Quarantine and Aquatic Quarantine Facility (AQF) সংঙ্গৰোধ আৰু জলজ পৃথকীকৰণ সুবিধা

~Md. Idrish Raja Khan


Quarantinemeans maintaining a group of aquatic animals in isolation with no direct orindirect contact with other aquatic animals, to undergo observation for a specifiedlength of time and, if appropriate, testing and treatment, including proper treatment of theeffluent waters. The purpose and scope of setting up of quarantine stations are to prevent the ingress of dangerous exotic diseases into the country through imported livestock and livestock products. The increased and faster international trade and travel exposed every country to the danger of infiltration of known and unknown transmissible diseases which have the potential of very serious and rapid spread, adverse socio-economic and human/animal health consequences.
There are many infectious diseases of livestock which are prevalent in other countries but luckily not present in India. It is, therefore, necessary that such exotic diseases do not enter our country through movement of livestock and livestock product from across the borders. The entire procedure of keeping a watch on livestock disease is the responsibility of the Office of International Epizooties (O.I.E.) through its International Zoo Sanitary Code. For this purpose, this organization has classified the prevalent disease as OIE listed diseases. An efficient Animal Quarantine Organization is necessary for conducting checks at the International Airports/Seaports and land routes. Because livestock may covertly carry pathogens without showing overt signs of clinical disease, they must be held in quarantine for observation and testing to establish their pathogen-free status before release.

What is Quarantine?

The International Aquatic Animal Health Code of the Office International des Epizootics (OIE, the World Animal Health Organization) defines the term “quarantine” as: “Maintaining a group of aquatic animals in isolation with no direct or indirect contact with other aquatic animals, to undergo observation for a specified length of time and, if appropriate, testing and treatment, including proper treatment of effluent waters.” (OIE, 2003).
A similar but slightly different definition was used by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia-Pacific (NACA) “Holding or rearing of aquatic animals under conditions which prevent their escape, and the escape of any pathogens they may be carrying, into the surrounding environment. This usually involves sterilization/disinfection of all effluent and quarantine materials.”
Keeping this in view, Government of India initiated a central sector scheme namely “Animal Quarantine & Certification Services” (AQCS) during the Fourth Five Year Plan (1969-74) under which four Animal Quarantine stations were set up at Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata & Mumbai and now two more quarantine stations at Hyderabad and Bangalore in 11th plan. The First quarantine station at Delhi was established in 1969, followed by Chennai in 1974, Kolkata in 1975 and Mumbai in 1981.
This technical requirement for setting up quarantine facilities can be categorized based on the general level of risk (as determined by risk analysis) represented by the specific consignment of aquatic animals being moved:
1. The quarantine of “high risk” species (e.g. aquatic animals being moved either internationally through introductions and transfers or domestically between regions of different health status that are destined for use in aquaculture)
2. The quarantine of “lower risk” species (e.g. aquatic animals destined for the ornamental trade) to improve bio security for aquatic animals whose trade is an established practice) and
3. The routine quarantine of aquatic animals at production facilities (e.g. new, domestically produced or locally captured broodstock or juveniles or animals whose movement has been contingent upon additional, more stringent, risk management measures, such as the use of SPF stocks, international health certification, pre-border and/or border quarantine, etc.).
• To prevent the ingress of any Exotic Livestock Diseases,
• To act as Defence force against ingress of exotic disease,
• To provide an internationally accepted certification service,
• To inspect and register the individual or organization exporting the animal by-products.
• Implementation of the provisions of the Livestock Importation Act and Central Government orders in force on importation and exportation of livestock and livestock products.
• Detention, segregation, observation and testing of livestock and livestock products meant for import/export.
• Destruction and disposal of imported livestock and livestock products found infected and posing threat to the national health security.
• Pre-shipment Quality control to increase national exchequer.
• To have a proper liaison with custom authorities for effective and proper implementation of livestock and livestock product importation Act.
• To be in close association with the state directors of animal husbandry regarding disease position and surveillance.
• To associate with the heads of various recognized laboratories in India for getting an expert opinion and for testing of materials.
The Basic Requirements of Effective Quarantine
• Adequate physical infrastructure appropriate to the level of containment required (secure facilities, secure intake water source, etc.
• Established operating protocols (including the chain of custody); and well-trained staff.
• Detailed information on the requirements for setting up and operating quarantine facilities for exotic species and for routine ornamental fish trade
Quarantine within aquatic animal bio security and the risk analysis process
In the past, quarantine was often seen as a separate activity, and as a procedurethat should be applied to all imports of living aquatic animals, often withthe unrealistic goal of “zero risk” of disease entry to the importing country. Biosecurity is indissociatable part quarantine measures, so it becomes to also understand the biosecurity. Biosecurityin general terms is a strategic and integrated approach toanalyzing and managing relevant risks to human, animal (including aquatic), plantlife and health and associated risks to the environment (FAO, 2007).

