Disease surveillance and reporting is fundamentally important for early detection of disease, demonstration of Australia’s disease status and market access. It also underpins many aquatic animal health management decisions on issues such as regional biosecurity, translocation and management of on-farm disease risks.
Australia’s aquatic animal disease surveillance and reporting system comprises components to:
- require domestic and international reporting of aquatic animal diseases
- coordinate national active and passive surveillance programs
- provide field and laboratory diagnostic resources.
The management of enzootic aquatic animal diseases within Australia’s states and territories is the responsibility of each individual state or territory.
States and territories have their own legislative requirements for reporting aquatic animal disease incidents within their jurisdiction, including their own list of reportable diseases of aquatic animals.
State and territory reportable disease lists are updated to reflect Australia’s National List of Reportable Diseases of Aquatic Animals, which ensures they can meet their reporting requirements to the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the department).
Australia’s national list of reportable diseases of aquatic animals
State and territory biosecurity authorities report quarterly to the department on the disease status of diseases listed on Australia’s National List of Reportable Diseases of Aquatic Animals.
Provision is also made for reporting of new or emerging aquatic animal diseases, and national communication of these diseases. Updates to diseases on the national list are considered annually.
Information about emergency responses to animal and plant pest and disease incursions that affect Australia’s agriculture industries and environment can be found on outbreak.gov.au.
Australia’s aquatic animal health reporting system
As part of forming Australia’s first AQUAPLAN 1998-2003, state and territory governments are responsible for reporting quarterly to the department on the status of diseases listed on Australia’s National List of Reportable Diseases of Aquatic Animals.
These data are used to construct the Quarterly Aquatic Animal Disease (QAAD) report that is provided to the Network of Aquaculture Centres in the Asia-Pacific (NACA) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The QAAD report is approved by the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer.
For more information on or to view the QAAD reports visit the NACA website.
Australia is a Member Country of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). As a Member Country, it is obliged to report the presence or absence of all OIE listed diseases every 6 months for global dissemination via the OIE-WAHIS (OIE World Animal Health Information System) database. The Australian Chief Veterinary Officer (ACVO) is Australia’s principal representative on aquatic animal health matters nationally and internationally and is Australia’s permanent delegate to the OIE.
Australia’s OIE focal point for aquatic animals manages Australia’s commitments to the OIE and other international agencies that deal with aquatic animal health on behalf of the ACVO. This includes engaging on international aquatic animal health matters and coordinating Australia’s QAAD and other aquatic animal disease status reports.
For further information on international aquatic animal health activities undertaken by the department see the international activities page.
Active and passive surveillance programs
For further information on Australia’s surveillance programs see the national aquatic animal health initiatives page.
Field and laboratory diagnostic resources
A range of field and diagnostic resources have been developed to ensure Australia maintains the capacity to identify and diagnose aquatic animal diseases of national significance.
Aquatic Animal Diseases Significant to Australia: Identification Field Guide
The Aquatic Animal Diseases Significant to Australia: Identification Field Guide aims to help people who work closely with aquatic animals recognise diseases significant to aquaculture and fisheries in Australia. The 5th edition of the field guide is the most recent revision and incorporates information on 53 aquatic animal diseases of finfish, crustaceans, molluscs and amphibians.
Australian and New Zealand Standard Diagnostic Procedures (ANZSDPs)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Diagnostic Procedures (ANZSDPs) have been developed for terrestrial and aquatic animal diseases. ANZSDPs describe standardised diagnostic procedures that have optimal accuracy, robustness, sensitivity and specificity for animal health diagnostic laboratories in Australia and New Zealand. They seek to provide consistency between laboratories and develop a quality assurance system that includes proficiency testing programs.
ANZSDPs are consistent with the OIE Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals but may exceed those requirements where special procedures and interpretation are necessary for Australian and New Zealand circumstances. If an ANZSDP has not been developed for a particular test, the methods recommended in the OIE Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals should be used.
Australian laboratory proficiency testing program for aquatic animal diseases
The Australian Laboratory Proficiency Testing Program for Aquatic Animal Diseases provides a valuable means for Australia’s laboratories to test their capability to correctly diagnose aquatic animal diseases of national significance. The department funded program is open to Australian aquatic animal disease diagnostic laboratories.
More information is available on the national aquatic animal health initiatives page.