Title:

Assessing the biosecurity risk of uncooked whole and eviscerated barramundi and grouper in relation to exotic viruses

Project Number:

2019-126

Organisation:

Future Fisheries Veterinary Service Pty Ltd (FFVS)

Principal Investigator:

Matt A. Landos

Project Status:

Current

FRDC Expenditure:

$64,279.00

Program(s):

Industry

Need

The Australian farmed Barramundi is estimated at over $37.1 million AUD with a production of over 3,772 tonnes annually (Savage, 2015). The value of the wild-catch sector was estimated to be $9.9 million AUD with 1,073 tonnes produced (Savage, 2015). These sectors of the industry as well as recreational and Indigenous fishers, are all at risk of being exposed to hazards potentially introduced by imported Barramundi and grouper products, which could pose significant consequences. The Australian Federal Department of Agriculture does not consider there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the import conditions for uncooked barramundi do not effectively manage the risk of pests and diseases of concern arriving in Australia. Until further evidence is generated to demonstrate that importation of uncooked barramundi products poses a risk that exceeds Australia's Appropriate Level of Protection, then regulatory actions to mitigate these perceived biosecurity risks are unlikely to be implemented. Risk mitigation requirements for importation of whole farmed barramundi include that the exporting country must, among other things, declare it has in place health surveillance and monitoring and that the fish were not derived from a population slaughtered as an official disease control measure. However, this self-declaration is not supported by rigorous testing to ensure compliance. There are current and have been no previous protocols in place to test for the target iridoviruses in imported barramundi and grouper product, so the efficacy of the existing import controls has not been subject to assessment at retail level. Sampling at retail outlets of uncooked whole and eviscerated barramundi and grouper commodities is proposed in order to better assess the efficacy of import conditions. This project will focus on determining the presence or absence of exotic virus genetic material in imported uncooked potential high risk barramundi and grouper commodity. Should any positive genetic material be detected confirmatory re-testing will be performed in order to reduce the risk of a false positive PCR test result and a subsequent project will be prepared o

Objectives

1. To determine the presence of Red sea bream iridovirus (RSIV), Infectious Spleen and Kidney Necrosis Virus (ISKNV), Scale drop syndrome virus (SDSV) and Singapore Grouper Iridovirus (SGIV) in high risk imported uncooked barramundi and grouper collected from seafood retail outlets throughout Australia, using PCR.

2. Review of imported uncooked barramundi and grouper commodity types and relevance to current import risk assessment and published literature.