Over the past 30 years, Australian seafood industries have been devastated by a steady march of disease outbreaks, often with little or no warning. Each episode has been devastating, and all have starkly illustrated aquatic disease management’s primary challenge: the underwater world has no fences. Given the absence of effective barriers for disease containment in freshwater and marine environments, how can one establish a “firebreak” when an exotic virus or a pest gets in the ocean?
Simply doing what we’ve done in the past, but better, is no longer sufficient. Instead, we need to challenge ourselves to find new ways of thinking and acting on biosecurity [and] we need to change how we fund biosecurity research. The sector approach does not work for addressing the large-scale systems that need to be improved. These changes will demand new ways of thinking that encompass technology, trade policy, whole supply chains, natural ecosystems, and their final intersection at the farm gate.