International conference on aquatic animal health opens

Update: January, 21/2015 - 09:24

HCM CITY (VNS) — Viet Nam has said it will continue to co-operate with the World Organisation for Animal Health and its members to effectively implement policies to control diseases affecting aquatic creatures and chemical and antibiotic residues in them.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam made the statement at the opening ceremony of the third OIE Global Conference on Aquatic Animal Health that opened in HCM City yesterday.

"Aquaculture has played in an important role in the country's economic development," he said.

The annual fisheries output increased by 4-6 per cent a year in the past decade, with aquaculture growth being a more rapid 10 per cent, he said.

Vietnamese exported fisheries products to many countries and territories, he said.

"But, like in many other countries, Viet Nam's aquaculture industry is faced with threats," he said.

"The country has been implementing measures to supervise, prevent and control diseases afflicting aquatic creatures and monitor chemical and antibiotic residues in aquatic products," he added.

Bernard Vallat, director general of the OIE, said, "Aquaculture is recognised as the fastest growing food animal producing sector in the world, with nearly 50 per cent of the global supply of aquatic animals for human consumption now derived from aquaculture.

"However, aquatic animal disease outbreaks continue to cause significant losses in aquaculture production throughout the world and are having a major detrimental impact on economies in some countries and regions."

These disease outbreaks threaten to limit this rapidly expanding sector unless the governance of veterinary services and aquatic animal health services is strengthened and effective aquatic animal health policies, and programmes complying with OIE standards are implemented to prevent or control the outbreaks, according to Vallat.

The three-day conference, titled "Riding the wave to the future," is focusing on requirements for effective aquatic animal health management, issues under the OIE mandate, and providing practical advice for implementing OIE standards for animal health to ensure effective prevention of diseases.

Besides, around 300 Vietnamese and foreign experts will also share their experiences in developing and managing aquatic animal health programmes and ensuring safe international trade in aquatic animal products.

"We will adopt recommendations to be implemented by all countries, including Viet Nam, … because in many countries they have a big problem with diseases," Vallat said.

Implementation of OIE standards would help improve production and safety in international trade, thus ensuring a sustainable sector that can provide high-quality animal protein for the growing human population, he said.

The OIE is an inter-governmental organisation that is responsible for improving animal health world-wide. It is recognised as a reference organisation by the World Trade Organisation and has more than 178 member countries. — VNS