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Thread: Biosecurity and the threat to the Aquarium Industry

  1. #16
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    We are gathering fish now.

    Bob

  2. #17
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    Perhaps a better approach might be for someone nominated to write a letter of petition outlining the issues the industry and hobbyist have with the current report and implementation. Then send it around to all of the state run forums and get everyone to "sign it" and pass it on. I'm sure through tis approach the number of signatures would grow exponentially, and perhaps highlight to the 2 persons Jodi mentioned how many people are PO about this subject. Just an idea as opposed to everyone writing letters, as I feel a lot of people, me included, would lack the diction, patience, time and tact to draft something someone in those polly positions would even read.

    James

  3. #18
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    Are any stakeholders making an appeal to the Import Risk Analysis Appeals Panel? Is anyone here registered as a stakeholder?

    http://www.daff.gov.au/about/contact...appeal_process

    I hope the legislation doesn't go through as I would hate to see Jodi-Lea and others go out of business

    from another forum -

    Would be interested to here the opinions of Jodi and any other importers as to what the repercussion of this will be to us
    If this legislation is passed Jodi will close up shop and go back to science.
    M J.
    Last edited by MJay; 08-08-10 at 03:18 PM.
    He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!

  4. #19
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    Does anyone have the original report/proposal that was sent to the government?

    If you do, please PM me. I might be able to help with this, but I need to see the document first hand. Playing Chinese whispers with something that so many feel passionate about is bound to result in a letter that's not quite up to scratch.

    Cheers,

    Owen

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piscineidiot View Post
    Does anyone have the original report/proposal that was sent to the government?

    If you do, please PM me. I might be able to help with this, but I need to see the document first hand. Playing Chinese whispers with something that so many feel passionate about is bound to result in a letter that's not quite up to scratch.

    Cheers,

    Owen
    The link in the first post takes you to the submitted proposal.
    If it swims it's good, if it's Sahul it's better!

  6. #21
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    Can anyone tell me what's the liklihood of this being viable (financially) in Australia?

    >"the fish are sourced from a country, zone or compartment that is recognised by Australia to be free of megalocytiviruses (based on active surveillance)."

    I'm reading up on this and have asked a biochemist friend to comment on why the large numbers of fish need to be taken. The more I read, the more I understand the threat of megalocytiviruses. What I don't understand yet is whether the sliding scale is purposely being designed to make it uneconomical to import fish under the disguise of science, or whether they do need that many fish for statistical purposes. If the former, then surely we - ordinary hobbists - can object on animal welfare issues.

    Given how this is going to adversely affect the industry, the one month reponse period is ludicrious.

  7. #22
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    Ok, this is my second time at writing (“internal server error”). So here’s the briefer version.

    Have waded through 151 pages of the report and have some comments to make (but note this is SERIOUSLY not my area). Perhaps they are of use to someone?

    • P. 64 under heading of Prevalence and Megalocytiviruses, the report quotes the percentages published by Go et al. (2006). I’ve pulled this paper and the authors state “four aquarium shop proprietors in Sydney agreed to collect moribund or dead gouramis”. Therefore you would expect the prevalence of the virus to be high.

    • Throughout the report (eg. p.4) the work of Go et al., is heavily referenced. I can pull the two papers from 2006 but the 2005 is a conference proceeding which is hard to locate. I therefore quote Biosecurity’s report: “The origin of the fish is unknown, but presumed to have been imported, suggesting that the current pre-export and post-arrival quarantine measures may be inadequate to manage risks associated with iridoviruses of quarantine concern”. I have a real problem with the amount of weight Biosecurity has placed on the assumption that the fish were infected prior to importation. They were obtained from a retail shop, therefore may have been infected locally. How? Well who is to say from poorly-quarantined fish (AQIS isn’t perfect)? My assumption is as valid as the other. My point is, if you’re going make widely-impacting decisions on a $350 million annually (p. 31), you should be making those decisions on solid facts. And let’s be honest, it’s not hard (for Biosecurity) to source fish directly after importation

    • P. 2 “The IRA (Import Risk Assessment) recognizes that there might be other measures that may provide an equivalent level of protection against megalocytiviruses identified as being of quarantine concern.” But they’re not going to look into it, and you have to do the work.

    • The report consistently acknowledges (eg. p. 2) that “Commercially available diagnostic tests for megalocytiviruses for diagnosing carriers are not currently available, although PCR tests have been used experimentally.” So they are going to rule, to legitimate businesses, that they must have virus test performed but readily recognize that no such commercial tests are available.

    And the sliding scale of samples is WRONG. It’s based upon 95(percent) confidence of detecting the agent if prevalent at 5(percent). However, their own data has the prevalence of the virus at >5(percent). And yes, the numbers quoted in Appendix 5 are “consistent with that recommended in the OIE Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals (OIE 2010)” but if it’s a recommended approach doesn’t that mean it is non-binding? We are talking about killing animals here. (A cynic might suggest the guidelines are being adopted because they recommend maximum sampling = uneconomical to import fish = effective ban).

    There. I can go home now.
    Last edited by Brushy; 09-08-10 at 04:38 PM. Reason: clarity

  8. #23
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    It is pretty well a given that it will happed, it has been at least 3 years that they been gathering info.
    I was surprised to see cichlids and Live bearers go on this time, I thought we had longer?.

