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World Conference Shines Spotlight on Critical Importance of Aquaculture

Schaumburg, IL This is no fish story. When it comes to the importance of veterinarians helping prevent, control and eradicate aquatic animal diseases, there's no need to exaggerate or boast.

Disease has emerged as the number-one problem facing aquaculture, and finding ways to prevent, treat and cure disease has attracted global attention.

Many international agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), agree that aquaculture is the only sustainable means of providing enough seafood supply to meet growing world demand. Today, nearly half of all seafood products produced in the world is "farmed," and diseases are seriously affecting national production and international trade. That's why the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has been working for many years on putting together advanced epidemiology, surveillance and biosecurity workshops related to aquaculture.

Working with veterinary organizations in several countries, as well as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the FAO, the AVMA is helping organize the International Aquaculture Biosecurity Conference. This first-of-its-kind program is being held August 17-18, 2009, in Trondheim, Norway. Open to everyone with a "line in the water," so to speak, the conference is geared toward veterinarians, producers, government agencies and policy makers.

According to David Scarfe, DVM, Ph.D., an assistant director in the AVMA's Scientific Activities Division and an expert on aquaculture issues, the conference brings together leading international authorities who will focus on developing, implementing, auditing and certifying aquaculture biosecurity programs that will help prevent diseases in everything from clams to catfish.

"The AVMA, as well as the entire aquaculture community, welcomes a conference like this, because we've reached an international level of awareness about the importance of farmed seafood products and how the veterinary profession can assist producers, industries, governments, and ultimately consumers," Scarfe says.

For more information on the International Aquaculture Biosecurity Conference, go to

The AVMA and its more than 78,000 member veterinarians are engaged in a wide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art of animal, human and public health.

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