Risk management measures complementary to quarantine

The decision whether to require quarantine or other biosecurity measures should be done on a case-by-case basis and determined by a risk analysis. Risk reduction measures are subdivided into pre-border and post-bordermeasures.
A.Pre-border measures :Pre-border measures are often critically dependent on the inspection, certification and compliance regime of the exporting country and are most effective when undertaken as a cooperative undertaking by the competent authorities (CA) of the importing and exporting countries.
1.Certification of production source
The inspection, testing and certificationof hatcheries and other aquacultureproduction facilities as free from specific pathogens is a highly effective method to assure freedom from many serious diseases.
2. Use of specific pathogen free (SPF) stocks
The development of SPF stocksfor some species of penaeid shrimp (SPF Litopenaeusvannamei, L. stylirostrisand Penaeus monodon are currently available) is a goodinitiative to provide shrimp growers and hatcheries with broodstock andpostlarvae of known health status with regard to certain pathogens.
Sourcing stock from production facilities located in disease-free zones is another highly effective method to assure that the aquatic animals being moved are free from certain serious pathogens.
4.Restrictions on life cycle stages
Juvenile stages and especially fertilized eggs generally carry fewer subclinical infections than do adult animals. Restricting importations to surface-disinfected fertilized eggs is often an effective way to prevent the movement of parasites, most bacteria and some viruses.
5.Lists of approved species
Allowing importation only of certain preapproved “lower risk” species is an effective means to reduce the likelihood of pathogen introduction. Such lists should be country-specific as determined
by risk analysis, taking into consideration the various national factors.

6. Lists of approved exporting countries
Importing countries may wish to establish lists of exporting countries that have met preset risk management conditions and thus can be pre-approved as lower risk sources for certain
types of aquatic animals. Such conditions might include, for example:
• Presence of disease surveillance, monitoring and reporting programmes
• Existence of zoning programmes
• Existence of production facility health certification programmes
• Evaluation of the CA
• Existence of standard operating procedures (SOPs) or better management practices (BMPs)
• The existence of contingency plans for serious disease outbreaks.
7. On-site inspection of exporting facilities

For movements of “high risk” species, the officials of the importing country may wish to make on-site visits to the proposed hatchery or other production facilities to verify the biosecurity measures that are in place to support claims of health status.

8. Evaluation of Competent Authorities

In cases where, as part of a risk assessment, the officials of an importing country has uncertainty regarding the zoosanitary measures used by a potential exporting country, an evaluation may help to relieve any specific concerns.

9. International and other health certificates

Requiring international health certificates for specific OIE-listed diseases of concern to the importing country can provide a high level of assurance that consignments are free of the specified diseases.

10. Pre-border quarantine and temporary holding

Risks to the importing country posed by “high risk” species can be reduced by conducting quarantine and disease testing of the stock/consignment or aquatic animals to be imported in the exporting country, or in a third country having appropriate quarantine capacity. Pre-border quarantine holding of “lower risk” aquatic animals in the exporting country can also allow time for any diseases or infections to become evident.

