TCP/RAS /6714(A)

Field Document No. 2



Based on the work of

Dr. J. Richard Arthur

FAO Consultant on Quarantine and Health Certification


Bangkok, July 1998



Table of Contents


2. National Workshops

3. Assistance to the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR)

4. Other Activities

Annex I



The consultant is engaged in collaboration with FAO for the preparation of guidelines on disease prevention and health management in coastal shrimp culture, with direct inputs in the projects supported by the Technical Cooperation Programme in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, as well as the Regional Project "Development of Technical Guidelines on Quarantine and Health Certification, and Establishment of Information Systems for the Responsible Movement of Live Aquatic Animals in Asia" (TCP/RAS/6714) executed by FAO in collaboration with Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) and Organisation International des Epizooties (OIE). In this context, and taking advantage of his presence in the region, the consultant was called upon to participate as a resource person in the GOI/NACA/FAO orientation workshops held in India during 28 - 31 May 1998.

2. National Workshops

At each workshop, the consultant gave, as part of the workshop session relative to the Regional Programme Overview, a presentation entitled "Status of Programs for Quarantine and Certification of Aquatic Animals in the Asia-Pacific Region." As part of the National Experts Orientation Workshop session on "Familiarisation and Data Entry Exercise," the consultant presented an "Introduction to the Aquatic Animal Pathogen and Quarantine Information System (AAPQIS)," which was followed by a hands-on training session on the use of AAPQIS for the participants given by the consultant and Mr. Yong Ming Yuan, Database and Information Project Officer, of NACA. The reporting consultant also contributed to the general discussions towards developing a national strategy and approach for a system for disease monitoring, a national database on aquatic animal pathogens, identification of national development needs, and drafting of workshop recommendations.

Two key outcomes of the workshop were (1) the designation of the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR) (Dr. AG. Pooniah, Director), as the national lead centre ("nodal point") for quarantine and certification of aquatic animals; and (2) a recommendation that the GOI establish an All India Co-ordinated Project for quicker implementation of the proposed activities. The project would provide assistance to states in the development of disease reporting systems, training, awareness building and information exchange activities, development of guidelines for quarantine and health certification and would provide technical and other assistance as required. A full report of the outcomes of the national workshops is being prepared by NACA, Bangkok.

3. Assistance to the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR)

The GOI is currently constructing a large research facility to house the NBFGR on 50 acres of land on the outskirts of Lucknow. The administrative wing is nearing completion and is expected to be occupied by August. The research wing is under construction and is hoped to be finished later this year.

NBFGR currently has a staff of 14 scientists, and under the upcoming 9th five year plan, will be hiring an additional 40 scientific staff. The institute has recently been charged with being the "nodal" agency for introduction of exotic aquatic animals into India, including responsibility for the national quarantine programme. Currently three staff are assigned to this project, Dr. A.K. Singhe, Farm Manager, Dr. R. Abidi and Dr. N. Sood, Scientists. A three-year research program focussing on the parasites and diseases of exotic and native cultured freshwater fishes is currently being formulated and will include the following components:

1. Establishment of a National Database on Fish Diseases

2. Studies on pathogenic parasites and diseases of economically important exotic (2 species) and native fish species (4 species, including 3 Indian major carps).

3. Studies to document the spread of exotic aquatic animals in India.

The project currently has a basic fish health laboratory. As project staff lack expertise and in-depth training in fisheries parasitology, they are currently obtaining some short-term training and taxonomic assistance from staff at the local university.

In order for this group to function as the national lead centre for aquatic animal health, considerable development of manpower (short-term and post-graduate training) and infrastructure (laboratory equipment, computing, library and other information facilities) will be needed. Some of these requirements will be met by ICAR funding; however, additional inputs from donor agencies would be highly beneficial.

The group currently lacks the detailed expertise in parasite taxonomy and systematics needed to conduct work at an acceptable international standard. Although India has a long history of fisheries parasitology that has produced a vast descriptive literature, much of the published work is of poor quality and the plethora of inadequately and inaccurately described species has severely hindered attempts by both national and international experts to understand the true species composition and geographic distributions of the parasites of Indian fishes. To a large extent, this problem is due to inadequate training in, and understanding of, principles of parasite taxonomy and systematics; to the tendency of workers in the region to establish new species based on insufficient morphological criteria; and a lack of knowledge of, and access to, taxonomic literature, both nationally and internationally. The research group at NBFGR could make major advances towards improving this situation, but will be able to do so only if they are given adequate long-term specialized training and they have access to the world literature.

