by Robert Winter and posted on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society website.
The current survey results are based upon approximately 250-300 responses according to James Lawrence the editor and publisher of Coral magazine. He cautions that Coral readers tend to be high achievers in the marine aquarium keeping world but there also were a few responders that are new to the hobby.
Both items have stimulated a number of interesting responses. I found Dr. Neil Monks response particularly thought provoking.
I encourage you to review the survey results and read the various responses. What’s clear is that the answers are not simple and people are passionate about these issues but that there is much room for improvement when it comes to overall health management of these species from reef to the home tank. I appreciate Coral Magazine’s willingness to delve into this issue and I’ve found the forum discussions to be very interesting.
As with any industry and hobby there are conscientious and unscrupulous players. It is always easy to point fingers but I’m most interested in how we can constantly move to improve the quality of marine ornamental fish health. Parts of the survey begin to get at this but I’d like to hear some suggestions addressing how the industry and the hobby can begin to be more proactive when addressing these issues.
Some questions for discussion:
- Can there be sustainable harvest?
- Is aquaculture the answer?
- If so, what about the many communities that depend upon wild harvest for their livelihoods?
- Do you think certification is or can be effective?
- How can we incentivize improved health management throughout the supply chain?
- How can we better reach hobbyists and instill the importance of quality husbandry?
- Is it possible to economically insert quarantine and disease screening into the industry?
- If not, how can we convince hobbyists to set up their own quarantine systems?
- How would you go about convincing a new hobbyist to institute quarantine?
- Can veterinarians play a role here? If so, how? If not, why?
- If the global veterinary profession could assist the industry and hobby what would be the most appropriate role we should play?
- Obviously, my focus is on fish health. Feel free to insert other issues into the discussion.
In past posts I’ve been accused of preaching to the choir. That’s fine because I’m interested in your thoughts as active/passionate members of this hobby and industry . Be creative. Think outside the box.
So, Let’s hear your your thoughts, comments and ideas!! Just be civil!!
See the recent post by Nina Shen Rastogi at http://www.slate.com/id/2221024/.
Some other important points that I would also emphasize:
- Learn as much as you can about the particular fish species and their needs in captivity before they are purchased. This research might lead one to decide that a particular fish is not the right species for them to maintain in an aquarium.
- Focus on purchasing healthy fish in the first place. Learn the general signs that indicate a healthy fish as well as a sick fish ( I’ll discuss these in future posts).
- Find a trusted fish supplier that is genuinely concerned about selling healthy fish and educating his or her customers about maintaining healthy fish.
- Seriously consider utilizing a quarantine for all new arrivals before they are added to holding or display tanks (more about this later).
We can all do our part by keeping our fish as healthy as possible. We do this by understanding the needs of the animals in our care, demanding healthy well handled fish from our supplier and by practicing excellent health management while these animals are in our care. These are a few of the small, but important, ways we can work to preserve the wild resources by striving to keep the animals in our care healthy and long-lived.
Can this be a truly green/sustainable industry/hobby? If so, what do you think that would look like in 20 years?
Comments and criticisms?
In less than 4 weeks the AVMA Annual Convention will occur in Seattle, WA, July, 11-14, 2009. We have assembled 4 days of training seminars for veterinarians and veterinary technicians with an interest in pet fish and commercial production of shellfish. Click here for a schedule of the sessions we will offer. Further, the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association will hold its Annual General Meeting and two days of clinical presentations related to symptomatology, diagnosis and treatment of common aquatic maladies.
I hope to see you there.
We’ve been able to visit about 10 breeders in Japan, 8 breeders in Niigata and one in Hiroshima. Here are a few of my quick impressions/observations so far based upon the visits to these few facilities:
- Most all of the fish I’ve seen are very healthy and vigorous. I was particularly impressed with the 1 year-olds (tosai). WOW!!, No I don’t have a good eye but from a health standpoint they looked great.
- Those that appeared “off” were not for sale.
- Most common diseases appear to be Anchor worm and Columnaris. The columaris is generally a problem when the fish come out of the ponds and move into the greenhouses.
- Sleeping disease is also a problem. This disease, which is not well characterized, causes problems primarily with 1-2 year old koi in the Winter months. The fish tend to lie unmoving on the bottom of the pond. They will swim when stimulated.
- Costia can also be a problem at times.
- The government requires testing for Spring Viremia of Carp and Koi Herpes Virus four times a year.
- Biosecurity concepts are understood and practiced to varying degrees as we see in the US. Most breeders have moved to locked facilities, appear to have separate sets of equipment for each facility and all we visited have foot baths at the entrances (however, actual use seems to vary). few places also have hand wash stations.
- A couple facilities have quarantine greenhouses into which recently harvested fish are moved for observation and to await testing.
- All breeders seem to be very concerned and try to be conscientious about biosecurity. The level of practice is often related to the actual amount of fish trade (economics). More trade in koi results in more funds that can be invested in biosecurity. Fish or ponds that are ill or appear off are generally isolated, pulled from sale, or moved from the holding areas until resolved.
- As we see in the US biosecurity requires constant diligence by everyone in each facility and throughout. Everyone must: Think Biosecurity, Plan Biosecurity and Act Biosecurely,
- I’ll post some photos of a selection of facilities and some more information/thoughts in the near future. This was just a few quick notes. All-in-all this has been a great learning opportunity for me and I really appreciate all the patience from the breeders with all of my questions. I have seen some beautiful fish!!!
I’ve travelled to Japan to spend a week visiting a number of koi breeders around Niigata and Hiroshima and to attend the ZNA All Japan Nishikigoi (Koi) show. I was invited by Tony Prew and Arthur Hixon of Oregon Koi Gardens to travel with them on one of their annual buying trips. My travel was very generously sponsored by Gil and Jan Gilman of Peaceful Ponds.
I arrived in Narita international airport last night on a flight from Hawaii (more about that part of the trip later) and met Tony. We then caught a train into Tokyo. From there we traveled on the Shinkasen (the Bullet Train) to Nagaoka. Then a one of Tony Prew’s friends, a local breeder, Mr. Hoshino met us and drove us to our hotel in Ojyia City. After a good night’s sleep and some breakfast we were off to the Koi Show.
This show is the ZNA All Japan Koi Show. It is in its 44th year and is the premier show for hobbyists in Japan.
One feature that I found interesting was their solution to the Japanese style vs the English style koi show. For those of you that are not familiar with these terms in a Japanese style show all the fish in the same size class and variety are generally placed in the same tank for judging. This method presents some serious risks to the fish in terms of potential disease transmission in that you are mixing fish from different sources with potentially unknown health histories. The solution to this problem was the English style koi show in which all fish from the same owner are placed together in one tank regardless of size and variety. This presents a problem for the Judges as they cannot compare all of the fish of the same class side-by-side. They must circulate between all of the tanks. However, the risk of disease transmission is significantly reduced provided people keep their hands out of the water and all equipment is adequately disinfected between tanks and measures are taken to reduce the risk of splash between tanks.
The the solution the Japanese have now developed is to hold the fish in bags for judging where they are grouped by size and variety. Once they are judged the bags surfaces are disinfected and the fish are transferred to tanks allocated to each owner in the English style fashion. These plastic bags apparently have an improved optical quality that allows the judges to adequately assess the fish. Further, the fish that I observed appeared to be quite calm and in general I did not see many fish with overt signs of stress. An interesting solution. I will be curious to see how this method pans out over the next few years.
More photos (click for larger view):
Show fish in bags for judging
Kohaku in bag
Show fish in bags for judging