International activities

​​The Australian Chief Veterinary Officer is Australia’s principal representative on animal health matters nationally and internationally, and is Australia's permanent delegate to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Through the Office of the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer, the Aquatic Animal Health Program (AAHP):

  • coordinates international reporting of Australia’s aquatic animal disease status
  • engages internationally on aquatic animal health matters
  • manages Australia’s commitments to the OIE (see below) and other international agencies that deal with aquatic animal health.

International Organisations Responsible for Aquatic Animal Health

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)

The OIE is an intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide. It is recognised as a reference organisation by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and develops standards to promote safe trade of animals, including aquatic animals, and their products.

Australia is a strong contributor to OIE processes to protect and maintain our aquatic animal health status and trade in aquatic animals. The AAHP formulates Australia’s comments on draft standards developed by the OIE Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission.

Australia is required to report on our aquatic animal disease status to the OIE. Australia’s reporting obligations to the OIE are described in the OIE’s Aquatic Animal Health Code. The data from international reporting to the OIE can be found on the World Animal Health Information Database (WAHID) Interface.

The Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia –Pacific (NACA)

NACA is an intergovernmental organisation that promotes rural development through sustainable aquaculture. Current member governments are Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Korea (DPR), Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Australian Government works in partnership with NACA to supports a range of activities that aim to improve management of aquatic animal health in the region. Australia is represented on the NACA Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health.

Australia participates in an Asia-Pacific reporting program managed by NACA that includes diseases of specific concern to this region. The diseases listed in the regional program are determined by the NACA Asia Regional Advisory Group on Aquatic Animal Health. Reports are provided quarterly to NACA and also to the OIE Regional Commission for Asia, the Far East and Oceania. Australia’s aquatic animal disease reports made to this program are available from the NACA website.

Some recent activities supported by the Australian Government in partnership with NACA include:

Regional proficiency testing program for aquatic animal disease diagnostic laboratories in Asia-Pacific – this program ran from 2013-15 and provided 41 laboratories across the Asia-Pacific with the opportunity to assess their diagnostic performance for 10 regionally significant aquatic animal pathogens. Outbreaks of disease caused by these pathogens have impacted the aquaculture industry in Asia significantly and rapid and accurate diagnosis is critical for mitigating their impacts. Through collective participation and improvement, regional capability to diagnose these important aquatic animal pathogens has been strengthened. The program was an initiative of the department and funded through its International Agricultural Cooperation Program. Collaborative partners in the program included the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory, the Victorian Government Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources–Australian National Quality Assurance Program (ANQAP) and NACA.

  • A regional proficiency testing program for aquatic animal disease diagnostic laboratories in Asia-Pacific – final report, August 2015  PDF [1.2 MB]  Word [1.5 MB]

A report on the program workshop can be downloaded from the NACA website.

Emergency regional consultation on shrimp early mortality syndrome, 9-10 August 2012 – this regional consultation on Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Syndrome (AHPNS) (also known as Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS)) of shrimp was held in Bangkok, Thailand. The consultation brought together shrimp health experts, representatives from governments in the Asia Pacific region, and industry stakeholders. The purpose of the consultation was to share information on this emerging disease, its occurrence, pathology and diagnosis, and to develop a coordinated regional response to the issue. The workshop report can be downloaded from the NACA website.