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Cefas Expert: the Face of Animal Health Commission

by 5m Editor
26 June 2009, at 1:00am

GENERAL - Cefas Dr Barry Hill has been elected as President of the Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

This prestigious position is a three-year appointment and requires the majority agreement of the national delegates (mostly Chief Veterinary Officers) of all 174 member countries and territories represented within the OIE.

A total of six members experienced in methods for the surveillance, diagnosis, control and prevention of infectious aquatic animal diseases sit on the Commission, which meets twice a year. The Commission provides guidelines, through the Aquatic Animal Health Code, for preventing the international spread of aquatic animal diseases.

Barry Hill said: “Aquaculture is the fastest growing food animal industry – growing at an average annual rate of 9 per cent globally over the past two or three decades – compared to meat production from terrestrial animals, which has been growing at only 2.8 per cent annually.

“The farming of aquatic animals is important to provide animal protein to many people in the world who have no access to other sources.

“Because more and more species are being farmed, we are seeing an increasing number of disease problems emerging. There are, on average, two or three new diseases in aquaculture every year, and when they first appear we don’t know their potential for spread and serious impact. So, we have to keep alert all the time to see if any one of them will turn out to be a serious threat.”

Barry has been the Chief Advisor for Aquatic Animal Health to the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for many years. Since the early 1970s, he has played a leading role in advising the government on scientific aspects of new UK legislation and policy on aquatic animal diseases.

He has served continuously as a member of the OIE Fish Diseases Commission/Aquatic Animals Health Standards Commission since 1988, and has chaired numerous specialist ad hoc groups advising the Commission.

5m Editor