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Thread: Biosecurity and the threat to the Aquarium Industry

  1. #1

    Default Biosecurity and the threat to the Aquarium Industry

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN WITH IMPORTING ORNAMENTAL FISH.

    I am informing all readers of this email, that Biosecurity Australia has just finalized their draft on all imported Iridoviruses affecting all imported ornamental finfish in the varieties of all Cichlids, all Gouramis, and all Livebearers. They have had this on the watch for almost 3.5 years and have now released the final draft report to us on 23/7/10, and have given Industry until 23/8/10 to respond to their findings.

    Their final report recommends that all Cichlids, all Gouramis, and all Livebearers as well as all Betta spp, and paradise fish species are also in the batch-testing procedures and each will have to be batch-tested post arrival in Australia for a group of so-called megalocytiviruses all on the species mentioned above, and yet, there is no test for megalocytiviruses anywhere in the world and these viruses are not on the O.I.E. register as diseases of quarantine concern. They currently use a PCR test to determine if any imported species mentioned above have any of these megalocytiviruses attached to them. There is no mention in their very lengthy report about how much each batch would cost to be tested, but the old adage “user pays” will mean that the costs will be born by all Importers, and on every batch of the above mentioned species, not to mention the lose of the species removed for testing.

    That is a big problem for all Importers and for everyone within the Aquarium Industry, BUT, that is not the major shock. The problem lies in the fact that there is a sliding scale of how many species are removed for testing from each batch of fish that is imported. If an Importer brings in 20 Discus varieties, or 20 Frontosa species (at a minimum of 12cm) then the authorities will take away and test 19 fish from each batch. If you bring in 50 of any of the fish species mentioned, they will take away 35, if 100, they will remove 45, just to name a few. THIS KIND OF IMPOST WILL NOT BE ABLE TO BE BORN BY ALL SMALLER AND EVEN SOME LARGER IMPORTERS. If you want details log onto the following site, then scroll down until you see Appendix 5 where the sliding scale of batch-tested removal is shown. The site is http://www.daff.gov.au/ba/ira/curren...mental_finfish

    If this comes into being, there will be no importsof any Cichlid varieties as the cost would be too exorbitant for any Importer, and that would presumably include the two biggest Importers. So, in its application there will probably be no imports of Discus, Frontosa, Featherfins, Tropheus, Apistogramma, Neolamprologus or any dwarf cichlids for that matter, and just about all smaller operators will close their doors due to such heavy handed approach to our Industry by Biosecurity Australia. This is not the “slim edge of the wedge” it is the “thick edge of the wedge”, and could just about ruin this Industry altogether that have been importing fish for over 100 years, and worth in excess of $450 million P.A.

    The person from Biosecurity Australia that you need to contact is Dr. Ramesh Perrera and his email address is Ramesh.Perrera@biosecurity.gov.au and his telephone number is (02) 62724675 and you also need to send your responses to the Minister involved in this whole situation a Mr Tony Burke, and his email address is (now we are in election mode) Tony.Burke.MP@aph.gov.au in Canberra with his personnal email address being www.tonyburke.com.au and his office in Kingsgrove telephone no is (02) 95533800 and his fax no is (02) 95543504. You will need to send off emails, and faxes, and make telephone calls to these two people to make them aware of the damages that their Department (Biosecurity Australia) will do if these measures are implemented. These two people need to be aware of the very serious concern out in “the real world”, and how this will affect all Importers to Australia, and it is your livelihood that is in question here and your voice must be given to these people in order to get Biosecurity Australia to relent and come to the discussion table with Industry people so that a more reasonable outcome can be reached.

    Dr. Perrera in discussions with him admitted that this would be devastating for the Aquarium Industry, but that he had a job to do and was going to follow through on the implementation of these batch-testing procedures, even though it may close the doors of a number of Importers “by the stroke of a pen”. He did state that these same principles were recently applied to the Prawn Industry, where they were going to ban the imports of all Prawns and Prawn Products for human consumption, but mainly for Bait, as it was the Bait prawns that go directly into the Wild that could cause outbreaks of IHHNV, White Spot and Yellow Head diseases in the Australian environment, and it could these diseases in the fledgling Prawn Industry in Australia, until the Prawn Importers sent specimens from a locally produced farm to an overseas scientific laboratory to test them for IHHNV, and the other diseases mentioned, and it was soon found that these diseases were already within Australian waterways, and farms.

