The sea-cage aquaculture industry (tuna, kingfish and cobia) currently does not have a set of nationally consistent biosecurity guidelines and templates to assist farmers with the development of their on-farm biosecurity plans. The development of a sector-specific national biosecurity plan for the sea-cage aquaculture industry would ensure a common level of biosecurity risk management to support specific enterprise and whole of industry productivity. Biosecurity plans underpin disease prevention, preparedness and rapid emergency response to secure and future proof the industry.
An industry-wide biosecurity plan is a crucial component of health accreditation programs to facilitate inter-state and international trade in aquatic animals. Any health accreditation program of minimum biosecurity standard must meet the importing jurisdiction or countries requirements, so it is vital that these plans are recognised by state government authorities and implemented by industry.
Furthermore, many jurisdictions now require (or will require) those applying for a new aquaculture permit to develop an aquaculture biosecurity plan as part of the application process. Also, work is underway to develop industry-government emergency aquatic animal disease response arrangements which would require industry biosecurity plans.
The second component of the project was to develop biosecurity plan guideline and template for the sea-cage finfish (non-salmonid) industry of Australia. These guidelines are based on information from the industry workshop and related reference material. In these guidelines, we highlight the potential routes for disease transmission, including disease spread onto, with-in and off of the farm to facilitate associated risk assessments for disease transmission. Risk pathways and associated mitigation processes identified in the workshop, included water, animals, equipment, vessels, vehicles, feed and people. These pathways were included in the biosecurity plan guidelines. In addition, templates for suggested supporting documents are also provided in the guideline to develop a comprehensive plan.