Consequence assessment for exotic fish disease incursions in Great Britain
Tutor / director / evaluatorRocks, Sophie
Document typeMaster thesis (pre-Bologna period)
Rights accessRestricted access - confidentiality agreement
Import Risk Analysis (IRA) assesses the likelihood and consequences of a disease incursion resulting from international trade. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) establishes in the Aquatic Animal Health code four necessary steps to conduct aquatic IRA (release, exposure and consequence assessment and risk estimation), from which consequence assessment is the least developed. This may often be attributed to insufficient data or the lack of a recognized standard methodology to conduct it. The first part of this thesis is a review of the existing literature covering information on exotic diseases, consequence assessment and aquatic IRA. This project aims to develop a standardized methodology for assessing consequences of aquatic disease incursions. In doing so, the methodology adapts examples of best practices taken from various industries to create a robust methodology. The methodology separately assesses economic and environmental consequences of a pathogen affecting finfish in England and Wales. Economic consequences were assessed quantitatively using stochastic distributions to assess nine consequence attributes for several outbreak scenarios. Environmental consequences were assessed semi-quantitatively using ranges scored from 1 to 4 and weights from 1 to 5 to assess five environmental attributes. Data for both the economic and the environmental assessment was provided by expert judgment from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas). Finally, a case study was used to demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed methodology. An incursion involving the pathogen Gyrodactylus salaris (G. salaris) affecting farmed trout and freshwater wild salmon in England and Wales was chosen for assessment. This methodology was designed to capture the geographic scale of the consequences of a disease incursion by considering the number of affected farms and catchments. The framework is easy to use whereby continual expert input is not necessary. Furthermore, this methodology may be adapted for assessment of shellfish or marine species as well as for use in other countries. Finally, this methodology may be used to rank consequences and/or risks of different diseases and therefore may be used as a decision making tool for informing resource allocation.
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