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Import Risk Analysis Commences for Finfish

by Ellen Hardy
12 September 2008, at 1:00am

AUSTRALIA - Biosecurity Australia has announced the formal commencement of an Import Risk Analysis (IRA) under the regulated IRA process to review Australias freshwater ornamental finfish policy with respect to quarantine risks associated with gourami iridovirus (GIV).

This analysis will be undertaken as a standard IRA, requiring completion within 24 months from announcement.

Biosecurity Australia has reported that it is presently preparing a draft IRA report which will be circulated to stakeholders shortly for comment.

A policy review on the importation of live freshwater ornamental finfish with respect to iridoviruses had previously been announced. Stakeholders were informed of this in Animal Biosecurity Policy Memorandum 2005/01 of 11 March 2005. Biosecurity Australia say this policy review will now be completed under the new regulated IRA process as a standard IRA.

Iridoviruses can cause serious disease in fish. The 1999 IRA considered several species of gouramis and concluded, amongst other things, that specific risk management measures were required for these species due to biosecurity risk posed by iridoviruses, including GIV.

Australia’s quarantine measures include that gouramis are held in an export premises for a minimum 14 day period prior to export, health certification that they are sourced from populations with no known significant clinical disease in the last six months, and that the fish are held in post-arrival quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. Evidence, including research by the University of Sydney, indicates possible changes to the understanding of GIV and this prompted the commencement of the policy review in 2005.

Ellen Hardy