Hello from Japan!! I’ll be here with my host, Tony Prew of All Japan Koi, for a bit over a week. We’ll be visiting a number of Koi farms in the Niigata and Hiroshima and attending two agricultural shows where koi breeders show off some of their best stock. We’ll also be visiting two public aquariums and meeting with the curators and veterinarians at these facilities. Along the way we will also have the opportunity to visit some tropical fish retail facilities.
My goals, as they were with previous trips, are to gain a better understanding the Japanese koi industry, health management practices within the Japanese koi industry, improve my knowledge of koi quality assessment, continue to develop opportunities within the koi industry and public aquarium sector for collaboration in research, education and outreach.
I would also like to express my continued gratitude to Tony Prew and Mr. Hoshino Masaharu of Koda Koi Farm in Niigata and Mr. Joji Konishi of Konishi Koi Farm in Hiroshima for their hospitality and ongoing patience with my endless questions.
Below are a few images from our first full day in Niigata at the koi farms. We also visited a tropical fish retail facility with some beautiful planted aquariums!!
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.
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)
(from www.onlineprnews.com) 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)