Aquatic Animal Health and Biosecurity Subprogram: Strategic planning, project management and adoption

Project Number:



CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory

Principal Investigator:

Mark S. Crane

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:



Adoption, Environment, Industry, People


AAHBS provides a cohesive national approach to FRDC-supported aquatic animal health R&D in Australia by providing leadership, direction and focus for health R&D and other related non-R&D activities. AAHS was renewed in 2012 based on national need, previous performance and strong stakeholder support. Key strengths include its strategic focus and the establishment of a network of aquatic animal health experts and research providers. An external review of AAHS was undertaken in 2015 and it found that the consensus among the major stakeholders was that AAHS provides an essential service for the major stakeholders. Thus, continuation of AAHS beyond 2016 on the basis of a shared financial commitment by stakeholders from industry and governments is highly desirable. Australia’s aquatic animal sector is free from many diseases that occur overseas, providing us with a competitive advantage in both production and trade. While the number of aquatic animal species and the absolute number of aquatic animals being farmed in Australia is increasing annually, new diseases caused by emerging infectious agents (e.g. new yellow head virus genotypes, oyster oedema disease, ostreid herpesvirus, Bonamia exitiosa) continue to threaten the sustainability of significant enterprises, and the call on health services to support this expanding industry is growing. In addition to aquaculture, aquatic animal health R&D is required for the other aquatic animal sectors, including wild-capture (c.f. Edwardsiella ictaluri in catfish), recreational (c.f. Perkinsus in oysters) and ornamental (c.f. gourami iridovirus), that share the aquatic environment. Thus health services need to be coordinated across all aquatic sectors to ensure synergy while avoiding duplication. FRDC, through AAHBS, plays a major role in addressing research needs and training in aquatic animal health. With its incumbent expertise and experience, AAHBS is able to direct these activities in the most pressing areas.


1. Manage a portfolio of R&D projects that are directly concerned with aquatic animal health & biosecurity and are not managed by other FRDC subprograms, FRABs or IPAs

2. In consultation with key stakeholders (industry, government and aquatic animal health providers) develop strategic directions for R&D

3. Facilitate the dissemination of outputs (information and results) from R&D projects to key stakeholders