Project number: 2003-671
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $22,161.00
Principal Investigator: Fran Stephens
Organisation: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) WA
Project start/end date: 30 Aug 2003 - 30 Jun 2005


Relatively few major disease events have occurred within the WA aquaculture industries and as a result there has not been an opportunity for an integrated multi-agency approach, though one has been developed on
paper. To date, emergencies have been dealt with on an add-hoc basis and no large-scale containment or eradication programs have been undertaken with respect to aquatic animal diseases. The Department has also been fortunate that the remote and isolated nature of most of WA has not seriously affected the limited emergencies so far experienced, though considerable difficulties were experienced in collecting samples during the 2001 White Spot scare. It follows that relatively little experience in handling such emergencies currently
exists within the Department of Fisheries, WA. Simulation exercises provide a practical method of exposing and training staff in the management of aquatic disease emergencies.The need can be summarized as follows:
1. Both government and industries have limited experience with real emergencies.
2. Though there is a cohesive management strategy setting out the roles and responsibilities of individuals and agencies involved, it is untested.
3. The limited number of emergencies has lead to industry and agency complacency about the risks of disease introduction and the potential effects.
4. The linkages between all stakeholders on a national disease aquaculture event have not been tested. This exercise will test a national response as well as a local response. The freshwater crayfish industry in Western Australia is very keen to conduct the exercise and integrate the
products from N Buller and F Stephens.


1. To examine and test the skills and abilities of the participants in-group problem solving and decision making skills relating to emergency response procedures.
2. To increase participant’s knowledge of communication routes to be used in an emergency disease response by working through a scenario which mimics a real emergency situation.To increase participant’s knowledge of communication routes to be used in an emergency disease response by working through a scenario which mimics a real emergency situation.
3. To clearly define the roles within and between the various agencies involved and how they fit within the WA Emergency plan and AQUAPLAN frameworks.
4. To improve participants ability to manage tasks by prioritizing a number of competing demands during the operational phase of an emergency response.
5. To increase participants understanding of the operational procedures in the Disease Emergency Response.
6. To familiarize participants with operational practices on freshwater crayfish farms of varying production technology (extensive and semi-intensive).
7. To identify key areas for improvement in emergency management procedures across a range of subjects including planning, communication, staffing and resourcing.
8. To document an emergency response plan that can be implemented by all stakeholders.
9. To familiarize all stakeholders including AFFA staff with the problems inherent in managing a disease in Cherax species that exist across Australia.

Final report

ISBN: 1-877098-59-0
Author: Frances Stephens

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