There is a need to continue the workshops as they provide a forum for representatives from research institutes, Government departments and industry to discuss current aquatic animal health issues facing Australia in a friendly and collaborative setting that encourages open and frank interactions leading to improved mutual understanding of issues facing the different sectors. Workshops have been well supported and have included participants from Government and private laboratories and the aquaculture industry. Industry participants have been from a diversity of farms and representative of a wide variety of aquaculture species. The participant numbers have increased at each workshop from 17 to 35- ideally the maximum group size of 35. This maximum number allows the workshop to be conducted at various locations, as it is not too large a group for host facilities to accommodate.
Previous workshops have led to the exchange of information and methods. This has provided ongoing contacts established at the workshops, for participants to discuss issues, and in turn, respond more effectively to disease outbreaks. With aquaculture facilities and the species farmed continuing to expand in Australia, transferring these vital skills and knowledge to a new generation of researches and those involved in aquatic animal health, will be of benefit to both the aquatic animal health sector and industries.
Due to budgetary constraints in both Government and industry sectors, funding is required to assist workshop participants with travel expenses to attend the workshops. Without partial travel subsidy many forum participants would not obtain authorization to participate. This has repeatedly been raised in feedback and would affect attendance.
The exchange of information and pathways for new people involved in aquatic animal health will be lost and need to be re-established if the workshops fail to continue on an annual basis.