The primary goal of quarantine is to reduce the risk of introducing infectious diseases into established collections. Fish quarantine is inherently complex because of the variety of species, environmental requirements, and facilities. The purpose and scope of setting up of QUARANTINE Stations is to prevent the ingress of dangerous exotic diseases into the country through imported fish and fish products. The increased and faster international trade and travel exposed every country to the danger of infiltration of known and unknown transmissible diseases which have the potential of very serious and rapid spread, adverse socio-economic and human/animal health consequences. The Quarantine Services are necessary to keep the country free from many exotic diseases.
The separate life-support systems (LSS) with the ability to quarantine fishes have been planned. The LSS is operated in such a way as to preclude disease transfer from one system to another and/or introduction into natural waters. Quarantine tanks have viewing that is adequate to observe the fish for behavior and signs of pathology; the LSS is adequate to maintain the health of the quarantine population. Disinfection of the discharge water prior to release is must. In addition, discharge of this water complies with federal, state, and local environmental regulations.
A quarantine period of 30 days is an adequate standard; however, it must be recognized that certain species or disease problems may require more or less time.
The institution has appointed the staff it feels has the most expertise to supervise and operate the quarantine program. All equipment (boots, nets, cleaning equipment, etc.) are confined to the quarantine area. Access to and from the area is restricted so as to minimize cross-contamination. Precautions must be taken to minimize the risk of zoonotic disease to personnel.
Department of Fisheries, Punjab has a written quarantine protocol. During quarantine, appropriate prophylactic measures are instituted. Complete medical records are maintained for the specimens during the quarantine period. Fish that die during quarantine, or a representative sample thereof, is necropsied. Care is to be taken that all equipment used with quarantined fish is separate from other systems. (If this is not possible, adequate disinfection procedures must be employed before equipment is used for post-quarantine fish.)
Required Quarantine Procedures
Because of the great diversity of fish, required quarantine procedures are difficult to establish. The department is following the guidelines stated in the above sections to fashion a quarantine program best suited to their needs.
The Quarantine Lab has been established at Fish Seed Hatchery, Rawal Town, Rawalpindi.