Ornamental fish import surveillance systems
Trade in live animals facilitates the spread of infectious diseases. Ornamental finfish are of particular biosecurity concern worldwide because they carry viruses in three genera of the family Iridoviridae (referred to generally as iridoviruses). The current requirements for importation of ornamental fish to Australia include pre-border health certification and a mandatory on-arrival quarantine period of one to three weeks (depending on the species) in registered quarantine-approved premises (QAPs). Quarantined fish are observed for signs of disease, but are not directly tested. Diseased fish can be asymptomatic and so may not show visible signs of disease.
The Department of Agriculture has proposed changes to the way it manages the disease risks associated with imported ornamental fish. The proposed changes include the introduction of on-arrival health surveillance that will allow the department to monitor the performance of overseas authorities and exporters in meeting the health requirements for ornamental fish exported to Australia. This ongoing project (ACERA 1206G, CEBRA 1305A, and CEBRA 1405A) focuses on developing and trialling a sampling framework for the proposed surveillance program.
This project comprises analysis of the third phase of the surveillance program trial, which will run from May to February 2016, and development and implementation of a syndromic surveillance monitoring system, initially in a prototype spreadsheet-like software tool, and subsequently embedded within the department's systems.