Globally, disease is the major limiting factor restricting growth in aquaculture (Stentiford et al 2012; Jennings et al 2016), with impact of aquatic diseases exceeding $6 billion per annum. Aquaculture is the fastest growing livestock industry in Australia, and is expected to double in value to $2 billion by 2027 to meet global seafood demand (National Aquaculture Strategic Plan). Therefore access to safe and effective veterinary medicines is critically import to support the current industry and its expansion.
Australia’s aquaculture industry must have access to safe and effective veterinary medicines for disease management, industry productivity and animal welfare. This need is highlighted in Australia’s national strategic plan (www.agriculture.gov.au/animal/aquatic/aquaplan) and FRDC’s strategic plan (2015-2020 and 2020-2025) including supporting the future sustainable expansion of aquaculture.
Veterinary medicines are required for prevention (for example, vaccines), therapeutic treatments (for example, antibiotics, anthelmintics and antimycotics) and husbandry (for example, hormones for reproduction and anaesthetics for animal handling). Currently there is a substantial lack of access to permitted or registered products.
There is a clear need for national coordination of applications for permits and registrations for aquatic veterinary medicines that replaces the duplication, disjointed efforts, poor permit applications and restrictive minor use permits and generally wasted resources occurring in the seafood industry.
There is a need to coordinate seafood industry prioritisation and application for access and use of agvet chemicals and to establish effective relationships between the seafood industry and APVMA to progress this important issue.
A model to support the resourcing of this service to industry and regulators needs to be devised to maintain this activity after completion of this project.