International activities

​​​​The Australian Chief Veterinary Officer is Australia’s principal representative on animal health matters nationally and internationally, and is Australia's permanent delegate to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Through the Office of the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer, the Aquatic Animal Health Program (AAHP):

  • coordinates international reporting of Australia’s aquatic animal disease status
  • engages internationally on aquatic animal health matters
  • manages Australia’s commitments to the OIE (see below) and other international agencies that deal with aquatic animal health.

International Capacity Building projects

Asia-Pacific Laboratory Proficiency Testing Program–The Asia-Pacific Laboratory (APL) Proficiency Testing (PT) Program on Aquatic Animal Diseases is a four-year long program (2018/19–2021/22) designed to strengthen laboratory diagnostic capabilities for 10 aquatic animal diseases of significance across the Asia-Pacific. It is a follow on from a previously funded PT program in 2013–2015 that saw an improvement in the regional capability of our trading partners to detect and diagnose important aquatic animal diseases. There are currently 39 laboratories from within the Asia-Pacific region participating in the program. This program is a collaborative effort between the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL).

As part of APL PT Program, the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and CSIRO AAHL hosted a workshop in Bangkok in March 2019 for the participating laboratories. Thirty three laboratories from twelve countries in the region participated. The aim of the workshop was to offer a direct communication with laboratory representatives from the program to assist in the understanding of diagnostic standards, proficiency testing procedures and laboratory quality assurance management systems.

The expectation at the conclusion of the PT program is that there will be increased confidence in the testing capabilities and performance of each of the regional laboratories and increased ability to diagnose and detect aquatic diseases of transboundary significance.

The workshop report can be accessed via the NACA website.

International Organisations Responsible for Aquatic Animal Health

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

The OIE is an intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide. It is recognised as a reference organisation by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and develops standards to promote safe trade of animals, including aquatic animals, and their products.

Australia is a strong contributor to OIE processes to protect and maintain our aquatic animal health status and trade in aquatic animals. The AAHP formulates Australia’s comments on draft standards developed by the OIE Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission.

Australia is required to report on our aquatic animal disease status to the OIE. Australia’s reporting obligations to the OIE are described in the OIE’s Aquatic Animal Health Code. The data from international reporting to the OIE can be found on the World Animal Health Information Database (WAHID) Interface.

The Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia –Pacific (NACA)

NACA is an intergovernmental organisation that promotes rural development through sustainable aquaculture. Current member governments are Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Korea (DPR), Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Australian Government works in partnership with NACA to supports a range of activities that aim to improve management of aquatic animal health in the region. Australia is represented on the NACA Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health.

Australia participates in an Asia-Pacific reporting program managed by NACA that includes diseases of specific concern to this region. The diseases listed in the regional program are determined by the NACA Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health. Reports are provided quarterly to NACA and also to the OIE Regional Commission for Asia, the Far East and Oceania. Australia’s aquatic animal disease reports made to this program are available from the NACA website.


Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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