11.Preshipment treatment: In some cases, the use of pre-shipment treatments can reduce the risk of pathogen transfer.
12. Inspection, certification and compliance audits.

Establishing auditing procedures to verify that exporters, importers, officials and private contracting agencies are strictly adhering to specified protocols and requirements should be considered.

B. Post-border measures

1. Restrictions on initial use.

Placing restrictions on the initial use of introduced or transferred aquatic animals provides the opportunity to detect any introduced diseases prior to the animal’s general release into the naturalenvironment and increases the opportunity for control and eradication.

2. Monitoring programmes

Inclusion of a disease surveillance component within monitoring programmes for introduced or transferred aquatic animal species can be used to confirm that serious diseases have not been spread to new environments and in the case where serious exotic pathogens have escaped detection in quarantine, will help minimize their impacts by allowing containment or eradication programmes to be initiated at an early stage.

3. Contingency planning

All proposals for introductions and transfers should include planning for actions to be taken in case escape of animals or pathogens from quarantine occur or a serious pathogen fail to be detected during quarantine and be released into aquaculture facilities or the natural environment.

Standards and guidelines for Quarantine

The International Council for the Exploration of the SEA (ICES) in its “ICES Code of Practice on the Introductions and Transfers of Marine Organisms”provides a recommended protocol for the introduction or transfer of live marine organisms that includes a decision-making process incorporating consideration of risks due to possible ecological (pest), pathogen and genetic impacts of the species being moved to the receiving country. Once a decision has been made to introduce or transfer an aquatic organism, the ICES Code provides a general protocol on how the movement should occur, with long-term quarantine being a fundamental component. Appendix C of the ICES Code provides brief general guidelines for the operation of quarantine facilities for aquatic animals destined for introduction or transfer.
Period of quarantine
The quarantine period will vary depending on the time required to complete thehealth screening procedure. In all cases, animals should be kept under observation in the quarantine facility until all tests are completed and each organism’s healthstatus is known.
Quarantine is an important risk management measure that can be applied toreduce the risk posed by serious aquatic animal diseases when aquatic animalsare moved internationally or domestically between different regions or zones, orwhen new broodstock or other life cycle stages are introduced into hatcheries andother aquaculture production facilities.For international movements, the decision to require pre-border, border and/or post-border quarantine of live aquatic animals should be made based on riskanalysis, and stringency of quarantine to be applied should be commensurate withthe estimated risk. The first movement (introduction) of a new species (an exotic)is likely to require use of highly stringent protocols, such as those outlined by ICES (2005).The quarantine of broodstock and other life cycle stages entering aquacultureproduction facilities can be routinely applied to reduce the likelihood ofintroducing serious diseases to the facility that will cause morbidity, mortality andassociated production and financial losses.

Further reading
1. Procedures for the quarantineof live aquatic animals:a manual.FAO fisheries technical paper 502. Food and Agriculture and Organization of the United Nations Rome, 2008.2. Mandates given by Govt of India on “ANIMAL QUARANTINE AND CERTIFICATION SERVICES (AQCS)”.

3. NFDB manual on Guidelines for Import of Asian Seabass/ Barramundi (Latescalcarifer) Seeds and Fingerlings
4. Arthur, J. R. (2004). The role of quarantine in preventing the spread of serious pathogens of aquatic animals in Southeast Asia. In C. R. Lavilla-Pitogo& K. Nagasawa (Eds.), Transboundary Fish Diseases in Southeast Asia: Occurence, Surveillance, Research and Training. Proceedings of the Meeting on Current Status of Transboundary Fish Diseases in Southeast Asia: Occurence, Surveillance, Research and Training, Manila, Philippines, 23-24 June 2004 (pp. 25-33). Tigbauan, Iloilo, Philippines: SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department.


~Md. Idrish Raja Khan, Department of Aquatic Health Environment, College of Fisheries, CAU,Lembucherra, Tripura.

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