Batch testing and wild bettas

188 posts in this topic

Posted

I had a note from Glenn Briggs the other day saying if batch testing for iridovirus comes in and it may well in the next 6 months then low turnover fish like wild bettas would not be imported.He suggests getting in while we can.I reckon we have 12-15 species of wilds at the moment but they are hard to keep going (esp the larger mouthbrooders).Im not sure what this legislation will do to small operators like someone

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Posted (edited)

I have came across this the other day,

it is going to effect a lot of fish keepers I think,

price increases as well.

Edited by jo oakley

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Posted

D=

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Posted (edited)

will this affect 'show bettas' - ie quality breeding stock for wilds/others or just the bulk imports?

Would hate to pay $100 for a pair only to have AQIS or whoever confiscate them as a test sample from a shipment or is this not how they will do it?

Edited by fishbites

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Posted

Would hate to pay $100 for a pair only to have AQIS or whoever confiscate them as a test sample from a shipment or is this not how they will do it?

We dont know at this stage.Glenn used the example of Altum angels,if they import 50 then 30 may be sampled(and thus killed).I think the crap fighters would be fine but those imported in small numbers(?less than 2-500)may be in trouble.Glenn says we need to wait a few months until the bofins in Canberra have made up their minds.Fortunately the legislation targets cichlids and there are lots of aggressive cichlid keepers that will kick up a fuss

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Posted

Just did a bit of searching and reading - apparently they're targeting cichlids, live bearers including guppies and gourami, paradise fish and betta families as well!!!!!

The proportion of fish to be tested (and killed) in each batch is ridiculous and the costs per test would surely make importing bettas a no go zone for all but those who are prepared to mortgage their houses!

Let's hope the aquarium industry in Australia can get the public servants to see some sense (says he hopefully)....

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Posted

whhhaaa why do the kill them ?????

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Posted

For scientific purposes Neffy.... to test them for iridovirus....

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Posted

I have read that the test will be $250-$400 (paid by importer)fish of the gourami, cichlid and poeciliid families seem to be on the listand the scary part is,

Stakeholders may lodge an appeal in writing to the Import Risk Analysis Appeals Panel—a body independent of Biosecurity Australia. The panel has advised that any appeals must be received by 23 August 2010. The appeal must outline a claim or claims based on the ground that there was a significant deviation from the regulated IRA process that adversely affected the interests of a stakeholder. Each claim must be supported by a statement of reasons.

Not much time, I hope someone has got it together to put in an appeal.

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Posted

What we ought to do in the meantime is import as many as we can and get a decent local population going.

Anyone interested?

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Posted

Please read the following.

ACT NOW. - call, email, write - express your horror and dismay - outline the impact on the hobby.

How will Australia ever get a betta show circuit?

If this legislation is passed then say goodbye to all bettas (except perhaps veiltails)

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN WITH IMPORTING ORNAMENTAL FISH.

I am informing all readers of this email, that Biosecurity Australia has just finalized their draft on all imported Iridoviruses affecting all imported ornamental finfish in the varieties of all Cichlids, all Gouramis, and all Livebearers. They have had this on the watch for almost 3.5 years and have now released the final draft report to us on 23/7/10, and have given Industry until 23/8/10 to respond to their findings.

Their final report recommends that all Cichlids, all Gouramis, and all Livebearers as well as all Betta spp, and paradise fish species are also in the batch-testing procedures and each will have to be batch-tested post arrival in Australia for a group of so-called megalocytiviruses all on the species mentioned above, and yet, there is no test for megalocytiviruses anywhere in the world and these viruses are not on the O.I.E. register as diseases of quarantine concern. They currently use a PCR test to determine if any imported species mentioned above have any of these megalocytiviruses attached to them. There is no mention in their very lengthy report about how much each batch would cost to be tested, but the old adage “user pays” will mean that the costs will be born by all Importers, and on every batch of the above mentioned species, not to mention the lose of the species removed for testing.

