Why are fishers fighting the reduced size limits?

Reading the article in today’s West Australian newspaper makes me wonder why the recreational fishers are against the recommendations to reduce size limits. It makes perfect sense that fish which cannot be rehabilitated prior to release, be humanely slaughtered for consumption. Perhaps this change in ruling is unwelcome becauss it may cut short fishing expeditions because people may reach their bag-limit sooner?

Seems like scientific evidence may be defeated by public opinion.

Read more about the arguments for and against size-limits for recreational fishing, in my previous blog –


Yours sincerely,

Dr Richmond Loh
DipProjMgt, BSc, BVMS, MPhil (Pathology), MANZCVS (Aquatics& Pathobiology), CertAqV, NATA Signatory.

Aquatic Veterinarian & Veterinary Pathologist.

Aquatic Veterinary Medical & Diagnostic Services.
Web: http://www.thefishvet.com.au

Ph: +61 421 822 383
Mail: PO Box 5164, East Victoria Park, WA 6981, Australia.


Troubled goldfish gets its own customised wheelchair – BBC News

You have to be rather innovative when treating fish ailments.
These people have made a nice contraption for what’s normally an untreatable condition (swimbladder  disorders that makes fish negatively buoyant)  that leaves fish heavy in the water. 


Global trends in ornamental fish-keeping: HIGHLIGHTS from the International Ornamental Fish Conference.

This post is a combination of talking points presented by Mr Shane Willis (President, Ornamental Fish International), and Michael Tuccinardi (Senior Editor, Amazonius), with my personal thoughts/comments.


The ornamental fish industry has been a great blessing for developing nations by providing an income source for those living in rural areas, in the wilds of many developing nations in what is termed, “Trade, Not Aid”. The economic value of these aquatic organisms also promote environmental conservation efforts to effect sustainability. There are so many more new species to yet to be discovered!


The nations with the greatest craving for fishes in order of monetary value of imports are: UK (USD 24M), Germany (USD 18M), France (USD 12M), Netherlands (USD 12M), Italy (USD 10M), Spain (USD 7M), Belgium (USD 6M), and Czech Republic (USD 4M) – figures by Paul Bakuwel.


The general trend is that aquarium equipment technology is getting better, and cheaper, allowing us to keep coldwater fishes in tropical climates, and warm water fishes in cold climates. Logistics of fish transport is more efficient, and technology and techniques for packing fish have improved. There are more captive-bred species, and an increase in “designer” fish (e.g. more varieties of guppies, clownfish, Bettas). 

However, there is also a gloomy trend that smaller independent shops are closing down, largely due to competitive pressures imposed by larger chain stores, and online-shops. There was a recent decline in economic value of fishes in the major importing countries, but there’s strong growth in countries like India and China. That is the general trend. But if we take a closer look, the trends are different between freshwater, and marine aquarists.


Freshwater hobbyists are moving from medium-sized, colourful-themed aquaria, towards nano tanks, or larger, self-contained aquaria. Those who go nano, seek small invertebrates (e.g. shrimp), smaller “dwarf” fish species, and smaller plants (i.e. all those species that were once considered too small for ornamental aquaria). On the otherhand, there are more people are getting into aquascaped planted aquaria, that are large, and has a bio-type theme. Due to years of enjoying captive-bred fishes, hobbyists are now seeking wild-type “authentic” fish, caught from the wild. I have seen this among keepers of discus, guppy, otocynclus, Corydoras, Frontosas and others.

There was a short-lived fad of wall-mounted narrow aquaria, painted/tattooed fishes, but fish keepers soon realised that these imposed poor welfare to fishes.


In the marine world, fish-only tanks with artificial corals are now giving way to coral-only tanks that may house invertebrates, or few “reef-safe” fishes.

In the past, the majority of specimens are wild-sourced, and some collected with the use of cyanide. This practice of using cyanide is no longer acceptable and is illegal, because it destroys reefs, and the fishes collected in this way die a slow death, effectively from starvation.

There are more marine species that are captively-bred (including the blue tang). In 2001, only ~25 species could be bred in captivity, and in 2016, there are >90 species. The market welcomes these because of perceived better sustainability, and minimising impacts on wild reefs. It’s actually a wonder why Australia does not permit imports of captively-reared marine ornamentals. Though, the captive breeding is more commonly done in importing nations, and so the socioeconomic implications would be that the livelihoods of many wild-collectors would be threatened.


With captive-breeding, there is the appearance of “designer fishes” with different colour variants and extended finnage in clownfishes (check out the range of percula and ocelaris clowns available).


