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Annex I - Recommendations on shrimp health management (based on a workshop held in Cebu, Philippines in 1999 (WB/NACA/WWF/FAO, 2001)

Legislation, policy and planning

· Formulate national policies recognizing the importance of shrimp farming as a contributor to national development and assisting its sustainable and responsible development;

· develop improved legal frameworks, monitoring systems and enforcement capabilities to control and register importation and culture of alien shrimp species;

· recognise in legislation the differences between "soft laws", codes and guidelines, and regional or international agreements and WTO "hard laws";

· encourage or enforce farm registration and licensing;

· enforce coastal area management regulations of relevance to shrimp farming;

· critical analysis of approval process for shrimp farms farming alien species;

· legislate penalties for beaches of legislation or quarantine and illegal activities such as smuggling, examine the issue of liability;

· increase interaction between planners, policy makers, industry and other stakeholders to discuss strategies (and their application) for practical approaches to environmentally friendly and sustainable farming of alien shrimp species;

· implement, and if necessary, design, environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) that take account of disease transmission issues with imported species;

· formulate plans for comprehensive shrimp health management strategies using existing and novel approaches to correct problems in the environment, animal and pathogen; and

· develop contingency plans and provide financial, technical and educational assistance for farmers suffering from disease outbreaks.

Regional and international cooperation

· Member states must advise OIE of any outbreaks of listed pathogens;

· begin to regionally harmonize and implement Import Risk Analysis (IRA) to help prevent disease transmission. Training officials in the IRA process should be given priority;

· link national diagnostics and disease control systems with other countries' networks to strengthen regional cooperation;

· establish a regional disease information network/website and a timely disease reporting system;

· organize regional annual meetings and workshops on shrimp health management for dissemination of information;

· establish data base of facilities offering certified disease-free SPF and resistant SPR stocks;

· give priority to collaboration between Latin American and Asian regions for cross-fertilization of ideas; and

· recognize and identify the roles and inputs of NGOs.

Certification, best practice and codes of conduct

· Develop and/or apply "best practices" for management of the shrimp industry based on continuous refinements of the FAO CCRF and similar guidelines on aquaculture development. This should include incorporation of quality assurance programmes (HACCP) into all aspects of the shrimp culture system;

· develop government infrastructure and industry liaison, so that codes of practice can be developed and followed, certifications or accreditations made, expertise in disease control identified and communication and awareness raised for the benefit of both parties;

· there is a slow trend towards eco-labelling and certification of shrimp in international shrimp markets. The environmental advantages of P. vannamei, and particularly its requirement for lower protein use, provide some advantages to this species for an environmental certification or labelling scheme;

· most international Codes of Conduct, as well as new trace-ability requirements from the US and EU will require that shrimp are produced from legal farm operations, therefore, the legal status of P. vannamei farming in a country should be carefully considered, and clarified if necessary; and

· some organic farm certification schemes allow only culture of native species, so the farming of P. vannamei in an Asian country might prevent inclusion in such schemes.

Disease management issues

· Establish national reference pathology labs to inter-calibrate with, and assure the quality of, private disease labs, and collaborate with the existing OIE reference labs;

· initiate Quality assurance programmes, including standardization of techniques and training in disease diagnosis labs to ensure their utility in the control of disease transmission;

· require that all facilities exporting shrimp have a minimum 2 year disease free status, are certified as such and can submit independent, qualified certification of their status;

· submit properly collected samples of imported shrimp to certified disease diagnosis laboratories for assurance of disease-free status, whist maintaining shrimp in biosecure quarantine facilities before release into the environment; and

· conduct co-habitation trials of all imports with indigenous shrimp species to prevent the entry of unknown pathogens that pose high risks to local species.

Research and development

· Fund programmes to investigate methods of combating disease threats (with public/private sector cooperation);

· investigate advantages and disadvantages of alien shrimp for the culture industry of each country to determine its suitability for import;

· Establish closed cycle breeding programmes to produce high quality SPF and SPR seed used for stocking ponds for both alien and indigenous species;

· identify all potential viral pathogens and develop specific and sensitive tools for their detection appropriate for both lab and farmer level;

· research case-specific farming systems for each species so that it can be utilized optimally appropriate to local conditions;

· establish programmes to monitor aquatic environments in and around shrimp farming areas, including effects of culturing new species on wild populations;

· conduct routine analysis on the effects of new viruses on imported and indigenous hosts through cohabitation studies so that any effects or changes of viral pathogenicity can be monitored, and measures for its control investigated;

· conduct routine monitoring of wild shrimp populations for all pathogenic viruses, including an assessment of which species develop the disease and which act as carriers, with attempts made to discover the source of any contamination;

· assess the relative risk factors involved with each potential vector of shrimp pathogens to assist development of more appropriate intervention strategies for disease control;

· evaluate viability of alternative shrimp farming systems (i.e. utilizing low-salinity and/or inland farming areas and high density, low impact culture systems);

· investigate shrimp production and health management capabilities and practices to determine suitable codes and guidelines for culture of alien species;

· investigate best methods for dissemination of information pertaining to importation and management of alien shrimp species;

· develop epidemiological approaches to disease management;

· evaluate water treatment methods for their ability to reduce disease risk;

· develop simple, low-cost methods of reducing exposure to disease carriers; and

· Evaluate the effectiveness of green water and shrimp/fish polyculture techniques for reducing disease outbreaks.

Infrastructure, capacity building and training

· Establish a network of collaborating and cross-referencing disease diagnosis laboratories with state of the art equipment and trained manpower;

· consider reinvestment of export profits to improve health management capabilities;

· develop biosecure high-health maturation systems and hatcheries for alien and indigenous species with functional quarantine systems for holding imported animals whilst they are screened, and training facilities/extension for the local farmers;

· develop a programme for the culture and genetic selection of alien and indigenous species to aid development of improved broodstock with desirable culture characteristics, and training of farmers/ extension agents in this technology;

· allocate the necessary equipment, personnel, training and travel required for disease diagnosis, interpretation of test results, and assessment of shrimp health management practices at laboratory and farm level;

· where required, provide overseas training or seminars from experts for government employees, trainers, extension officers and farmers on the techniques required to produce alien species sustainably;

· improve information dissemination and increase farmer awareness of issues involved with the importation and culture of alien shrimp so that farmers have the facts and can clearly understand the potential risks and benefits involved. Collaboration between farmer's associations and the relevant government agencies would assist this process;

· establish databanks on all shrimp farms, perhaps using GIS technology for effective regulation, assessment, monitoring and law enforcement; and

· promote training in the epidemiology of major shrimp diseases to improve awareness and develop practical health management schemes at farm, national and regional levels.

Recent guidelines, code of practice and other instruments

· A recent FAO publication entitled "Health Management and Biosecurity Maintenance in White Shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) Hatcheries in Latin America" (FAO 2003) provides information on how to improve health and quality of P. vannamei postlarvae produced in hatcheries in Latin America, through improved facility maintenance and husbandry, broodstock maturation, larval rearing, feeding, water quality management, biosecurity, and health management, using interventions at different points of the hatchery production process.

· This document also provides valuable information on how Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) type interventions could be applied during hatchery production of P. vannamei postlarvae. The information provided in this document will contribute to the efforts by the P. vannamei hatchery operators and mangers in producing quality, disease free, healthy post larvae, thus improving overall production and sustainability of white shrimp aquaculture.

· Major protocols provided in the FAO (2003) document are listed in Annexes II and III.

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