Project number: 2023-006
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $342,866.00
Principal Investigator: Francisca Samsing
Organisation: University of Sydney (USYD)
Project start/end date: 1 Feb 2024 - 30 Oct 2025


Global and domestic trends in aquatic animal production and trade indicate that Australia will increasingly require agile, strong, and modern diagnostic systems to effectively manage disease risks (AQUAPLAN, 2022). To strengthen and support the aquatic animal diagnostic network we need to thoroughly understand future industry needs – which are rapidly evolving.

This project seeks to forecast diagnostic needs and understand the changing demands for aquatic animal health diagnostic services in Australia. For example, activities such as the safe translocation of stock between states, the establishment of specific pathogen free (SPF) broodstock, point-of-care-testing, emerging production diseases and increasing requirements from trading partners, will all require robust diagnostic technologies that are reliable, fit-for-purpose and accessible within the diagnostic network.

To forecast diagnostic requirements, we propose the following key activities, including a workshop (if required). The workshop is a STOP-GO point in our project and the decision to go ahead will be established in consultation with a project Steering Committee. The main activities in this project include:

1. Establishment of a Steering Committee and Terms of Reference to assist with milestone reporting and project oversight.

2. Generation of a map of the current operators and regulators of the diagnostic network for aquatic animal health in Australia.

3. Stakeholder consultation. This will be conducted incrementally through key informant interviews with the following stakeholder groups:

I. Stage 1. Members of SCAAH representing each State and Territory to identity their future needs, and further key informants.
II. Stage 2A. Diagnostic service providers (Government and private veterinary laboratories identified by SCAAH) to provide insight into current diagnostic services capabilities/capacity and identify future needs.
III. Stage 2B. End-users of the diagnostic network and regulators (identified by SCAAH and the research team) to provide insight into current diagnostic needs and challenges and identify future needs.

4. Scoping review of existing and novel diagnostic technologies relevant to aquatic animal health (to be conducted in parallel to the stakeholder consultation process).

5. A workshop (STOP-GO point) with key stakeholders to discuss specific needs identified in Activity 3

6. A Final Report presenting a roadmap to guide the implementation and adoption of future diagnostic needs.

Our final report and roadmap will inform priority areas for investment in the diagnostic system and provide advice to regulators. Areas for investment could include additional research and development, and upskilling of veterinary practitioners and laboratory diagnosticians. A schematic diagram of the project proposal is presented in the Appendix.

As per AQUAPLAN’s vision, this project is an exceptional opportunity to bring together a network of collaborators across multiple disciplines and sectors to support sustainable industry growth.


1. Undertake stakeholder consultation to inform future demands on the diagnostic system over the next 5 to 10 years considering the current diagnostic landscape, and the emergence of new diagnostic needs and technologies.

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