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UK launches International Centers of Excellence for Aquatic Animal Health and Seafood Safety

The UK Government’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) has launched two International Centers of Excellence for Aquatic Animal Health and Seafood Safety. “As the Government’s marine and freshwater science experts, our mission is to help keep our seas and oceans healthy and productive and our seafood safe and sustainable. We do this by providing the best data and advice to the UK Government and our overseas partners. Innovative, world-class science is central to this mission and that of our International Centers, which aim to ensure that our science capability continues to develop and keep step with UK and global science challenges.\"

October 16, 2018


“As the Government’s marine and freshwater science experts, our mission is to help keep our seas and oceans healthy and productive and our seafood safe and sustainable,\" stated Professor Stuart Rogers, Cefas Chief Scientist. \"We do this by providing the best data and advice to the UK Government and our overseas partners. Innovative, world-class science is central to this mission and that of our International Centers, which aim to ensure that our science capability continues to develop and keep step with UK and global science challenges.\"

The International Centers of Excellence for Aquatic Animal Health and Seafood Safety build on Cefas’ designation as a World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) Collaborating Center for Aquatic Animal Disease and a growing partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The two centers incorporate the scientific and advisory expertise of Cefas staff. They build upon prior designations as EU Reference Laboratories, and are the first of at least four, with Cefas additionally seeking international designations to recognize excellence and leadership in fisheries and climate change science. 

“The outbreak of diseases in food and farming in the UK and across the world can have devastating consequences on the economy, environment and society,\" stated Clare Moriarty, Defra Permanent Secretary. \"Science plays a critical role in understanding, controlling and eradicating these impacts.  Defra and its agencies have a proven track-record for developing robust systems of prevention, surveillance and response. The launch of Cefas’ International Centres of Excellence builds on this strong foundation and brings together world-leading expertise in enabling safe and sustainable seafood production.\" 

“The UK’s decision to leave the European Union presents an opportunity for us to develop new innovative approaches to existing science challenges,\" added Professor Ian Boyd, Defra Chef Scientist. \"It’s a chance for us to explore new, global markets to export our world-leading scientific capabilities and at the same time continue to attract and nurture the world’s top science talent.\"

The launch of the Aquatic Animal Health Centre of Excellence, builds on last year’s announcement by Environment Secretary Michael Gove of a new Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Futures - a strategic alliance between Cefas and the University of Exeter, with an ambition of bringing together world-leading scientists to ensure the key challenges facing sustainable growth of the fast-growing aquaculture sector are better understood.

The launch of the International Centers of Excellence took place at a workshop to explore the opportunities to promote UK science in human, livestock, aquatic animal and plant health internationally attended by Defra, UK government and industry experts.

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