Draft import risk analysis report for ornamental finfish with respect to iridoviruses

24 March 2009

Biosecurity Australia Advice 2009/06

This Biosecurity Australia Advice (BAA) notifies stakeholders of the release of the 'Draft import risk analysis report for freshwater ornamental finfish with respect to quarantine risks associated with gourami iridovirus and other related viruses'.

The draft import risk analysis (IRA) report assesses the risks associated with imports of ornamental finfish and proposes that additional quarantine measures are required to manage the quarantine risks in accordance with Australia’s conservative approach to quarantine. The IRA recommends fish be sourced from populations demonstrated to be free of the iridoviruses of quarantine concern, or batch-tested on arrival to show they are free of iridoviruses of quarantine concern.

The draft IRA report is being issued for 60 days consultation. Written comments will need to be provided to Biosecurity Australia by 25 May 2009.

On 11 September 2008, Biosecurity Australia announced the formal commencement of a standard, regulated IRA to assess the current quarantine policy for the importation of live freshwater ornamental finfish with respect to gourami iridovirus and related viruses (BAA 2008/29). This BAA notifies stakeholders of the release of the Draft import risk analysis report for freshwater ornamental finfish with respect to quarantine risks associated with iridoviruses and other related viruses. Under the Quarantine Regulations 2000, stakeholders have 60 days, until 25 May 2009, to provide written comments on the draft IRA report.

Gouramis, cichlids (such as angelfish and oscars) and poeciliids (such as guppies and platys) are popular aquarium species. Ornamental finfish are imported under a range of quarantine conditions based on an IRA completed in 1999. Australia’s quarantine measures include that the fish are held in an export premises for a minimum 14-day period prior to export, health certification that they are sourced from populations with no known significant disease in the last six months, and that the gouramis and cichlids are held in post-arrival quarantine for a minimum of 14 days and poeciliids for a minimum of seven days. Millions of ornamental fish are imported into Australia each year.

Evidence, including research by the University of Sydney, has indicated possible changes to the understanding of iridoviruses. This prompted the commencement of a policy review in 2005. The policy review is being completed as a regulated IRA.

The draft IRA report recommends additional tighter quarantine measures. These are:

  • sourcing fish from populations demonstrated to be free of the iridoviruses of quarantine concern; or
  • batch-testing fish on arrival to show they are free of iridoviruses of quarantine concern. 

The existing pre-export quarantine of period of 14 days and relevant official health certification would apply, together with a post arrival quarantine period of seven days.

The draft IRA report and information about the regulated IRA process are available from the Biosecurity Australia website, www.biosecurityaustralia.gov.au. Printed copies are available, if required. Comments on the draft IRA report need to be submitted by 25 May 2009 to:

Animal Biosecurity
Biosecurity Australia
GPO Box 858
CANBERRA ACT 2601
E-mail: Animal Biosecurity

Stakeholder comments will be carefully considered and a provisional final report will be prepared. The provisional final report will be open to appeal. Following the appeal process, the final report and recommendations will be provided to Australia’s Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine to make a quarantine policy determination.

Confidentiality

Stakeholders are advised that, subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1988, all submissions received in response to BAAs will be publicly available and may be listed or referred to in any papers or reports prepared on the subject matter.

The Commonwealth of Australia reserves the right to reveal the identity of a respondent unless a request for anonymity accompanies the submission. Where a request for anonymity does not accompany the submission the respondent will be taken to have consented to the disclosure of their identity for the purposes of Information Privacy Principle 11 of the Privacy Act.

The contents of the submission will only be treated as confidential if they are marked ‘confidential’ and can be classified as such in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.

Dr Colin J Grant
Chief Executive

Contact officer: Dr Ramesh Perera
Telephone: +61 2 6272 3933
Facsimile: +61 2 6272 3399
E-mail: Animal Biosecurity

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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