Although there are plans to establish a quarantine facility at NBFGR, this facility could not serve the national needs regarding routine inspection and holding of species for which there is established trade. This is due to the location of NBFGR in Lucknow, which is not near a major entry point or international border. NBFGR could serve as a high level, maximum security quarantine facility for the holding, inspection and evaluation of aquatic animal species proposed for introduction into India.

A major portion of the proposed national database on aquatic animal pathogens would duplicate information to be contained in AAQPIS. The consultant demonstrated AAPQIS to NBFGR staff and suggested that they restructure their database to take advantage of information present in AAQPIS (e.g., AAPQIS' pathogen database, with information on regional distributions, systematics, treatments, etc.). An AAPQIS CD ROM and a copy of the literature files for India (both abstracted and non-abstracted references) were provided to NBFGR staff.

It was later clarified with Dr. Y. S. Yadava (Fisheries Development Commissioner for India) that NBFGR would act as the lead centre for collection of national data on aquatic animal diseases, and would liase with NACA with regard to AAPQIS, while the Fisheries Development Commissioner would act as the national focal point for collection, collation and transmission of current disease data to NACA under the NACA/OIE disease monitoring program.

4. Other Activities

On June 4, the consultant briefed Mr. Peter Rosenegger (FAOR), Ms. Renuka Taimni (Programme Officer), and Mr. Brijeshwar Singhe (National Professional Officer) of FAO's New Delhi Office on the results of the India National Workshops. Requirements, focussed on training, to assist the GOI with development of capacity for implementing quarantine and certification of aquatic animals was discussed.

Subsequently, the consultant, accompanied by Mr. Singhe, visited the Ministry of Agriculture, where discussions were held with Dr. Y.S. Yadava (Fisheries Development Commissioner) during which a possible proposal for an assistance project was discussed. Afterward, a briefing was given to Mr. N. Rama Rao (Joint Secretary for Fisheries). The need for rapid development of, and strong political support for, the proposed "All India Project" was emphasized to the Joint Secretary by all parties.

Annex I

Mission Schedule and Persons Met

26 May Arrive Calcutta 18:50

Travel to Barrackpore

27 May Central Inland Capture Fisheries Tour of institute and

Research Institute discussion of research

Dr. Maniranjan Sinha (Director) program with scientific staff and CIFRI staff

Depart Barrackpore/Calcutta 18:15/19:10

/Arrive Bhubaneswar

28 May Central Institute of Freshwater GOI/NACA/FAO

Aquaculture (CIFA) National Orientation Workshop; Program A: National Experts

Orientation Workshop

29 May Central Institute of Freshwater GOI/NACA/FAO National

Aquaculture (CIFA) OrientationWorkshop;

Program A: (continued)

30 May Central Institute of Freshwater GOI/NACA/FAO National

Aquaculture (CIFA) OrientationWorkshop;

Program B: Orientation for State Fisheries Officers

31 May Central Institute of Freshwater GOI/NACA/FAO National

Aquaculture (CIFA) OrientationWorkshop;

Program B (continued)

1 June Depart Bhubaneswar/Arrive Lucknow 13:20/18:30

2 June National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources Tour of new institute under

Dr. A.K. Singhe (Farm Manager) construction; review of research

Dr. D. Kapoor (Senior Scientist) programs; discussion of national

Dr. Rehana Abidi (Scientist) data base for aquatic animal

and other staff pathogens

3 June Depart Lucknow/Arrive Dehli 07:20/08:10

FAO India Briefing on National

Mr. Peter Rosenegger (FAOR) Workshop and discussion

Ms. Renuka Taimni (Programme Officer) of possible TCP project

4 June FAO India Briefing

Mr. Brijeshwar Singhe

(National Professional Officer)

Ministry of Agriculture Discussion of national

Dr. Y.S. Yadava aquatic animal quarantine

(Fisheries Development Comissioner) programme

Mr. B. Singhe

Mr. N. Rama Rao Courtesy call and briefing

(Joint Secretary for Fisheries)

5 June Depart Dehli/Arrive Rome 02:30/11:30

FAO Headquarters Mission debriefing

Dr. Subasinghe