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Exposure to and impact of aquatic animal pathogens introductions via commodity trade - FC1203

Aquatic animal health regulations mainly control movements of animals for aquaculture purposes; strict conditions and controls apply. However, trade in aquatic animal products for human consumption is largely exempt from conditions regarding the aquatic animal health status, because it is assumed to represent a low risk for pathogen introduction. However, over the last years, a number of formerly exotic aquatic animal diseases have been introduced into England and products imported for human consumption were implicated.
We have very limited information about waste water management in premises where aquatic animals destined for human consumption are kept temporarily live or processed. Recent outbreaks of 2 mollusc diseases highlighted that in some locations waste water is discharged without, or only, with limited waste water treatment.
The recent outbreaks highlighted that import and domestic trade of aquatic animal products represents a significant gap in our national biosecurity system.
This project will address some of the most significant knowledge gaps relevant to assess exposure of farmed or wild populations of aquatic animals in England &Wales (E&W) to exotic pathogens via imported commodities and possible consequences. The location of premises either holding or processing aquatic animals will be identified and the potential release of aquatic animal pathogens via waste water discharge assessed. Knowledge gathered through literature reviews on survival of aquatic animal pathogens outside the animal host will feed into the assessments.
Another direct route of potential pathogen introduction is via bait used for recreational angling, and commercial fishing. Import trade and bait use will be investigated and risks for pathogen introduction assessed.
Experimental studies will provide further information with regards to quantities of specific aquatic animal pathogens that may be released during processing and to quantify the level of exposure of resident crustacean species required to induce infection with white spot syndrome virus.
Information on the potential socio-economic impact of the incursion of new pathogens is required to assist in decision making processes – both for the allocation of resources during peacetime and following the introduction of exotic aquatic animal pathogens. Building on preliminary work undertaken in co-operation with the Cranfield Risk Centre, we will assess the socio-economic impact of the introduction of a mollusc and fish pathogen. The impact will be assessed using disease outbreak scenarios, based on real data or spatially explicit epidemiological models.
Objective 1: To identify potential for release of aquatic animal pathogens from aquatic animal products
Objective 2: To review and assess the survival of aquatic animal pathogens in waste water and in the environment
Objective 3: To assess the risk of introduction of exotic pathogens via the use of bait in the aquatic environment
Objective 4: To assess undertake experimental research in support of risk assessments
Objective 5: To assess the impact of introduction of exotic aquatic animal diseases
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2015

Cost: £409,270
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Disease Control              
Fish Disease