World Aquatic Animal Day

On 3rd of April, all aquatic animals are celebrated, and there are many! More research has probably been carried out in space than in the deep sea, so if you are curious about the inhabitants of oceans, lakes and rivers around the world, there is still a lot more to discover and learn. Why not use today to raise global awareness about all aquatic animals.

Please also read: UN agrees to protect high seas

The variation among aquatic animals is great: they may be vertebrates or invertebrates, breathe air or extract oxygen through gills, they may live in saltwater or freshwater. And even though different fish are usually the one species most associated with water, there are many more aquatic animals. These include sea birds, mollusks, crustaceans, corals, aquatic insects, marine mammals and many more. 

Importance of Aquatic Animals

Aquatic animals are very important for ecosystems constituted of any kind of water body. However, human consumption of aquatic animal products is greater than ever before, and it is even expected to increase. In order to meet this demand, humans breed aquatic animals in aquacultures. This increases the risk of aquatic animal diseases and a threat to the sustainable growth of aquaculture. Diseases can be brought about by different factors, for example climate change, unsustainable farming practices or unregulated trade. Moreover, diseases can affect our food supply and the safety of consuming aquatic animals. Therefore, aquatic animal production needs to be controlled as well as the animals’ welfare. Production practices need to be improved, also regarding their sustainability. This can support aquatic animal farmers, improve global food security and preserve the welfare of farmed fish. Moreover, it conserves biodiversity and protects the environment.

WOAH Aquatic Animal Health Strategy

The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) is working to improve aquatic animal health worldwide. The need to build more sustainable aquatic animal production systems is eminent. Therefore, the WOAH launched its first Aquatic Animal Health Strategy in May 2021. The objectives of the strategy are very ambitious and include securing income and livelihood for 50 million people working in fisheries and aquaculture, contributing to food security, and protecting aquatic animal resources for a sustainable development. 

What You Can Do for Aquatic Animal Health

There are some aspects you should pay attention to whenever you interact with aquatic animals to ensure their and thereby also your own health. If you have aquarium fish, do never release them into waterways. If you do not want them anymore, return them to the pet store.
If you enjoy fishing, do not release live bait into a water body other than the one it was caught in. Do not use seafood intended for consumption as a bait. Instead, use baits that are being sold as bait. Before fishing, make sure you know about regulations in your territory. 
Do not dispose unwanted seafood or seafood waste into waterways; instead dispose of it according to regulations in your region. Moreover, if you see any unusual signs in aquatic animals that could point to a disease, report it immediately. 

By protecting aquatic animals and conserving the oceans and other waterways, we can ensure a healthy life on earth since we depend on it for various reasons, including temperature and nutrient pattern regulation, food supply and climate.

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