FEB 06, 2014 11:00 AM PST

The complexities of importing and exporting research fish, with emphasis on Europe

  • Head of Fish Facility, University College London

      I have been working exclusively with zebrafish for the past 13 years and am currently the Head the UCL Zebrafish Facility. I began work as a junior animal technician 20 years ago at the NIMR (National Institute of Medical Research), working solely with mice and rats and latterly with transgenic animals, both in a laboratory setting and also as a care provider. In the years I have been working with zebrafish, I have seen a huge rise in their popularity as a biomedical model, but a much slower growth in the understanding of their husbandry requirements. I dedicate much of my time to working with various stakeholders, including animal technicians, scientists, veterinarians and legislators to try and raise awareness of zebrafish as a bioscientific model and to improve husbandry. I am a founder member of BAZH (British Association of Zebrafish Husbandry), hold a BSc in molecular genetics, MIAT, BTEC Higher in Animal science and am currently studying for a doctorate in professional studies.


    The rise of zebrafish as a research model has been dramatic. Given the global nature of the work, the rise in shipping zebrafish as a laboratory species has been sharp. Up until this point the majority of laboratory animals that were shipped have been mammalian species and both legislation and regulation reflects this and can, at times appear to hinder the shipping of laboratory fish.International flight regulations and changes in laboratory animal legislation have ended the days of carrying embryos through customs in one's pockets and we now need to comply with international laws, which, at times, can be very confusing and often counter intuitive. This presentation will examine IATA and airfreighting regulations that apply to fish and will then go onto look at changes in laboratory animal welfare legislation and regulation. It will explore the paperwork required to make exporting and importing of fish internationally go as smoothly as possible and also look at some of the oddities of these regulations, using European legislation as an example.

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