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New Draft of EU Regulation affects Industry even more profoundly

OFI is the international trade association for the ornamental aquatic industry and together with the European Pet Organization, represents the ornamental aquatic industry in its contacts with the European Commission.

Modifications to the new EU Regulation on import requirements for ornamental fish crustaceans and mollusks, now in the draft stage, may have devastating effects on the import trade if implemented in its present form.

The new Regulation introduces the term “vector species” into European legislation. Vector species are species which can carry the disease without being infected itself.

In addition to a list of species susceptible to EUS (Epizootic Ulcerative Syndrome), SVC (Spring Viraemia of Carp) and KHV (Koi Herpes Virus), another list of species which are non-symptomatic vectors is currently being prepared by the European Commission.

If the law takes effect in its present form, it will have several effects on EUS-susceptible or vector species:

- Susceptible captive bred species are only allowed into the EU from EUS-free countries, areas, or farms.

- Wild-caught susceptible fishes are allowed in from non-EUS free countries, areas, or farms only if they are quarantined. Quarantine details have to be worked out.

- Vector species (wild and captive-bred) may be imported from non-EUS free countries, but in this case they have to be kept in quarantine first.

It is not yet clear yet whether the quarantine must be implemented in the importing or the exporting country.

A huge number of fish species from all kinds of genera will be affected.

The same additions have been made for KHV (for which the vector species include goldfish, sturgeon and others) and for SVC.

The only difference with EUS is that these two are not exotic diseases for the EU and the limitation in trade only applies to countries with an eradication program (For KHV: no countries. For SVC: Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the UK and Sweden).

Due to the complexity of the material, the draft health certificates have become incomprehensible and unworkable for the trade. Additionally, fish disease specialists have stated that EUS has not been encountered in fish farms and is only found in free ranging fish.

If implemented with these additions, the new EU regulation will be disastrous for the international trade in ornamental fish.

OFI  is staying on top of this situation, and are doing everything in their power to reverse the latest modifications.


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