Simulation Exercises

​​​​The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources supports the conduct of simulation exercises with state and territory governments, as well as industry, to enhance Australia’s preparedness and response capabilities for emergency aquatic animal disease (EAD) incidents.

Simulation exercises conducted include:​

  • A simulated disease outbreak in the South Australian oyster industry – Exercise Sea Fox
  • A simulated disease outbreak in the silver perch aquaculture industry in multiple states – Exercise Tethys
  • Queensland Department of Primary Industries and both the prawn farming and redclaw crayfish industries
  • Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment and the salmon industry
  • Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Energy and the aquaculture and trout industries
  • Western Australia Fisheries Department and both the pearling and freshwater crayfish industries
  • New South Wales Fisheries Department and the oyster industry
  • South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Resources and the abalone industry.

Exercise SeaFox

Exercise Sea Fox 2012 was conducted by Primary Industries and Regions South Australia, and the South Australian Research and Development Institute. The exercise aimed to educate industry and government response staff on issues to consider and responsibilities during a response to an aquatic EAD outbreak in South Australia. Participants included staff from South Australia, as well as aquatic animal health officers and industry representatives from other states (New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia) and New Zealand. The scenario was a hypothetical outbreak of Pacific oyster mortality syndrome (POMS) — the disease caused by Ostreid herpesvirus-1 microvariant — which is considered a serious threat to South Australia’s oyster growing sector.

The exercise was conducted in three phases:

  • improving understanding of the aquaculture environment in a disease context
  • raising awareness of national and state emergency response arrangements
  • assessing response options to the hypothetical disease scenario.

Lessons learnt included the need for cooperation between government and industry for both prevention and response (e.g. for use of vessels, other infrastructure and personnel). Observations were made on the:

  • lack of mechanisms for owner reimbursement for stock loss
  • issue of carrier stocks (any animal that can carry the disease or act as reservoirs, including native species) and feral stocks
  • differences between the aquatic and terrestrial disease response environments.

Sea Fox 2012 informed the development of a POMS-specific response plan for South Australia.




File size

Final Exercise Sea Fox report PDF PDF Icon


1.4 MB

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Exercise Tethys

Exercise Tethys was a simulated multi-state aquatic animal disease outbreak in the silver perch aquaculture industry and was held in November 2003. Over 80 staff from eight government jurisdictions and three industry bodies participated in the two day exercise.

The aims of Exercise Tethys were to:

  • effectively address inter-jurisdictional communication and response coordination
  • heighten awareness in jurisdictions to potential aquatic animal disease incursions.

The disease chosen for the simulation was the highly infectious viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus listed by the World Organisation for Animal Health. The virus has never been reported in Australia.


The report on the outcomes from Exercise Tethys was endorsed by Primary Industries Standing Committee in July 2004.

The report highlighted that:

  • communication is a vital part of any emergency response and made detailed recommendations on how current communication systems and procedures could be improved, and
  • the importance of training activities in all jurisdictions and recommended that future training activities encompass a range of roles and responsibilities across a range of personnel.




File size

Report on the Outcomes of Exercise Tethys PDF PDF Icon69591 KB

Report on the Outcomes of Exercise Tethys DOC Word Icon


727 KB

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Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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