That is a big problem for all Importers and for everyone within the Aquarium Industry, BUT, that is not the major shock. The problem lies in the fact that there is a sliding scale of how many species are removed for testing from each batch of fish that is imported. If an Importer brings in 20 Discus varieties, or 20 Frontosa species (at a minimum of 12cm) then the authorities will take away and test 19 fish from each batch. If you bring in 50 of any of the fish species mentioned, they will take away 35, if 100, they will remove 45, just to name a few. THIS KIND OF IMPOST WILL NOT BE ABLE TO BE BORN BY ALL SMALLER AND EVEN SOME LARGER IMPORTERS. If you want details log onto the following site, then scroll down until you see Appendix 5 where the sliding scale of batch-tested removal is shown. The site is www.daff.gov.au/ba/ira/current-animal/ornamental_finfish

If this comes into being, there will be no importsof any Cichlid varieties as the cost would be too exorbitant for any Importer, and that would presumably include the two biggest Importers. So, in its application there will probably be no imports of Discus, Frontosa, Featherfins, Tropheus, Apistogramma, Neolamprologus or any dwarf cichlids for that matter, and just about all smaller operators will close their doors due to such heavy handed approach to our Industry by Biosecurity Australia. This is not the “slim edge of the wedge” it is the “thick edge of the wedge”, and could just about ruin this Industry altogether that have been importing fish for over 100 years, and worth in excess of $450 million P.A.

The person from Biosecurity Australia that you need to contact is Dr. Ramesh Perrera and his email address is Ramesh.Perrera@biosecurity.gov.au and his telephone number is (02) 62724675 and you also need to send your responses to the Minister involved in this whole situation a Mr Tony Burke, and his email address is (now we are in election mode) Tony.Burke.MP@aph.gov.au in Canberra with his personnal email address being www.tonyburke.com.au and his office in Kingsgrove telephone no is (02) 95533800 and his fax no is (02) 95543504. You will need to send off emails, and faxes, and make telephone calls to these two people to make them aware of the damages that their Department (Biosecurity Australia) will do if these measures are implemented. These two people need to be aware of the very serious concern out in “the real world”, and how this will affect all Importers to Australia, and it is your livelihood that is in question here and your voice must be given to these people in order to get Biosecurity Australia to relent and come to the discussion table with Industry people so that a more reasonable outcome can be reached.

Dr. Perrera in discussions with him admitted that this would be devastating for the Aquarium Industry, but that he had a job to do and was going to follow through on the implementation of these batch-testing procedures, even though it may close the doors of a number of Importers “by the stroke of a pen”. He did state that these same principles were recently applied to the Prawn Industry, where they were going to ban the imports of all Prawns and Prawn Products for human consumption, but mainly for Bait, as it was the Bait prawns that go directly into the Wild that could cause outbreaks of IHHNV, White Spot and Yellow Head diseases in the Australian environment, and it could these diseases in the fledgling Prawn Industry in Australia, until the Prawn Importers sent specimens from a locally produced farm to an overseas scientific laboratory to test them for IHHNV, and the other diseases mentioned, and it was soon found that these diseases were already within Australian waterways, and farms.

The result was that once this information was supplied to Biosecurity Australia they soon backed off and did not go ahead with banning the import of Prawns and Prawn Products for both bait use and human consumption. The same will probably need to be done here in Australia, only there are a lot more species in our Industry that needs to be tested and quickly (with the operative word being quickly). Currently, at my latest update, is that PIAA our supposed Peak Industry Organisation, has applied for a lengthening of the time to respond cuurently listed as 23/8/10, in order to give the Industry more time to respond to this final draft report.

Be aware that this will not stop here, as I predict that Goldfish, Tetras and others like Sharks, Barbs and Catfish may be next in line, if Biosecurity Australia is not stopped here, and if this happens we will all be out of work.

IT IS NOW UP TO ALL OF YOU TO BEGIN SENDING YOUR EMAILS,FAXES, AND TELEPHONE CALLS to the two people mentioned above, regards Norm Halliwell.

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Posted

What we ought to do in the meantime is import as many as we can

I'm not convinced that there are enough of us to be able to import the fish and then keep those varieties going. It's not just wild bettas that will be unaffordable to import, we're not going to be able to import any fish full stop. When you think about how many show bettas we've all been importing over the years, then ask ourselves how many of those varieties are being maintained by the people that imported them. I don't think that trying to import and breed is going to cut it. The only way is to stop this legislation from being passed. Or take up another hobby.

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Posted

I'm not convinced that there are enough of us to be able to import the fish and then keep those varieties going.

I agree entirely. One just has to look at the number of species of cichlid or killifish that have been imported over the years but which are no longer available to the hobby.

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Posted

Or take up another hobby.

