October 01, 2009


 Comments accepted on national aquatic animal health plan

Posted Sept. 15, 2009 

Federal authorities are accepting comments on a framework for combating disease in fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.

The Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Department of Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Commerce's National Marine Fisheries Service led the task force that developed the National Aquatic Animal Health Plan for the United States. Comments submitted by Oct. 20 will be considered, according to an Aug. 21 Federal Register notice.

The AVMA has worked with the federal agencies involved in drafting the plan since the concept of a national aquatic animal health plan was formulated in the early 2000s.

Dr. W. Ron DeHaven, AVMA CEO, said the AVMA is pleased to have the opportunity to comment on the draft aquatic animal health plan. The plan has been a long time coming, he said, and it represents good coordination among three government agencies and private sector organizations, including the AVMA.

"This draft plan is an important step in greater involvement of veterinary medicine in aquatic animal health," Dr. DeHaven said. "This is a huge potential growth area for our profession, and I hope we are able to take advantage of this opportunity."

Dr. A. David Scarfe, assistant director of the AVMA Scientific Activities Division, said he anticipates implementation of the federal plan will require extensive use of the nation's aquatic veterinary medical resources and workforce. He also said portions of the guidance document will inevitably become part of federal regulations.

The AVMA was reviewing the document at press time and intended to provide comments.

To submit or view comments, go to www.regulations.gov and search for APHIS-2008-0096.