This volume is a compilation of the presentations, session discussions and reports of rapporteurs from the OIE International Conference on Risk analysis in aquatic animal health (held in Paris from 8 to 10 February 2000). This Conference provided the first opportunity to bring together experts in this important developing discipline. The meeting was held with the objective of provoking international dialogue and providing the latest information to scientists, academics and regulators responsible for developing, evaluating and implementing measures intended to protect aquatic animal health.
The poorly understood aspects of the life-cycles and survival parameters of fish and shellfish pathogens make the application of risk assessment difficult, even to the most studied models. However, as research is lacking in some important areas, risk assessment can be used to highlight research priorities. The Proceedings of this Conference therefore represent an attempt to resolve some of the surrounding issues and clarify the understanding of the risk analysis mechanism as applied to aquatic animals.
The contemporary nature of this topic is reflected in the content of the Proceedings which answers the current need for a reference work providing explanatory background detail. The final balance is a unique compilation of information that can be used both as an entry point for anyone wanting to learn more about the subject, as well as a tool for those who require the latest developments in the field. The sections provide a combination of overview and more specific information on aquatic animal health related to risk analysis methodology, areas of application, standardisation of monitoring programmes, pathogen survival and detection techniques. Forward-looking recommendations are also made and appendices include the text of the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) and a list of useful websites.
The OIE not only has a crucial role in supplying information on animal and aquatic animal health but is also the arbiter should disputes arise over health measures imposed on trade. The SPS Agreement stipulates that the animal health standards applied by countries to ensure the protection of animal and public health must be based on the international standards, guidelines and recommendations of the OIE. The practical application of OIE recommendations relating to international trade requires that both exporting and importing countries conduct risk analyses. Consequently, the Proceedings provide an indispensable collection of authorative papers that will promote advances in risk analysis for aquatic animal health and produce the necessary impetus for generating further interest. In addition, the Proceedings supplement the series of international recommendations already produced by the OIE.
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