Important legal notice
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Animal health and welfare
Animal health and welfare - Improving animal diets and well-being
“Towards protecting indigenous fish and amphibian populations from disease risks posed by ornamental fish.”

The problem

Infectious diseases in European aquaculture are causing significant production losses and interruption to trade through preventive movement restrictions – many of these diseases are caused by the iridovirus group. Ornamental fish, i.e. non-indigenous species, may be vectors of systemic iridovirus and pose a threat to amphibian, farmed and indigenous fish species. A risk assessment model (RAM) applying epidemiological principles and methods needs to be developed to assess the potential pathways of spread and likely impact of viruses showing greatest virulence in experimental trials.

RANA  Identifying disease risk to native fish from ornamental fish species


RANA will assess the threat of systemic iridoviruses to amphibians, and farmed and wild freshwater fish in the EU. It will:

  • Develop diagnostic methods for the detection of systemic iridoviruses in tissues of infected species
  • Develop methods to differentiate highly virulent strains from the less potent ones
  • Monitor disease in amphibians and ornamental fish to assess the presence of systemic iridoviruses
  • Make recommendations for preventing the incursion and spread of serious iridoviral diseases in the EU

Contribution to policy development:

  • RANA will provide scientific support for EU policy and legislation that prevents the spread of diseases among fish populations.
  • EU fish health legislation is currently under revision (SANCO/10774/2003) and RANA will provide any evidence of additional disease hazards for farmed fish and any need to protect the health of wild fish populations.
  • RANA will advise on whether new legislation should be brought in to apply health requirements to amphibians.
  • Evidence from the project will inform discussion on the need for any further trade restrictions.

Project deliverables

  • Report on the pathogenicity of systemic iridoviruses – November 2007
  • Evidence for whether ornamental fish can be vectors for iridoviruses – November 2007
  • Evidence for whether amphibians can be infected with, and be vectors for, iridoviruses – November 2007
  • Preliminary risk analysis of entrance and spread of one or more iridoviruses in Europe and the consequences – February 2008
  • Final report – May 2008


  • Project website presenting project objectives, schedule and progress – June 2005 and ongoing
  • Engage public participation in web-based survey of observed mortalities in ornamental fish and amphibians – September 2006
  • Technical workshop for laboratory technicians and post-graduate students – March 2006
  • Workshops with scientific, policy and industry stakeholders – October 2007
  • Conference to finalise and draft conclusions – March 2008
  • Preparation of results for publication in popular, trade and peer-reviewed international scientific journals – March 2008

Technical information

Project acronym: RANA
Project full title: Risk assessment of new and emerging systemic iridoviral diseases for European fish and aquatic ecosystems
Research priority: 1.4. New and more environment friendly production methods to improve animal health and welfare including research on animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease, swine fever and development of marker vaccines
Specific webpage: Details not yet available
Proposal/contract no: 6459
Start date: 1 April 2005
Kick off meeting: June 2005
Completion date: 31 March 2008
European Commission scientific officer: Not available

Name: Dr Ellen Ariel, Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research
Abbreviated name: DFVF
Address: Department of Poultry, Fish, and Fur Animal
Section of Fish Diseases
Hangovej 2
DK-8200 Aarhus
Country: Denmark
Tel.: +45 723468430
Fax : +45 72346901


Name: Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Abbreviated name: CEFAS
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie
Abbreviated name: IZS-VE
Country: Italy

Name: National Veterinary and Food Research Institute
Abbreviated name: EELA
Country: Finland

Name: Veterinary Research Institute
Abbreviated name: VRI
Country: Czech Republic

Name: Friedrich Loeffler Institute
Abbreviated name: FLI
Country: Germany