Diagnostic Requirement for Regional Quarantine and Health Certification Attempt for Regional Harmonization
Department of Fisheries, Thailand
Quarantine and Health Certification
Quarantine is defined as a process which involves preborder, border and postborder activities includging premovement certification, movement, confinement on arrival, checking during confinement, releases and subsequent monitoring as appropriate.
The certification process is aimed to reduce the risk of spreading aquatic animal disease when moving from place to place, country to country and region to region. The level of risk in introducing or spreading pathogens within the country is lower than that through interregional trades.
To minimize the risk of disease transmission through pathogen carry animals, the status of animal health must be inspected, screened and certified. Proper health certification generally requires proper disease diagnosis at the premovement screening. However, the level of disease diagnostic capability varies among countries. In some countries the certification is difficult to implement because of inadequate disease diagnostic facilities and expertise. Under this situation, post border activities are very important and become the responsibility of the recipient countries.
At present, trade activities and movements of liver aquatic animal are in very large volume. It is difficult to establish adequate confinement facilities at borders of the receiving ends for quarantine purpose. Therefore, premovement screening would provide a more realistic alternative procedure. However, diagnosis for disease screening must meet the requirement of trading partners.
In order to obtain proper certification for minimizing the risk of spreading of infectious diseases, the following requirements must be met.
1. adequate diagnostic facilities with capable diagnosticians
2. acceptable diagnostic procedures
3. acceptable protocols and procedures for certification.
As mentioned earlier diagnostic capacity in each country is different particularly among the Southeast Asian countries. At present, certain countries already have very advanced facilities and capability, while others have limited capability. This ununiformity results in each country having it’s own procedure and protocol, and possibly that some of those procedures can not be accepted by the trade partners thus causing problem of trade barrier.
Diagnostic Requirement for Quarantine and Health Certification.
In addition to above requirements, it is also necessary to include the following aspects to guarantee proper quarantine and health certification.
1. Competency of authorities for quarantine and health certification
2. Establishment of adequate confinement activities
3. Farm inspection as preborder activity
4. Establishment of inspection unit at the border
5. Information exchanges among trading partners
Diagnostic procedures to meet the minimum risk requirement are often time consuming that may cause mortality risk of inspected animals. Up-to-date information occurrence of infectious disease among trading countries would reduce the diagnostic time to other countries. Farm inspection as a preborder procedure would help to reduce disease occurrence.
The variability in capabilities to diagnose the disease of living aquatic animals is a common cause for each country to set its requirement for quarantine and health certification. Consequently, the certification issued by one country may not meet the requirement of other countries, particularly from those countries where diagnostic capability is not established.
In countries which governments recognize the importance of quarantine and health certification in prevented spreading of diseases, their diagnostic facility and capability are well established. It will take time for all countries to meet the international standard for certification.
To avoid unjustified trade barrier and to minimize the risk of disease spreading, regional harmonization must be established. It is suggested that the following aspects must be considered, agreed and established.
1. Standard protocols and procedures to be applied in diagnosis of serious diseases within the
2. Standard health certificate to be used in the region.
3. Information exchanges among competent authorities of trading partners in order to reduce unnecessary diagnosis.
It should be the responsibility of those countries, which have higher capability in disease diagnosis to support and help countries of lower capability to upgrade and establish facilities and capabilities