    The result was that once this information was supplied to Biosecurity Australia they soon backed off and did not go ahead with banning the import of Prawns and Prawn Products for both bait use and human consumption. The same will probably need to be done here in Australia, only there are a lot more species in our Industry that needs to be tested and quickly (with the operative word being quickly). Currently, at my latest update, is that PIAA our supposed Peak Industry Organisation, has applied for a lengthening of the time to respond cuurently listed as 23/8/10, in order to give the Industry more time to respond to this final draft report.

    Be aware that this will not stop here, as I predict that Goldfish, Tetras and others like Sharks, Barbs and Catfish may be next in line, if Biosecurity Australia is not stopped here, and if this happens we will all be out of work.

    IT IS NOW UP TO ALL OF YOU TO BEGIN SENDING YOUR EMAILS,FAXES, AND TELEPHONE CALLS to the two people mentioned above, regards Norm Halliwell.
    Fishchick Aquatics
    Shop 17 Annerley Arcade
    478 Ipswich Road
    Annerley QLD 4103
    www.fishchick.com
    ph: 07 3848 9585
    email: fishchick@gmail.com

  2. #2
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    Is it just me, or does a period of one MONTH seem like a ridiculously inadequate period to prepare a reply?

    That sounds like it has 'Supreme Court Appeal' written all over it...
    Cheers,

    Rufus


    "I completely lost it. Well, okay, that sounded more awesome than what I really did, which was yell. And by yelling I mean sending a bunch of TEXT MESSAGES ALL IN CAPS!"

  3. #3
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    Between this and upping the ante on new additions to the noxious list they seem really determined to extinguish the keeping of any non-native fish species. I could rant for a bit here but I've had enough politics at work this week and I'm sliding into weekend mode.
    Cheers,
    Matt

  4. #4
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    The usual will happen every one will sit on there hands and let (what they think) every one else do some thing.
    The other out come will be every one complaining that there LFS is a rip off, because of the price rises.

    I am send my letter, SO GET OFF YOUR FAT BUTS AND DO SOMETHING, did I offend I was trying. Do IT.

    Bob

  5. #5
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    Well, letter writing has always been my forte, suffice to say though that in this instance I'm stuffed if I would know what to write. I can understand the industry getting up in arms about this possible scenario coming to pass & these clowns must surely be stopped or, at the very least, made to pull their moronic heads in to a reasonable degree, but what can we, as very small hobbyists who simply keep a few fish, say to them in order to protect our ability to still procure reasonably priced, imported tropical fish?

    If someone strings together a good 'un, care to share so we can all plagurise?
    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'

  6. #6
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    It is not possible, it WILL happen, they have been working on it for years, just to make sure it goes through.
    Jodie can probably come up with a draft letter, or some one else might.

    I have been banging on about this and some other things Bio and AQIS are doing for years and as usual people think it wont happen, please don't fool your selves.
    Some people will come up with stories about why it wont happen. But if it dose, it is to late then isn't it. So do your bit.

    If it happens it will only do me good, the price of the fish I produce will increase. I don't want that to happen, the number of fish we can keep is to small all ready.

    Bob

  7. #7
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    At the very least, I'd focus on: the shortness of time for the industry to prepare a reply; the size of the sample required for each batch's test (50-95%?! Fair go....); the lack of details on cost to the importer and, ultimately, the consumer; the lack of any clear evidence that megalocytiviruses are a threat to our ecosystems (aside from the fact that it sounds scary and ominous - cite the O.I.E. register as an authoritative source), and at the very least; the (reported) fact that there is currently no known test for presence of megalocytiviruses, which is supposedly their reason for introducing the testing.

    So basically: how do they justify implementing a requirement for a negative result on a test which doesn't exist....?
    Cheers,

    Rufus


    "I completely lost it. Well, okay, that sounded more awesome than what I really did, which was yell. And by yelling I mean sending a bunch of TEXT MESSAGES ALL IN CAPS!"

  8. #8
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    Good points Rufus, can you write a letter for all to use, If I do it it wont make sense. The shortness of time, this has been going around for a long while now, but I thought it was only Gouramis.

    This thing needs to stay near the top so all see it.

    On a different note, Quarantine was dumped on us pretty quick and the price of fish went up by a factor of 4 when it came in. The other thing People said they cant do that or wont do that, HELLO it has been here for 25 odd years.