Damn I hope it doesn't come to that... :protest:

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Posted

Well, if hobbyists are being asked to send faxes and emails to two people, I'd suggest that looking for a different hobby is exactly what we'll end up doing. Sorry, but honestly, do we really think an email or fax is going anywhere but straight into the rubbish bin? The aquarium industry have known about this for a couple of years now. I would have hoped they would have setup a war room somewhere, staffed with experienced political operatives who know how to lobby issues such as this. Sure, they're going to need grassroots support. But do we really think that the average fish keeper has the political savvy to make a difference? We'd need professional help. That is, someone who is actually paid to organise us, write the inflammatory snippets that we all post on our Facebook walls, gatecrash the public meeting of the sitting member in a marginal seat, feeding us with the embarrassing questions to ask, writing the press releases and following up with journalists. Hobbyists aren't going to do that sort of stuff. We all have other lives. The industry probably don't have the skills but they should bloody well pay some people to do that sort of thing. Hobbyists will turn up in numbers if they are whipped up enough. But it takes a lot of whipping to get any kind of action happening. Calling for an email campaign aimed at one minister and one public servant just ain't gonna cut it.

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Posted

As a retired public servant, emails and faxes to public servants is not going to do a single thing except being consiged to the rubbish bin. Same for politicians.

Even though it is election mode, the Minister is still a caretaker Minister. WRITE a letter to the Minister's Office - Ministers hate that. A Minister can ignore emails and faxes but any letter has to be acted upon - filed and a response prepared (even if it turns out to be a proforma response). But do WRITE to the Minister's Office - the next Minister after 21 August will have to answer a pile of letters.

The owner of Boronia AQuarium (Chris) is trying to organise something about this issue. Go to the website and help support him there also (boroniaaquarium.com.au)

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Posted

What we ought to do in the meantime is import as many as we can and get a decent local population going.

Anyone interested?

Me! I have been buying a heap based purely on what I like the look of but if you tell me the genes we need in Aus I am more than happy to bring some more in ... ping me if you can let me know. This is crazy.

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Posted

Sounds like Bec is going to be looking for more tanks soon!

But seriously.... would be great to try to get as many wild betta species as possible being bred and maintained by as many as possible. I have patoti and am going to order compuncta, ablimarginata and possibly another one or two species. We could then try to ensure cross outs to others stock from other populations in Australia to keep breeding lines as strong as possible - or maybe this is already being done in places like Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and I'm on the outer up here but would like to know if there are existing breeders/groups....

The wild breeders listing hasn't had any breeders added to it for 4 years... maybe it would be a good start to find out what we have to work with already? Should we start a new thread and go from there?

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Posted

I hope I'm not giving the idea that we shouldn't make an effort to breed and maintain wild bettas. That's not my intention. By all means everyone that has capacity should be looking at getting more fish now before imports cease completely. It's not just wilds though. Is anyone really working on reds? How about yellow, orange, black, butterflies, cambodians? If we could no longer buy imported bettas we're going to be left with metallics, traditional irids, some dragons, lots of marbles.

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Posted

Is anyone really working on reds? How about yellow, orange, black, butterflies, Cambodians? If we could no longer buy imported bettas we're going to be left with metallics, traditional irids, some dragons, lots of marbles.

I have a nice pair of reds from someone and will defiantly have a go at breeding them. I have several butterfly's but have not thought about partners for them (some are females that I lost the mates for in the last shipment - yellow, salamander and blue). I also just purchased a nice orange boy from Aqua bid and have asked the breeder for a sibling.

In the next shipment, which is in quarantine ATM, I am expecting green, turquoise, blue, gold, yellow, yellow mustard and blue orchid (as well as a variety of fancy colours). Other colours I hoped to add to the collection included black, opaque, blue and green mustards, yellow black, and orange black. I'm not particularly fond of the Cambodians though :unsure:.

Now I do NOT intend to go into major breeding programs (maybe fresian horses one day :rolleyes:), I do not have the time or inclination, but am happy to breed what I have, keep a few 'replacements' for myself and pass on the rest to those who would really like to breed a particular color. That way, as a hobby fish keeper, when my fish eventually die I will be able to find some more of my favorite colours to replace them. I do realize that breding can be hit and miss and I may not even have any success, but at least I can give it a try, seeing I have the fish and planned to get some more anyway.

I love these fish, and part of my fascination with them is that they come in SO many beaut colours (not to mention their perky little personalities :betta:). Nothing gives me greater joy ATM than sitting by the tanks and watching the colours flash past as they play around their tanks. I hope I can help in any way I can, even if it is a small contribution,

Bec

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Posted

QFAS has arranged a combined meeting with some industry members tomorrow night.

We will endeavour to draft a combined response from both the hobbyist and small importer's viewpoint.

If you have actually READ the IRA Final Draft please email me with your thoughts. Any suggestions for alternative testing arrangements also appreciated.

Particularly interested in hearing from anyone with a science background to critique the experiments and proposed tests.

Writing does work. I received a reply from the Minister to my first letter regarding re-instating Norm Halliwell to OFMIG.