I’ve to add that more and more fish people are becoming aware of fish welfare, and there is a growing number who form emotional bonds with their aquatic pals. People are also becoming more educated on aquatic medicine, and that there are experienced fish veterinarians around, whom they can seek help to diagnose and cure fish ailments.

Check out some of the sights I’ve taken in – see link.


Australian consideration to release KHV condemned internationally.

In yet another paper, the warnings on the repercussions of purposely releasing KHV into Australian waterways is a short -sighted and dangerous thing to do.

Authors concluded, “We fear serious ecological, environmental and economic ramifications, whilst its long-term objective to control carp is at best uncertain.”

Check out the journal article at this link.

​What are fish vets / aquatic veterinarians? 

Fish veterinarians are veterinary practitioners who work in the health and welfare of aquatic animals. This includes diagnostics, therapeutics and surgery, to name a few.

Some say this is such a “specialised” area, but to tell you the truth, you have really got to be a generalist to do aquatic veterinary medicine. Why so?
Well, a human physician need only concentrate on one species, and when they specialise, they hone in on a particular organ, or discipline. General small animal veterinary practitioners work primarily with dogs and cats. General large animal veterinary practitioners deal with a range of species including cattle, sheep, horses and more. 

Now why I say fish veterinarians are specialist generalists is because we deal not only with multiple species, but phylums of animals! We are licensed veterinarians who are qualified to diagnose and treat a wide variety of aquatic species which can include fish, marine mammals, sea turtles, and other wildlife.
Aquatic veterinarians may work in private practice, aquaculture facilities, aquariums, zoos, museums, laboratories and marine parks. 
All aquatic veterinarians must successfully graduate with a  Veterinary Degree and be registered with the relevant Veterinary Surgeon’s Board. 
(Find out more about what makes a veterinarian at https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Pages/Principles-of-Veterinary-Medical-Ethics-of-the-AVMA.aspx).
After completing their studies, veterinarians may pursue post-graduate examinations and certifications to earn the title of being an aquatic veterinarian. This involves several additional years of practical training and testing under the supervision of top professionals in the specialty field.
The World Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Association (WAVMA) is a professional membership group that was founded in 2006 as a resource for aquatic veterinarians, technicians, students, and others with an interest in aquatic veterinary medicine. The WAVMA provides a variety of opportunities for continuing education to its members via their WebCEPD, email list-serve, and publications. Find out more about aquatic veterinarians at http://wavma.org 

If you require a fish vet in Australia, check out our five locations http://thefishvet.com.au

If you’re overseas, find a fish veterinarian at http://www.aquavetmed.info/

Biosecurity is everyone’s business!

Fishkeepers should never rely only on the sellers’ disease-controls to protect their fishes from the risk of fish diseases. Biosecurity is everyone’s business — fishkeepers should have suitable biosecurity measures in place to protect their resident fish populations.

This is particularly pertinent for koi keepers, if/when the killer-KHV becomes endemic. Tools are available through your fish veterinarian.


Biosecurity recommendations include:
+ Avoid mixing fish from unaffected and affected ponds (until a suitable vaccine is available in Australia)
+ Any koi keeper whose population has been affected by KHV should maintain strict biosecurity measures, including not selling koi or other species sharing the same water body and equipment, to unaffected ponds.
+ Introduce visitor restrictions to prevent spread of KHV.
+ Koi keepers in unaffected areas should maintain strict biosecurity measures including no fish introductions from KHV-affected populations, cleaning and disinfection of second-hand equipment, visitor restrictions, etc.

Aquatic veterinarians and fish pond/aquarium maintenance personnel should assess risks and take steps to prevent spread of KHV, especially if they see sick/dying koi.

Consult them early, and get a fish-health-plan.

Contact our team members at The Fish Vet if you have concerns.

42nd Annual Eastern Fish Health Workshop

Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA.

April 3-7, 2017.


The 42nd Annual Eastern Fish Health Workshop is at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing, MI. Registration begins at our annual reception on Monday, April 3 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, and is followed by an evening of interesting, bewildering, and bemusing case reports. There will be three full-day sessions (April 4-6), followed by a full-day continuing education course on Friday, April 7. We encourage contributions for oral presentation of case reports and research investigations that are pertinent to animal health within marine and freshwater environments. There are no poster sessions.


For the first time, the EFHW will be held in Michigan, a state which fittingly boasts the longest freshwater coastline of any political subunit in the world and where a person is always within 6 miles of a stream, lake, river, or natural waterbody. The Michigan State University Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory (MSU-AAHL) has been a longstanding supporter of the EFHW and is proud to host the annual meeting in Spartan Country. We have plans to offer tours of MSU’s campus that will include the veterinary diagnostic and other related laboratories, as well as optional organized excursion(s) that showcase some of Michigan’s delights. The banquet and Best Student Presentation award will be on Thursday night, when there is never a shortage of dancing – not to be missed.


