Veterinary Licensing in U.S. Waters Outside State Jurisdiction

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Comment on this policy The practice of veterinary medicine is required for the health and welfare of aquatic animals in U.S. waters outside of state jurisdiction. Throughout the U.S., involvement of veterinarians is required for diagnosing, prescribing, issuing VFDs and international health certificates, and other acts of veterinary practice. For these reasons, the AVMA holds that licensed and federally accredited veterinarians must be utilized in aquaculture systems within U.S. waters outside of state jurisdiction.

The AVMA recommends that the criteria for veterinarians to practice veterinary medicine in these waters consist of three components:

  1. The veterinarian is licensed and in good standing to practice veterinary medicine in any state within the U.S.
  2. The veterinarian holds a USDA-APHIS category II veterinary accreditation that includes completion of USDA-APHIS aquatic animal health modules.
  3. The veterinarian has a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship with the facility in which he/she is practicing veterinary medicine.

Furthermore, AVMA recommends that USDA-APHIS-VS be the lead agency for aquatic animal health oversight for commercially cultured aquatic animals in waters outside state jurisdiction.