From the Aquatic Animal Health Community of Asia-Pacific, 12 July 2005
The aquatic animal health community of Asia-Pacific and the world at large were shocked, speechless and deeply saddened to learn that Dr Francis Christian Baldock unexpectedly passed away at his residence in Brisbane, Australia on 6 July 2005.
In April 1996, twelve senior aquatic animal health scientists in Asia had the good fortune of first meeting Chris Baldock during the first Master Course on Aquatic Animal Epidemiology organized by the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR), the Aquatic Animal Health Research Institute (AAHRI) and the Network of Aquaculture Centres for Asia-Pacific (NACA). After that first encounter and two week interaction, everyone called him Chris. The rest is history.
In 1998, Chris joined the FAO Regional Technical Cooperation Programme on Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals in Asia-Pacific (TCP/RAS/6714(a) 9605(A)-a project for 21 Asian governments implemented by NACA. He actively participated in the extensive national consultation process from 1998-2000 and the three regional workshops. Chris also contributed significantly to the regional activities of FAO, NACA, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on programmes such as primary aquatic animal health care; risk analysis; surveillance and zoning; emergency preparedness and contingency planning; and aquatic animal health information systems.
He generously shared his time and expertise to contribute to the Fish Health Sections Symposia on Diseases in Asian Aquaculture - at DAA IV (Cebu, Philippines) as a Plenary Speaker; at DAA V (Gold Coast, Australia) as a member of the Local Organising Committee (Treasurer) and the Program Committee, as a Plenary Speaker, as Co-Moderator of the EUS Workshop, and as a Convener of the Epidemiology Training Course; and currently as a member of the International Scientific Programme Committee of DAA VI (Colombo, Sri Lanka, October 2005).
A driving force behind the International Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics (ISVEE), Chris consistently worked on including aquatic animal health sessions during ISVEE conferences-in 2000 during ISVEE IX in Fort Collins, Colorado which also gave birth to the International Society of Aquatic Animal Epidemiology (ISAAE); followed by ISVEE X in Santiago, Chile in 2003; and shortly before his demise, he was actively organizing one of seven concurrent thematic sessions on Aquatic Animal Epidemiology, for ISVEE XI, scheduled to be held in Cairns, Australia in August 2006. We will remember the important legacies which Chris unselfishly shared with the aquatic animal health community - epidemiology, risk analysis, surveillance and reporting, information systems, emergency preparedness and contingency planning - approaches which had hardly been applied to aquatic animal health management in Asia prior to 1996.
Chris was a natural trainer, always carrying loads of humour. Workshop participants from Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and the 37 countries represented during the risk analysis training courses in Thailand and Mexico will clearly remember Chriss natural wit, his excellent knowledge of his field, his skillful ability to communicate in very simple terms, and his extraordinary patience in explaining epi concepts to an audience with very little background on the subject. We fondly remember his thoughtfulness to trainees, providing give-aways or gifts whether one answers his question correctly or not, the surprise assignments, and his definition of a workshop - "You work, and I shop!"
We will miss you Chris. But deep in our hearts, we know that you are happy where you are now-as you were happy where you had been. No amount of words can ease the sadness and sorrow of your loved ones, but we hope that Trish, Sara, Christian and Patrick will find comfort in knowing that everyone who had the good chance of meeting you are all thankful for such an opportunity - we shall remember you and hold you in high esteem. Yes, you have left us-but to a greater community of family, friends and colleagues whom you have inspired one way or another. Thank you for sharing your passion for life. May you rest in peace and may Gods grace comfort all of us.