Biosecurity Advice 2014/11 - Quarantine policy for freshwater ornamental finfish from approved countries

​8 September 2014

This Biosecurity Advice notifies stakeholders that Australia’s Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine has determined a quarantine policy for the importation of freshwater ornamental finfish from approved countries, as specified in 'Importation of freshwater ornamental fish: review of biosecurity risks associated with gourami iridovirus and related viruses – Final import risk analysis report (the IRA)'.

Effective 1 March 2015, importation for ornamental purposes of cichlids, poeciliids and fish belonging to the subfamilies Luciocephalinae and Macropodusinae of the family Osphronemidae (gouramis, betas and paradise fish) will require official health certification attesting to the fish either being sourced from a megalocytivirus free compartment, zone or country, or being batch tested negative for megalocytivirus.​

Previously, Biosecurity Advice 2012/01 advised stakeholders of the decision by the Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine to await the completion of a Fisheries Research and Development Corporation funded survey of Australian fish for megalocytivirus before finalising the IRA. The survey has now been completed and its outcomes are considered consistent with the IRA’s assumptions about the health status of fish in Australia with respect to the virus.

The Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine has determined that the importation for ornamental purposes of fish belonging to the subfamilies Luciocephalinae and Macropodusinae (a.k.a. Macropodinae) of the family Osphronemidae (which includes gouramis, bettas and paradise fish), the family Cichlidae and the family Poeciliidae will only be permitted if the fish:

  • are sourced from an approved compartment, zone or country free from the megalocytivirus or have been batch-tested negative for the virus prior to export under the supervision of an approved overseas competent authority, and
  • are subject to the existing baseline quarantine measures applied to all freshwater ornamental fish, including post-arrival detention in quarantine-approved premises for at least 7 days.

An official health certificate issued by the approved overseas competent authority must accompany each consignment of fish. A model health certificate is attached.

The Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine has determined that these measures will come into effect on 1 March 2015 in view of the time needed by overseas authorities to establish systems for batch testing or sourcing from disease-free compartments, zones or countries.

The IRA also recommends that imported consignments of these fish species are subject to an on-going program of random post-arrival verification testing for megalocytivirus as a means of monitoring the effectiveness of overseas systems that underpin attestations about batch testing or source population disease freedom. A program of post-arrival testing will be implemented in due course as part of broader biosecurity reforms, as announced in Biosecurity Advice 2012/23.

These measures are designed to limit quarantine risk to a level that is acceptably low to achieve Australia’s appropriate level of protection.

The policy will be taken into account by decision-makers when considering import permit applications for gouramis, cichlids and poeciliids in accordance with the Quarantine Act 1908 and Quarantine Proclamation 1998 as amended.

The final IRA report is available on the department's website. Printed copies can be provided, if required.

Confidentiality

Stakeholders are advised that, subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1988, all submissions received in response to Biosecurity Advices 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 1988.

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 1982.

Andrew Cupit
Assistant Secretary


Attachment

​Model health certificate for ornamental gouramis, bettas and paradise fish1, cichlids and poeciliids exported to Australia

Invoice number:
Exporter Name:
Address:
Phone No:
Fax No:
E-mail:
Department of Agriculture Import Permit Number:
Number (tails) fish:

I, the undersigned, certify that:

  1. Only finfish listed in the List of Permitted Live Freshwater Fish Suitable for Import are included in this consignment, and are documented on the attached invoice.
  2. (2A) The fish originate from a country, zone or compartment2 determined by the Competent Authority to be free from Megalocytivirus based on the procedures described in the Department of Agriculture Import Condition; or

    (2B) The fish originate from a batch that has been tested by the Competent Authority and found negative for Megalocytivirus using a testing method that is consistent with the Department of Agriculture Import Condition.
  3. The fish in the consignment have been inspected within seven (7) days prior to export and show no clinical signs of infectious disease or pests.
  4. The export premises are currently approved for export to Australia as meeting standards under the Department of Agriculture.
  5. All fish being held at the export premises exhibit no clinical signs of significant infectious disease or pests and are sourced from populations not associated with any significant disease or pests within the 6 months prior to certification.
  6. All fish in the consignment have been in premises approved for export of freshwater finfish to Australia for the 14 days prior to export.
  7. The fish have not been kept in water in common with farmed foodfish (fish farmed for human consumption including recreational fishing) or koi carp.
  8. Adequate quarantine safeguards are in place to maintain the health status of the certified fish until export. The fish are effectively isolated in holding systems that prevent infection by direct contact with other fish or indirect contact via water, equipment or any other means.

Signature:
Issued at:
Name:
Date:
Official position:
Address:
Phone No:
Fax No:
E-mail:
Stamp:

1 Gouramis, bettas and paradise fish include all species belonging to subfamilies Luciocephalinae and Macropodusinae of the family Osphronemidae listed in theDepartment of Agriculture List of Permitted Live Freshwater Fish Suitable for Import.
2 As per the definition stated in the latest version of the OIE Code.

Scientific namesNumber (tails) of fish
  
  
  
  
Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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