A new global organization has been formed specifically to serve veterinarians and veterinary organizations involved in aquatic animal medicine.
The idea and momentum behind the formation of the Aquatic Veterinary Assn.—which is holding its first annual meeting in July in conjunction with the American Veterinary Medical Assn. Annual Convention in Washington D.C.—was developed over the past several years through ongoing discussions with aquatic veterinarians in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, among other countries.
Through these discussions, it was clear that their needs were not being met, says Interim Secretary Chris Walster, BVMS, MRCVS, of The Island Veterinary Associates in the United Kingdom.
One issue was the lack of a professional society that focused on the practice aspects of aquatic medicine in its many forms, including companion animal medicine, food animal production, exhibition animals found in zoos and public aquaria, research and others, he said.
By forming such a group, AqVA hopes to see aquatic veterinary medicine grow into a more recognized field.
“Formalizing organized aquatic veterinary medicine under an incorporated and registered nonprofit professional association will also elevate aquatic veterinary medicine from a niche area of veterinary practice to a well-recognized discipline within the profession,” says Interim President Peter Merrill, DVM, who works in regulatory medicine within the United States. “We hope this organization will cater to the needs of an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 aquatic veterinarians world-wide, and those who seek their expertise.”
AqVA has plans to solicit members and inputs to develop a broad base for professional continuing education, publish a practice-oriented journal and develop professional advancement criteria.
Individuals who join AqVA as Full Members by the first annual meeting, July 18, will be eligible to become Founding Members.
“These members will be able to influence the direction, mission and objectives of AqVA by voting on the issues presented for debate and ratification, either in person at the AGM or via email,” Dr. Walster says.
Groups who are predominantly veterinary in nature can join as allied veterinary organizations. In the future, other organizations and entities can join as sustaining members.
For more information, visit www.aquavets.org.