Aquatic animals, like terrestrial animals and humans, can be affected by infectious diseases, which may be caused by pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and parasites. Infection and disease in aquatic animals is normal, but can become severe under certain conditions. Such conditions can include the introduction of new diseases to a population; or conditions that promote disease, such as host animal stress.
It is important that aquatic animal diseases are identified early to protect the sustainability of commercial and recreational fisheries, the productivity of aquaculture industries, access to international markets for Australian seafood industries, and aquatic environments.
The department is actively educating the community on this issue in the following ways: