NAA calls on U.S. aquaculture industry to take action

VHS Surveillance Funding Denied by OMB
July 18, 2007

NAA calls on U.S. aquaculture industry to take action

In order to address concerns about the spread of Viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) from wild fish populations in the Great Lakes to aquaculture farms around the country, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) had requested emergency funding. NAA learned this week that this request was denied by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

This funding was intended primarily for cooperative agreements with State agencies to conduct surveillance in order to determine the geographic and species distribution of the disease. Additionally, some funding would have been directed toward an education campaign focused on recreational activities which might spread the disease and on compliance of the current Federal Order.

On Thursday, July 12, Dr. Randy MacMillan,president of NAA, met with Under Secretary Bruce Knight to discuss VHS and the need for surveillance and to ask that USDA resubmit their request for funding. NAA staff has scheduled appointments with APHIS staff and will monitor the issue closely.

Immediate action is needed by industry! Please write Under Secretary Bruce Knight today, expressing your concern about VHS and the need for surveillance and request his assistance in obtaining the necessary funding.

It is also very important to copy (with the cc being noted on the letter) Dr. John Clifford, Deputy Administrator for USDA-APHIS-Veterinary Services, and your Congressional representatives. Addresses for Knight and Clifford are listed below. If you have trouble obtaining addresses for your Congressional members, please contact the NAA office for assistance.

Bruce Knight
Under Secretary, Marketing and Regulatory Programs
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
228-W Whitten Building
Washington, DC 20250

Dr. John R. Clifford
Deputy Administrator, Veterinary Services
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Room 317-E, Jaime L. Whitten Federal Building
Washington, DC 20250