Risk analysis is something that we all do intuitively in our everyday life as well as in our professional work. Only recently has it developed into a more formal discipline, and its is now used in an increasingly diverse range of fields, including aquatic animal health management. In aquatic animal health, it is widely applied to evaluate risks associated with international trade imports. Risk analyses are used in reaching decisions on appropriate disease lists for federal control programmes, health certification, and disease control measures/conditions applied to imports into a particular country in order to reduce the risk of such diseases impacting on vulnerable resources within the country to the country’s acceptable level of risk (i.e. to below the appropriate level of protection).
Risk analysis is a tool that can also be used to good advantage for animal disease emergency preparedness. International standards for import risk analysis are contained in the Aquatic Animal Health Code (OIE, 2004). A Manual on Risk Analysis for the Safe Movement of Aquatic Animals (Arthur et al., 2004) provides a simplified overview of the risk analysis process to assist responsible individuals to formulate national policies and develop approaches for conducting risk analyses for pathogens.
In the context of contingency planning, risk analysis works at two levels: