The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinary Services (VS), in collaboration with the National Aquaculture Assn. (NAA), is rolling out its joint concept for commercial aquaculture health program standards (CAHPS) and posted a framework document on the APHIS Aquaculture webpage for review.
Representatives from NAA and the VS Aquaculture Program Team have been developing draft program standards to establish this voluntary, nonregulatory framework for the improvement and verification of the health of farmed aquatic animals produced in U.S. commercial aquaculture industry sectors.
The goal of CAHPS is to support various business objectives, including improved health management, protection and expansion of aquaculture business opportunities and promotion and facilitation of trade, as well as improved resource protection and environmental sustainability.
APHIS said the CAHPS concept will be introduced at an NAA-sponsored session at Aquaculture America 2015 in New Orleans, La. During this session, NAA and VS will discuss the need and support for CAHPS and share the five principles that constitute the foundation of the standards. Following the presentations there will be time for open discussion.
Following the Aquaculture America conference, VS will post a CAHPS framework document to the APHIS Aquaculture web page located at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal-health/aquaculture and input and comments may be sent to VS.SPRS.Feedback@aphis.usda.gov.
APHIS, in conjunction with NAA, plans to hold focus groups over the next several months to refine and complete the program standards and to develop an implementation strategy.