[Federal Register: August 21, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 161)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules
or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings
and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings,
delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency
statements of organization and functions are examples of documents
appearing in this section.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Fish and Wildlife Service
[Docket No. APHIS-2008-0096]
National Aquatic Animal Health Plan for the United States; Notice
AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA; National
Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, DOC; and Fish and Wildlife Service, DOI.
ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.
SUMMARY: We are advising the public that a National Aquatic Animal
Health Plan (NAAHP) for the United States is being made available for
public review and comment. The NAAHP was developed by a Task Force led
by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S.
Department Agriculture, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) of the U.S.
Department of the Interior, and the National Marine Fisheries Service
(NMFS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the
U.S. Department of Commerce. It is anticipated that this plan will
provide a framework for how APHIS, FWS, and NMFS should develop
programs for diseases that affect the health of aquatic animals such as
finfish, crustaceans, and mollusks.
DATES: APHIS, FWS, and NMFS will consider all comments received on or
before October 20, 2009.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://
main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2008-0096 to submit or view comments and
to view supporting and related materials available electronically. All
comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be
posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change. All personal
identifying information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily
submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit
confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected
information. The agency will accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A''
in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). You may
submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel,
WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2008-0096, Regulatory Analysis and
Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118,
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to
Docket No. APHIS 2008-0096.
Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on the
National Aquatic Animal Health Plan in the APHIS reading room. The
reading room is located in Room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th
Street and Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading
room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except
holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202)
690-2817 before coming.
Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its
programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.
Additional information about FWS is available on the Internet at http:/
/www.fws.gov. Additional information about the NOAA Aquaculture Program
is available on the Internet at http://aquaculture.noaa.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
APHIS: Dr. P. Gary Egrie, Veterinary Medical Officer, Aquaculture,
Swine, Equine, and Poultry Health Programs, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road,
Unit 46, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-0695.
NMFS: Mr. Kevin Amos, National Aquatic Animal Health Coordinator, NOAA
Aquaculture Program, 1315 East-West Hwy., SSMC3 Rm. 13137,
Silver Spring, MD 20910; (360) 709-9001.
FWS: Ray Brunson, Project Leader, FWS, Olympia Fish Health Center, 3859
Martin Way E, Suite 101, Olympia, WA 98506; 360-753-9046.
Aquaculture, which includes the managed production of aquatic
animals, is practiced throughout the United States and its territories
by private, public, and tribal entities. Aquaculture continues to grow
as a major agribusiness enterprise. The production of aquatic animals
is a critical economic and environmental activity that provides a
source of healthy food, employment, recreation, and supplementation of
wild fishery stocks for harvest by commercial and tribal harvesters, as
well as protection and restoration of aquatic animals that face
Disease has the potential to pose a great threat to the success of
aquaculture. Developing and implementing a national aquatic animal
health plan has become urgent for two reasons: The growing need to
protect our domestic commerce and resources, and the advent of new
health regulations by foreign governments that restrict the importation
of live and processed aquatic animals from the United States.
In recent years, outbreaks of infectious salmon anemia and spring
viremia of carp in private U.S. aquaculture operations resulted in
losses of over $10 million. Also recently, a new strain of viral
hemorrhagic septicemia has affected several wild populations of fish in
the Great Lakes region of the United States. If the United States
maintains a limited and disparate supporting infrastructure to
diagnose, report, educate, manage, and develop surveillance and control
programs, the presence of these or the discovery of other aquatic
animal pathogens in this country could lead to restriction or
elimination of international commerce in some aquatic animals for the
The National Aquatic Animal Health Plan (NAAHP)
In 2001, the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture (JSA), under the
auspices of the Executive Office of the President, Office of Science
and Technology Policy, commissioned a national task force to develop a
national health plan for aquatic animals. Three Federal Departments
with primary responsibility for aquatic animal health are leading the
task force--the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S.
Department of Commerce (Commerce), and the U.S. Department of the
Interior (DOI). USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
(APHIS) protects the health of U.S. agriculture, thereby improving
agricultural productivity and competiveness and contributing to the
national economy and public health. Commerce's National Marine
Fisheries Service (NMFS) is dedicated to the stewardship of living
marine resources through science-based conservation and management, and
the promotion of healthy ecosystems. DOI's Fish and Wildlife Service
(FWS) works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish,
wildlife, and plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of
the American people. The FWS' Aquatic Animal Health Program strives to
conserve our nation's fisheries and aquatic resources.
Once the JSA commissioned the task force to develop the NAAHP, the
task force recognized that the first outreach activity would be to
bring together all interested parties, inform them of the intent to
develop a plan, and request their recommendations regarding content.