    There is not enough protest, from what I am told stake holders are prosting but not being herd. Bruce Hansen is or was a stake holder. I will ask him to chime in (after the footy).

    Bob

    Bob

  9. #24
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    Great post Brushy! I'll see if i can dig up the conference in my Uni databse if you like (couldn't find it, sorry).

  10. #25
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    I read all 12(?) submissions made by the "stakeholders", many of which were from Asian Exporters and Govt. Departments seeking clarification, some from Aussie groups & Govt Depts applauding their actions & a couple pointing out the flaws in their assertions.

    Nonetheless, the only people considered to be "stakeholders" by these bumbling governmental self-appointed saviours would be those who derive their living from the industry. Letters of protest from hobbyists bleating & screaming that they're annoyed because they can't import their Bettas from Thailand anymore, or won't be able to fill their aquariums with disease ridden Gourami's when this comes in will have diddly squat impact - they're saving our nation's food resources, they don't give a rat's patootie about "pets".
    Last edited by BettaBetta; 10-08-10 at 07:04 AM.
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  11. #26
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    Betta, how did you access the submissions?

    I've more info to add but was tired last night. I fully accept that megalocytiviruses are a threat, but I'm most concerned about the lack of scientific basis for the decisions being made. I'm in no way critizing the authors of the papers. The problem is so few facts are known and so many assumptions have been made. I'll keep posting in the hope that someone who is a stakeholder is able to use the info.

    Solomon, did you try Scifinder too? It is disappointing that a key paper cannot even be located, let alone obtained.

  12. #27
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    Hi Brushy, Go here (and then scroll down the page) .... http://www.daff.gov.au/ba/ira/curren...sh_submissions
    Chardy sippin', bitter, twisted, sour 'ol cow. Do not let your fantasies run away with your capabilities .... you, boy, are NO match for my blow torch! Boguns, you just keep on rollin'

  13. #28
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    Can't find a copy of that conference report in my uni library either. The only thing I can find is a copy of the abstract book at the CSIRO library in Geelong. (link) if someone wants to request a photocopy/inter-library loan.

    EDIT: I would request it, but the library have become more tight on requests recently - not sure if they will deny it on the basis that I'm in the wrong field.
    Last edited by unissuh; 10-08-10 at 06:33 PM.

  14. #29
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    Here's a few more comments. I'm about half way and this stuff is heavy going. Not sure I quite understand it, so please point out any errors in what I post (warning, what I'm about to post is pretty heavy in places):

    • Table 12 reports mortality rates associated with iridoviruses . With some obvious exceptions, many of the rates are high (many >80&#37. Does this not suggest that our current quarantine conditions can be altered (eg. time of holding extended) rather than the need for PCR testing of all types of fish ? Some investigation into this seems possibility seems warranted given the impact on the aquarium industry.

    • I’m way out of my depth here, so can someone please explain this. I understand that megalocytiviruses are a type of iridovirus. Why on pages 56-58 under the headings of “megalocytiviruses” are there listed a large number of “iridovirus associated disease” and “irodoviral infections”. Wouldn’t these need to have been specifically identified to have been megalocytiviral infections to be included under such a heading (ie. there are many different types of iridoviruses, so why can the general infections now be classified as megalocytiviral)? This is especially confusing as p. 58 then says Australia has natural iridovirus infections.

    • P. 44 first paragraph:
    The arrangement of the sentences is confusing when comparing to the cited reference (Chinchar et al. 2009). This is what is written in Chinchar: “ Based on the presence of icosahedral particles within the cytoplasm and characteristic enlarged cells (designated inclusion body-bearing cells), megalocytiviruses have been found in ornamental tropical fishes such as dwarf gourami ( Cosa lalia ) that were imported into Australia from Singapore in 1988 (Anderson et al. 1993) and in orange chromide cichlids ( Etroplus maculatus ) imported to Canada from Singapore in 1989 (Armstrong et al. 1989). Moreover, a similar disease was also observed in ornamental tropical fish such as angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) in theUK (Rodger et al. 1997), and gouramis and swordtails (Xiphophorus hellerii ) in Israel (Paperna et al. 2001), which were bred in those countries after being imported from Singapore.”
    To me, the Biosecurity report has taken the information out of context (ie. the icosahedral particles were found in the dwarf gourami and not the unidentified iridovirus-like infection in green swordtails. This misinformation is again quoted on p. 57.

    • P. 44 first paragraph:
    The statement “histopathological lesions similar to those associated with megalocytiviruses have also been demonstrated in cichlids and poeciliids in Australia from imported fish in quarantine” is unreferenced. Given the weight the Biosecurity report places on PCR techniques, and the impact of including cichlids in the IRA, shouldn't better evidence of megalocytivirus infection be presented rather than relying upon a histological similarity?
    Last edited by Brushy; 10-08-10 at 03:54 PM.

  15. #30
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    Not as bad as first thought, if 1000 fish are imported it is only 45 takes still. That is the max number to be taken for any one variety.

    Where it is going to hurt is expensive fish Discus, Frontosa, B. tricoty and the like. not many importers import 50 of one variety let alone 20.

    Doc is not a stake holder any more to much BS.

    Bob

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