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The aim of the Aquatic Code is to contribute to improving the health and welfare of aquatic animals (amphibians, crustaceans, fish and molluscs) worldwide while assuring the sanitary safety of international trade in aquatic animals and their products. This is achieved through the detailing of health measures in the Aquatic Code. The Competent Authorities of importing and exporting countries should use the OIE standards to avoid the transfer of agents pathogenic for aquatic animals or humans, while avoiding unjustified trade barriers.
The value of the Aquatic Code is twofold; firstly, the sanitary measures recommended are the result of consensus among the Veterinary Authorities of OIE Members, and secondly, it constitutes a reference within the WTO SPS Agreement as an international standard for animal health and zoonoses of aquatic animals, as well as a key standard for the prevention and control of aquatic animal diseases.
The Aquatic Code is arranged in sections as follows; Section 1 includes chapters on notification of OIE listed diseases, criteria for listing aquatic animal diseases, OIE listed diseases and surveillance; Section 2 includes chapters on import risk analysis; Section 3 includes chapters on the quality of aquatic animal health services; Section 4 includes chapters on general recommendations for disease prevention and control; Section 5 includes chapters focused on topics relating to trade measures, import and export procedures and certification; Section 6 includes chapters on the control of hazards in aquatic animal feed and responsible and prudent use of antimicrobial agents in aquatic animals; Section 7 includes chapters on welfare of farmed fish duringtransport and killing; Sections 8 to 11 include disease specific chapters for OIE listed diseases of amphibians, crustaceans, molluscs and fish, and are designed to prevent the disease in question being introduced into the importing country, taking into account the nature of the commodity and the aquatic animal health status of the exporting country.