Procedures for the quarantine of live aquatic animals

FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 502

Procedures for the quarantine
of live aquatic animals

A manual


J. Richard Arthur
FAO Consultant
Barriere, British Columbia, Canada

Melba G. Bondad-Reantaso
Fishery Resources Officer (Aquaculture)
Aquaculture Management and Conservation Service
Fisheries and Aquaculture Management Division
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
Rome, Italy


Rohana P. Subasinghe
Senior Fishery Resources Officer (Aquaculture)
Aquaculture Management and Conservation Service
Fisheries and Aquaculture Management Division
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
Rome, Italy

Rome, 2008

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ISBN 978-92-5-105977-7

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© FAO 2008

Arthur, J.R.; Bondad-Reantaso, M.G.; Subasinghe, R.P.
Procedures for the quarantine of live aquatic animals: a manual.
FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 502. Rome, FAO. 2008. 74p.


Quarantine is an important risk management measure and a key activity that should be considered when developing national strategies for aquatic animal health management. It can also be used effectively to increase biosecurity at the farm production level.

This manual outlines the technical requirements for setting up quarantine facilities at three levels, based on the general level of risk (as determined by risk analysis) represented by the specific consignment of aquatic animals being moved: (i) the quarantine of high risk species (e.g. aquatic animals being moved either internationally through introductions and transfers or domestically between regions of different health status that are destined for use in aquaculture, capture fishery development or other applications where release or escape of animals or any pathogens they may be carrying into the natural environment is likely to occur; (ii) the quarantine of lower risk species (e.g. aquatic animals destined for the ornamental trade) to improve biosecurity for aquatic animals whose trade is an established practice; and (iii) the routine quarantine of aquatic animals at production facilities (e.g. new, domestically produced or locally captured broodstock or juveniles or animals whose movement has been contingent upon additional, more stringent, risk management measures, such as the use of Specific Pathogen Free stocks, international health certification, pre-border and/or border quarantine, etc.).

This manual should be useful to government policy-makers and responsible national and state agencies in assessing their need for quarantine capacity and in implementing aquatic animal quarantine in an effective and cost-efficient manner within the framework of national and state aquatic biosecurity programmes. It also provides useful guidance to responsible agencies, their technical staff and the private sector in setting up of effective quarantine facilities and their daily operation.


Part 1 (297 kb)

Preparation of this document
Abbreviations and acronyms

Part 2 (604 kb)

1. Introduction
1.1  Purpose, approach and target audience
1.2  Definitions
1.3  What is quarantine?
1.4  Quarantine within aquatic animal biosecurity and the
       risk analysis process
1.5  Examples from actual experience
2. Standards and guidelines for quarantine

3. General considerations
3.1 Importance of risk analysis
3.2 General principles of quarantine
3.3 Some factors limiting the application of quarantine
3.4 Use of disinfectants, antibiotics and other chemicals
      and drugs in quarantine facilities
4. Recommended standards of construction, security
    and operation for quarantine facilities for high-risk
    movements (introductions and transfers)
4.1  General
4.2  Period of quarantine
4.3  Standards of construction
4.4  Standards of operation
4.5  Disposal of packing materials
4.6  Work practices
4.7  Occurrence of an outbreak of a serious exotic disease
4.8  Record keeping requirements
4.9  Auditing
4.10 Security
4.11 Contingency plans
5. Recommended standards of construction, security and
    operation for quarantine facilities for lower-risk
    movements: standards for ornamental aquatic animals
5.1  General
5.2  Period of quarantine
5.3  Standards of construction
5.4  Standards of operation
5.5  Disinfection of equipment
5.6  Disposal of dead aquatic animals
5.7  Disposal of packing materials
5.8  Work practices
5.10 Occurrence of an outbreak of a serious exotic disease
5.11 Record keeping requirements
5.12 Logbooks
5.13 Auditing
5.14 Security
5.15 Contingency plans
6. Recommended procedures for quarantine of aquatic
    animals in aquaculture production facilities
6.1 General
6.2 Period of quarantine
6.3 Standards of construction
6.4 Standards of operation
Part 3 (247 kb)

7. Conclusions

8. References

Annex 1 –  Policy for the importation of Atlantic salmon into British Columbia

Annex 2 –  Disinfectants and disinfecting procedures mentioned in this manual