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Seafish Warns of New Aquatic Health Regulations

Health Welfare Politics +3 more

UK - New aquatic animal health regulations have come into force, which will affect all aquaculture production businesses (APBs) in the UK, warns Seafish.

Under the new Aquatic Animal Health Directive (EC Directive 2006/88/EC), all APBs must be authorised by the competent authority, the Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI). For England and Wales this is based at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and for Scotland at the Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen.

This includes all fin fish farms, traders in live aquatic animals, shellfish and crustacean farms, shellfish purification and dispatch centres, some processors and small scale producers for the local market.

“We welcome controls that stop the transmission of disease. We have had controls in place since 1992 which have made a major contribution to the high health status of our valuable fish and shellfish resources. This new legislation is designed to provide more transparent regulation and control systems by consolidating existing aquatic animal health legislation into a single Regulation,” said Sarah Horsfall, Seafish Legislation team.

The new Regulation will provide a public register of authorised aquaculture production businesses, including suppliers of aquatic animals, and an official register of stocked fisheries and cropping waters.

APB businesses have until 1st August 2009 to register for the authorisation process. There is also the potential for authorisation to be removed in the event of significant non-compliance.

“There are a few elements of the new Regulation that APBs need to be aware of,” said Sarah. “For the first time specialist transporters of aquatic animals have been singled out. They need to be registered, and have disease control measures in place, such as disinfecting their vehicles and equipment prior to loading.

“There is also the requirement for production businesses to produce a biosecurity measures plan where appropriate and to keep a record of all movements of aquaculture animals and products into and out of the site or business in order to comply with authorisation requirements. Mortality records are also needed wherever they are reasonably practicable,” she said.

The Seafish Legislation team advises the industry on its current legal requirements and engages with government on any proposed changes to legislation affecting the seafood industry.