National Aquatic Animal Health Plan for the United States

Formal title: Docket Number [APHIS-2008-0096] National Aquatic Animal Health Plan for the United States; Notice of Availability

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) advised the public that a National Aquatic Animal Health Plan (NAAHP) is being made available for public review and comment.

Brief Description:

The NAAHP was developed by a Task Force led by APHIS, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). It is anticipated that this plan will provide a framework for how APHIS, FWS, and NMFS should develop programs for diseases that affect the health of aquatic animals including finfish, crustaceans, and mollusks.

AVMA Response:

The AVMA appreciates the opportunity to provide comments on the proposed NAAHP and applauds the agencies and the National Aquatic Animal Health Task Force (NAAHTF) for this initiative. If appropriately designed and implemented, an effective NAAHP will assist States and the U.S. to develop suitable aquatic animal disease prevention, control and eradication programs; will expedite actions towards the U.S. meeting international standards; and will assist aquatic animal industries. Most importantly, the AVMA hopes that the NAAHP will guide States in developing harmonious and uniform approaches and regulations, stimulate increased production for both commercial aquatic livestock and harvest fisheries replenishment, and increase and facilitate interstate and international trade.

 AVMA offered comment on:

  • Formation of a National Advisory Committee for Aquatic Animal Health (NACAAH) is imperative and the NAAHP needs to be regularly updated, at least annually
  • Recommend that NAAHP be revised to incorporate only general principles rather than specific details
  • Clarification of the role of appropriate regulatory authorities for coordinating this plan is needed
  • Clarification in regards to the importance of reporting diseases, which diseases to report, and to whom they should be reported is needed
  • An integrated approach to biosecurity that includes disease hazard identification, prioritization, risk-analysis, diagnostics, surveillance, and contingency plans for any epidemiological unit would be a model to follow

Background Documents:

The AVMA responded on October 19, 2009 (PDF)

Propose National Aquatic Animal Health Plan (PDF)

August 21, 2009 Federal Register notice (PDF)