The recommendations from stakeholders shaped the mission and the
objectives for the NAAHP, which was again vetted by interested parties
and reviewed by the JSA itself. The mission of the NAAHP is to:
Facilitate the legal movement of all aquatic animals,
their eggs, and their products in interstate and international
Protect the health and thereby improve the quality and
productivity of farmed and wild aquatic animals;
Ensure the availability of diagnostic, inspection, and
certification services; and
Minimize the impacts of diseases when they occur in farmed
or wild aquatic animals.
Following approval of the mission of the NAAHP by the JSA, the task
force began soliciting information for the contents of the chapters.
Technical group meetings were held, at which information was solicited
from industry, State, tribal, Federal and academic partners. A total of
12 group meetings were held between January 2003 and November 2006.
Many of the technical groups focused on species-specific disease issues
with regard to surveillance and disease management. The task force's
technical team used information from these groups and from other
meetings to draft the NAAHP's chapters.
The goal of the NAAHP is to provide recommendations to industry,
States, tribes, Federal agencies, and other stakeholders to meet the
mission of the Plan. These recommendations are not necessarily in
support of an overarching regulatory program to be implemented by the
Federal Government. Rather, the recommendations relate to activities
for consideration by all stakeholders to meet the mission of the Plan.
Four principles have been used by the task force to develop the
NAAHP. They are:
Construct the Plan using established scientific principles
of fish health management;
Develop the Plan in an open and visible process in which
stakeholders have opportunities to provide information;
Recognize that limited resources are available; therefore
the plan must be affordable, make sense to stakeholders, and be capable
of implementation; and
Develop standards that are consistent with World Trade
Organization and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines
and, to the extent possible, are consistent with Federal, State, and
tribal regulations already in existence in the United States.
Recommendations and Implementation
While the NAAHP is not a regulation, it provides general principles
and guidelines for how the U.S. Federal Agencies with jurisdiction over
aquatic animal health (APHIS, NMFS, and FWS) should take action to
protect our farmed and wild resources, facilitate safe commerce, and
make available laboratory testing, training, and other programs as
needed to implement the NAAHP. The key recommendations made by the task
force are related to the following areas:
Prevention of the introduction or spread of program
aquatic animal pathogens (PAAPs);
Response to PAAPs and reportable aquatic animal pathogens
Surveillance schemes for PAAPs and RAAPs;
Laboratories, standardized testing, quality testing, and
approved personnel; and
Education and training.
In addition to the recommendation areas listed, activities
addressed in the NAAHP include the following: Definition of pathogens
of national concern; creation and implementation of disease management
zones; identification of priority areas for research and development in
aquatic animal health, including identification of existing funding
structures and recommendations for leveraging resources; description of
strategies for continued outreach and awareness regarding national
aquatic animal health strategies and the NAAHP; and implementation of
Due to limited resources, the NAAHP must be developed based on the
priorities and recommendations identified within the Plan, and
implementation of these priorities will be contingent upon funding.
However, continued stakeholder consultation is necessary to ensure that
the priorities and recommendations in the Plan are updated if
necessary. Therefore, the establishment of a National Advisory
Committee for Aquatic Animal Health is of utmost importance to a
Such a committee could be established as a permanent advisory
committee--chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA)--
to the Federal agencies responsible for implementing programs related
to the NAAHP. Alternatively, it could be created as a subcommittee of a
currently established FACA committee, such as the Secretary's Advisory
Committee on Foreign Animal and Poultry Diseases within the USDA. In
either case, the Advisory Committee structure can provide information
to agencies regarding issues of importance and, in an environment of
fiscal conservation, assist the Federal agencies in allocating
resources for aquatic animal health issues appropriately. Such an
advisory committee should be large enough to ensure broad stakeholder
representation, but small enough to ensure its effectiveness.
The next step is for the Federal agencies to take the
recommendations and suggested actions in the Plan and make them into
policies, guidelines, and if appropriate, regulations. As with the
development of the NAAHP, implementation must be a collaborative
process that includes information from States, tribes, industry, and
other stakeholders, and the timeframe for certain activities may be
influenced by available funding.
Accessing and Commenting on the NAAHP
We are making the NAAHP dated October 2008 available to the public
for review and comment. We will consider all comments that we receive
on or before the date listed under the heading DATES at the beginning
of this notice.
The NAAHP may be viewed on the Federal eRulemaking Web site (see
ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing Regulations.gov). You
may request paper copies of the draft document by contacting the
persons listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please refer to
the title of the draft document when requesting copies. The NAAHP may
also be viewed at APHIS' Web site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_
health/animal_dis_spec/aquaculture/, at FWS' Web site at http://
www.fws.gov/fisheries/, or at NOAA's aquaculture Web site at http://
aquaculture.noaa.gov. The NAAHP is also available for review in the
APHIS reading room. (Information on the location and hours of the APHIS
reading room is listed under the heading ADDRESSES at the beginning of
Dated: August 11, 2009.
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Daniel M. Ashe,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Dated: August 11, 2009.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine
[FR Doc. E9-19702 Filed 8-20-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P