Saturday, August 2, 2014

Aquatic Animal Course for SADEC Veterinarians at Rhodes University, Grahamstown 14th – 21st July 2014

By Victoria Mumba: 

The Aquatic Animal health training course took place at the Rhodes University in the department of Aquatic Animal health in Grahamstown. This introductory training course was organized by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health), DAFF (Department of Forestry and Fisheries) South Africa and Rhodes University. The course was attended by 10 SADEC country veterinarians and fisheries officers dealing with aquatic animal health.

The aim for the training course was to expose vetenarians to basic aquaculture fish farming practice, develop an Aquatic Animal health management programme for their respective countries and collaboration for countries sharing water bodies that deal with OIE recognized infection and non infection diseases affecting aquatic animals.

Topics covered during training course
1.     Introduction to aquaculture and biosecurity measures in aquaculture
2.     Sampling procedures and diagnostic techniques
3.     Basic principles of fish health management
4.     Non-infectious diseases, water quality and environmental issues
5.     Infectious diseases
6.     Applied anatomy, physiology, endocrinology and reproduction
7.     Prevention, treatment, control and risk management
8.     Development of aquatic animal health protection systems and frameworks (national and regional levels)
9.     Public health issues
1  Aquatic pharmacology and toxicology

Practical exposure
1.     Basic fish dissection in the zoology laboratory
2.     Artificial spawning for trout
3.     Fish parasites identification in zoology laboratory
4.     Fish Histopathology practical
The aim for the laboratory practical sessions was fish dissection and identification of fish organs, thereafter had to look for fish parasites, virus or bacteria on various fish oragnas. We also looked at already made histopathogy miscroscope slides that would help in recognizing certain virus, parasites and fugus on a fish organ.

Fields trips
1.     Grahamstown experimental fish farm (egg incubation systems)
2.     Port Alfred Marine Research Laboratory (Albalone and Kob farming)
3.     Kob fish farm (East London)
4.     Trout fish farm (East London)
5.     Tilapia fish farm (Grahamstown)

During the fish farm visit, we were exposed to different types of farming systems and fish farming species. 

During the course, assignment was given to develop an Aquatic Animal Health (AAH) programme/system for the different respective countries present and to identify the important key elements in such a programme/system.  The AAH that was developed by respective countries for three different fish species, Tilapia, Catfish and Carp. The main elements that were identified for AAH were:
  • ·       Policy, legislation and enforcement implementation on AAH programme
  • ·       Transboundary diseases surveillance, monitoring and monitoring
  • ·       Capacity building (Laboratory)
  • ·       Research
  • ·       Communication and networking within SADC countries on AAH prgramme
  • ·       Biosecurity management practices
  • ·       Movement protocol and certification
  • ·       Import/export control of fisheries products
  • ·       Disease zoning/compartments
  • ·       Import risk analysis
  • ·       Health certification
  • ·       Emergency preparedness for Aquatic infectious diseases
  • ·       Contingency plan for possible outbreak emergencies
  • ·       National pathogen list for notifiable aquatic diseases

Challenges faced in most countries reporting to OIE for notifiable disease is continuity of surveillance programme due to lack of funds and also the lack of resources such as laboratory facilities. Human Resource is a big challenge in southern Africa for Aquatic Animal health, which is vital in our water system as we are faced with a number of infectious disease on aquatic animals such as Epizootic ulcerative syndrome and White spot disease on fish. Therefore recommendation from the training course and challenges pointed out from different countries were:
  • ·       Funding for EUS and other notifibale diseases is needed
  • ·       Resource mobilation is urgently needed
  • ·       Continuity of participation of focal person and the alternative person in Aquatic Animal health programmes, surveys and trainings
  • ·       Capacity building (on a country level)
  • ·       Strengthen reporting of OIE systems

In conclusion the training with a recommendation of a followup workshop that FAO plans to hold in Septemeber 2014 in South Africa as part of Insecurity and monitoring programme implementation

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