    Bob

  9. #9
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    I have sent aletter of and spoke with my sitting federal member who doesn't seem to care so have made calls to other side and has a clue about and wiil call me back 10 days latter still waiting.
    I have spoken to quite a few shops who say its a done deal 2 are going to close and others a crossing fingers that it wont kill there business.( it will kill most shops as joe average will just wont spend 100 x cost on those fish on list and they will do all fish truss me on that )
    A Biosecurity Quarantine note i know some in industry have stuffed it up for others bring in fish that have been on ban list etc so they have bought this down to kill off import of fish because of the dodgy few.
    I bet they dont do it on export fish!

  10. #10
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    If this get's through what is the future of this hobby will it go down the drane for the common people and only the people who are earning the six figure income be able to afford it what about the supply and demand is it going to take over and send every thing throe the roof especially with the more rare species that are prone to diseases no one will import them any more so we might as well kiss some species good bye and be telling our grandchildren I use to have that fish before they stop importing it!!! so I had to have my say at least and this what I sent to them Hey you st@#!d F$#kin id%!ts Listen here if you don't stop this I'll just kiddin This what I really said LOL

    My question is how is this going to affect the industry of the buying selling of freshwater ornamental finfish for the consumer and the business owners. Have you done a cost analysis forecast's on the quarantine Procedure, the transport of fish there and back from the quarantine facility on average as well as death counts resulting from the medication and the stress of extended travel? This is the one question that everyone in this industry wants to know how is this going to affect me and the future of freshwater ornamental finfish? How is this going to affect the local business and Importers will they shut down from high costs of quarantine and will the consumers stop buying because of these high prices? I would like to see the other side of your report which is the cost analysis forecast for freshwater ornamental finfish 2011-2012 and for the business holders and the industry’s forecast in importing and local aquarium shops I'm not against protecting Australia’s waters from foreign diseases but would like to see how is this going to affect the industry and come up with more financially efficient idea's to keep cost down for Example one idea is to order the importers to have a big enough facility to handle quarantine for the ranaviruses and megalocytiviruses disease and have quarantine officers Inspect on every shipment and regular check ups on diseased fish and on releases into freshwater ornamental finfish industry or would that cost more just an idea?, in conclusion I would like to see a win win situation as in more jobs being created in a financially viable way for the industry instead of high prices causing closure of business and losses of job's in a recession I hope you take some of this on board and pick the best outcome for the protection of our water against foreign diseases and for the freshwater ornamental finfish industry I am looking forward to your reply on this matter as it's a industry that produces in excess of 450 million P.A to Australia's economy and general concern for the future of freshwater ornamental finfish Thank you for your time and hope that a fair judgment for both party's is accepted for the future of freshwater ornamental finfish.

    From David Gilbert

    I hope this Get's through to them and makes them think atlest the final draft isn't realistic nor acceptable with out thinking about how it going to effect everything like the hobbist, business's and Australia's economy and most importantly future of freshwater ornamental finfish for the next generation hope your brain didn't explode from all the reading but had to say my 2 cents atlest

  11. #11
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    It’s an interesting thread. The thin edge of the wedge was long ago with the increased quarantine periods for the gouramis et al. Given the lack of the test what is the chance the virus is already here and they are trying to close the gate once the horse has bolted? In my experience fairly high, particularly if WA was a lead on this issue through the health labs. I would hope the peak bodies would be contacting the prawn industry to make use of their lobbyists.

    Adam

  12. #12

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    Thanks fish chick I was waiting for this !
    This is the greatest Threat to our industry ever People have no idea what is currently happening and has been for years the problem is the states can not be dictated to by the commonwealth till now as the Biosecurity Act 2010 now over rides any act that is in place in any state so we are no longer protected by random discrepancies in state laws
    This now give the department huge powers to force people to comply to a "perceived threat" People Please Stand up and be counted call your local member and send off emails
    the industry body is toothless PIAA has not helped preferring the negotiation table to public advertising of the issues ??
    Darren

  13. #13
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    I agree this bio security is heavy handed, but hopefully local breeding industry will start up to take up the slack.
    Robert

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    Unfortunately the fish AQIS takes from this will be killed as they do not have the space to keep them.
    Also there is buggar all protests getting through so it looks like a done deal.
    When Quarantine came in Neon Tetras were a 10 to 15 cent fish, after Quarantine they were a 80 cent to $1.00 fish, this will do the same.

    Bob

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    If its a done deal, i guess its a good idea to invest in the fish you want now and not after?

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