The Aquatic Animals Health Standards Commission (the Aquatic Animals Commission) is responsible for ensuring that the Aquatic Animal Health Code (the Aquatic Code) and Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals (the Aquatic Manual) reflect current scientific information. The Aquatic Code and Aquatic Manual provide standards for the improvement of aquatic animal health worldwide, including standards for safe international trade in aquatic animals (amphibians, crustaceans, molluscs and fish) and their products.
The Aquatic Animals Commission, which comprises six elected members, who are internationally renowned experts in the prevention and control of pathogenic agents of aquatic animals, meets twice yearly to address its work programme. It works with internationally renowned specialists to draft texts for new articles of the Aquatic Code and Aquatic Manual and to revise existing articles in light of advances in science. The Aquatic Animals Commission also collaborates closely with the Terrestrial Animal Health Standards Commission on issues requiring a harmonised approach.
The views of the Delegates of Member Countries are routinely sought through the circulation of draft and revised texts and, at each General Session, the Delegates discuss and formally adopt the draft texts as OIE standards. These texts are then incorporated into the next editions of the Aquatic Code and Aquatic Manual.
Members of the Aquatic Animals Commission are elected by the World Assembly of Delegates for a period of three years
(Applicable to all Specialist Commissions)
The OIE Specialist Commissions shall be established by the Assembly in accordance with Chapter 5 of the General Rules.
The OIE Specialist Commissions shall each consist of a Bureau (composed of a President and two Vice-Presidents) and three other members.
For each Specialist Commission, the Assembly elects the members of the Bureau individually and then the other three members, taking into account the need for a geographically balanced representation, and the need for relevant expertise.
Members of Specialist Commissions are elected for a period of three years and shall be eligible for re-election.
In the case that a member of a Specialist Commission fails to participate in three consecutive meetings of that Commission without adequate justification, the position held by that member shall be declared vacant by the Director General.
In the case of a position falling or being declared vacant, the Assembly shall elect a new member to complete the term of office of the previous member.
Members of Specialist Commissions shall provide the Director General with a statement covering potential conflicts of interest between themselves and any commercial entity in accordance with the procedure established by the Director General. Members of Specialist Commissions shall respect the legitimate confidentiality of information with which they may be entrusted in the performance of their functions and shall submit such an undertaking to the Director General.
The Specialist Commissions shall meet at least once a year between the annual sessions of the Assembly. If necessary, meetings may be held jointly with other Specialist Commissions where there are matters of common interest. A special meeting may be organised immediately prior to the annual session of the Assembly.
The Bureaux of the Specialist Commissions shall meet alone at such times and places as may be determined by the Director General, in consultation with the President of the respective Commission.
Where appropriate, specialists designated by the Director General from national, regional, or international organisations or from OIE Reference Centres, shall attend certain parts of meetings of the Specialist Commissions or of the Bureaux for topics relating to their fields of competence. Such specialists shall respect the legitimate confidentiality of information with which they may be entrusted in the performance of their functions and shall submit such an undertaking to the Director General.
Each Specialist Commission may appoint a Rapporteur from among the members of the Commission. After each meeting, the President or the Rapporteur shall provide the Director General with a report on the proceedings of the meeting, a draft of a work programme and the proposed dates for the next meeting.
The Specialist Commissions shall make available to the Director General, by no later than 90 days before the opening of the General Session of the Assembly of each year, all texts which are to be presented for adoption or comments during the General Session. These texts shall be sent by the Director General to OIE Member Countries for examination and comment before the General Session of the Assembly.
The Presidents of the Specialist Commissions will report annually to the Assembly the activities of the respective Commissions and the draft of the relevant resolutions, standards, guidelines or other recommendations for adoption.
All formal correspondence between the Specialist Commissions and outside individuals or bodies shall be issued through the office of the Director General.
The Headquarters staff shall assist the Rapporteurs of the Specialist Commissions in recording meetings of the Commissions and preparing reports, notably by providing secretarial support and translation services.
(‘Aquatic Animals Commission’)
Taking into account the periodic Strategic Plans adopted by the Assembly, pertinent Resolutions of the Assembly and the annual work plans approved by the Assembly, the terms of reference of the OIE Aquatic Animal Health Standards Commission shall be:
1. To promote the adoption by the Assembly of standards, recommendations and guidelines for animal health (including zoonoses), the prevention and control methods of listed diseases, animal welfare and animal production food safety concerning the trade and international movement of aquatic animals and their products. Such standards, guidelines and recommendations are designed to minimise the risks of transmitting diseases (including zoonoses) while avoiding unjustified sanitary barriers.
2. To promote the dissemination among Veterinary and other Competent Authorities of information on aquatic animal diseases. For this purpose, standards and guidelines are also provided in the Aquatic Animal Health Code and Manual of Diagnostic Tests for Aquatic Animals (the Aquatic Manual).
3. To keep the Assembly and the Director General informed of scientific progress on methods for surveillance, diagnosis and disease prevention likely to improve the prevention and the control of aquatic animal diseases, and to formulate proposals for updating the Aquatic Code and the Aquatic Manual.
4. To develop in collaboration with other OIE Specialist Commissions and with relevant experts:
a. generic chapters in the Aquatic Code which address general topics such as quality and evaluation of aquatic animal health services including veterinary services, certification, regionalisation, risk analysis methodology, antimicrobial resistance and which are in harmony with similar recommendations in the Terrestrial Code
b. disease-specific chapters and appendices in the Aquatic Code and the Aquatic Manual which are maintained current with the latest scientific information, and which provide clear guidance to users on aquatic animal diseases control in the OIE-listed diseases and on laboratory diagnostic methods.
5. To identify issues that require in-depth review and propose, to the Director General, the composition and terms of reference of experts or Ad hoc Groups of experts convened specifically to study such issues, and if necessary, to participate in the work of these Groups.
6. To advise the Director General on issues relevant to its work arising or being discussed in other international organisations or fora.
7. To reply to all relevant queries made by the Director General, the Assembly or other OIE Commissions.
8. To examine applications from Member Countries relating to the creation of new OIE Reference Centres with activities corresponding to the Commission's scientific terms of reference and report its findings to the Director General.
9. To advise the Director General on the status of the lists of the OIE experts and Reference Centres.
10. To provide, on request of the Director General, technical advice on proposals for the twinning of Reference Centres under Cooperative Capacity Building (“Twinning”) Agreements.
11. To facilitate, and work with, Reference Centres in the field of aquatic animal health, so as to achieve OIE's mandate.
12. To represent the OIE at scientific and specialised conferences upon the request of the Director General.
The members of the Commission shall be internationally recognised specialists in surveillance, diagnosis and prevention of infectious diseases and pathogens of aquatic animals.
The members of the Commission shall have extensive international experience, at the regional or global level, of surveillance, diagnosis, control and disease prevention methods of pathogens and diseases of aquatic animals.