We will continue to use the general email address (TheEFHW@gmail.com) to correspond with folks; however, if you need to reach any one of us, please feel free to contact us directly.


Call for General Session Titles and Abstracts: To guarantee a place on the program, please return a tentative title for your abstract and presentation via email as soon as possible. Do this by completing the appropriate sections of the Word attachment titled “42 efhw title form.” If you are presenting a diagnostic case, please indicate your tentative title that you would like included in our special session titled: “The Aquatic Detective.”


Abstracts must be submitted by 21 February 2017. Email abstracts toTheEFHW@gmail.com. Please follow the direction for preparation of abstracts and presentations (see attachment). Your attention to these guidelines is greatly appreciated. PowerPoint presentations are due 20 March 2017.


Best Student Paper Presentation: The Eastern Fish Health Workshop will present $200 and a plaque for the Best Student Presentation. Eligible individuals must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate research program and present his/her own research. The award will be presented at our Banquet and the recipientmust be present. In order to be considered for this award, you must register by completing the appropriate section of the “42 efhw title form” attachment.



$200 registration fee (U.S. dollars) includes a reception on Monday evening with heavy hors d’oeuvres, workshop proceedings, refreshments at breaks, buffet breakfasts and luncheons on each of the three full days of the workshop (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), and dinner at the Banquet on Thursday night. That’s a steal for $ 200!!! Make checks payable to the “Eastern Fish Health Workshop” and return payment with your registration formpostmarked by 21 February 2017. The late registration fee of $35 (U.S. dollars) is charged if postmarked after this date (for a total registration fee of $235, if late). The EFHW does not accept credit cards and there are no daily or discounted registrations. Please ensure that you mail your registration form and check to Dr. Roy Yanong.



Individual accommodations start at $108/night and must be made with the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing, Michigan. You can make reservations online or by phone. Please call the hotel at 1-800-875-5090 and use either the code 1704FISHHE or Block NameEastern Fish Health Conference. You may also go online to www.kelloggcenter.com, click Reservations in the link at the top, and fill in the dates, rooms, and number of people. Select “Click Here for Special Rates” and enter the Group Code: 1704FISHHE. In order to secure reservations, please make reservations with the Kellogg Hotel before March 3, 2017.


The Kellogg Hotel is located on the Michigan State University campus in the heart of East Lansing. Lansing’s Capital Region International Airport is only eight miles away. The hotel offers a shuttle to the Lansing Capital Region International Airport, but it must be reserved ahead of time. Attached to this email are instructions for reserving this shuttle.https://kelloggcenter.com/ The Detroit airport is located approximately 1.5 hours away and may offer more flights. A bus service between the Detroit airport and Downtown East Lansing is offered throughwww.michiganflyer.com.


Important Deadlines:

Call for Abstracts: now open

Abstracts Due By: 21 February 2017

Registration due by (postmarked): 21 February 2017 (to avoid the late fee)

PowerPoints due: 20 March 2017

Hotel Reservation due by: 3 March 2017


Please use the following email address for submission of title forms, abstracts, PowerPoints, and any specific questions:TheEFHW@gmail.com. Please use snail mail (regular postal services) to send registration forms AND checks to Dr. Roy Yanong.


CE Sessions Planned for Upcoming Fish Health Meetings

The QA/QC committee of the FHS is pleased to announce two upcoming continuing education sessions on Quality Management System Training at the Fish Health Section Meeting (April 7, 2017) and again at the Western Fish Disease Workshop (June 20, 2017).


These sessions will be taught by Dr. Kelly Burkhart, microbiologist and quality management trainer with the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN). Topics to be covered include: document writing and control, record keeping, training, equipment, corrective action, root cause analysis and internal audits. The training will be RACE-approved for veterinarians requiring continuing education hours.


This training should be valuable for all aquatic animal health laboratories, and especially those who are participating in the QA/QC recognition program of the FHS. Quality Management Training like this will likely be a requirement of the upcoming Tier 2 process, but this training would be of benefit to those just starting Tier 1, or those labs just contemplating entering the process in the future.


And for those of you sending in those samples to the lab? Field pathologists, inspectors and technicians should not feel left out! This workshop will give you training on the documentation required for the samples that you send, and insight in to the care that should be taken in processing them to give you confidence in the results.


For more information on the April session, contact Mark Fast at mfast@upei.ca.


For more information on the June session, contact Marcia House at mhouse@nwifc.org