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Risk to importation of aquarium fish


Billphil
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Gouramis, cichlids (such as angelfish and oscars) and poeciliids (such as guppies and platys) are popular aquarium species. Ornamental finfish are imported under a range of quarantine conditions based on an IRA (import risk analysis) completed in 1999. Australia’s quarantine measures include that the fish are held in an export premises for a minimum 14-day period prior to export, health certification that they are sourced from populations with no known significant disease in the last six months, and that the gouramis and cichlids are held in post-arrival quarantine for a minimum of 14 days and poeciliids for a minimum of seven days. Millions of ornamental fish are imported into Australia each year. Evidence, including research by the University of Sydney, has indicated possible changes to the understanding of iridoviruses. This prompted the commencement of a policy review in 2005. The policy review is being completed as a regulated IRA.

The draft IRA report recommends additional tighter quarantine measures. These are:

sourcing fish from populations demonstrated to be free of the iridoviruses of quarantine concern; or

batch-testing fish on arrival to show they are free of iridoviruses of quarantine concern.

The existing pre-export quarantine of period of 14 days and relevant official health certification would apply, together with a post arrival quarantine period of seven days.

This could mean that a number of fish we treat as standard aquarium fish will become harder to obtain (if not impossible to obtain) and more expensive.

It is suggested everyone reads the report at:

www.daff.gov.au/ba/ira/current-animal/ornamental_finfish

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