Best regards, someone

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Posted

I'm in the second year of my Bachelor of Biotechnology and Cell Biology.

Since it's a PCR test, why do they need to use the entire fish and kill it to detect the virus? Surely they could just take some fin clippings from each sample fish, and if the batch is clean, all the fish could be passed on to the buyer alive and relatively unharmed. Even if the virus does not infect fin cells, it should still be present at PCR-detectable levels in the blood of a fin biopsy.

If the batch testing regulations do go ahead and they absolutely must test fish, the above would be a "reasonable" compromise, as long as they fund the testing themselves.

I am not convinced that the iridoviruses they want to prevent from entering Australia are not already here. If they want to impose these regulations, they need to demonstrate with high quality evidence that these iridoviruses are absent from Australian water. Indeed, just on pages 3 and 4 of http://www.daff.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/1709952/2010_22_Prov_Final_Irido_IRA_report_100722.pdf they concede that fish entering Australia in the past have been detected with exotic iridoviruses. I doubt those were the only occurrences of the viruses in Australia and the authorities caught and prevented them. To me those detections are only a sample of the infected (undetected) fish already here.

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Posted

At an emotional level it seems hypocritical for our government to comment on another nation's killing of certain mammal species for scientific research when it seems this proposal will kill thousands of fish in the name of scientific testing!

Having read the report and tried to understand most of it as best I can there seems to be a recurring theme of minimal scientific evidence that all species included in the proposal actually have the viruses (references to testing 100 subjects on several occasions) but also the constant referral to other sources not supported by scientific testing statistics. There has been no testing over the last 10 years of local populations in the wild to see if these viruses already exist in the wild. On hearsay, paradise fish and bettas have also been included.

The scales showing the numbers to be tested are ludicrous - import 19 fish and have all 19 killed for testing and if they are not found with a virus you can have the living fish!!! Yet import 4000 fish and only have 60 killed for testing????? Seems they are skewing their requirements to allow only large imports and in effect killing off small imports or imports of species in small numbers - will this then encourage stripping of wild fish from some areas just to make things viable for importers?

No reference has been made to endangered species or conservation species. What about show fish if we have an International Betta show? Import of other animals is allowed for international competitions (without killing them to test and our equine and bovine industries will have more impact on the country than ornamental fish!).

The idea that someone is going to feed a $10 fish to fish raised for food or use a $10 fish for bait is also ridiculous and part of their argument that these viruses could be released into the wild. The only fish they cite in these instances are guppies that are already infesting Qld waterways and others down south - why pick on the imported fish if local populations are the ones being used for these purposes?

With the import of plant material there is consideration as to what the purpose of the import is for - food for humans, food for animals, seeds for sowing, plant stock for growing, etc etc....

Surely they could have some consideration to the purpose for importation of fish - theoretically a rare breeding pair of fish can be imported under this proposal only to have both killed for testing because they number less than 19 fish in the batch imported in that shipment!!! Even extended quarantine requirements would be better than the extermination of rare fish in these circumstances.

Perhaps even to enshrine the current industry codes of practice (which all good LFS's and wholesalers abide by) in regulations under the legislation to provide some bite to enforcing fishkeeping practices would be worth considering? National regulations rather than every State doing it's own thing should be a good thing shouldn't it? (I was told by a Qld Fisheries person I should have a roof over my goldfish pond so that rain can't overflow it and let fish escape and be picked up by birds that would then drop them in local rivers. I didn't need walls around the pond though as rain only falls vertically and birds won't enter the pond area if there is a roof!!!!! The whole system needs to be looked at before we start killing off fish without knowing what the realities on the ground already are)

Stopping the dumping of fish into local waterways is probably never going to happen (increase the fines if they have to to try to discourage this practice) - but there's always going to be some idiot who does this - but to ensure that fish already in the country that might be a carrier for these diseases don't get dumped they would need to test thousands of fish all over the country - unless they actually believe that these diseases have not already entered the country (Santa is real too!)

OK... that's all I have to say / ask .... no solutions just questions I guess..... Stefan's suggestion above also seems pretty good to me as a non-scientist and would at least preserve some fish life....

someone... all the best for the meeting and fingers crossed some good ideas from the industry are put forward.... and thanks for your support for your industry and our hobby....

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Posted

hey guys is it too late to order from aquabid?

was planning to order 3 types of wild

Uniamacullata Sp Sebulu

Rubra Sp Meulaboh

Betta Pallifina

any chance that the sampling will start on the next shipment?

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Posted

It hasn't started yet. But if you're planning on importing you should probably get on with it.

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