A vet has become the first in Ireland to be accredited as a Certified Aquaculture Veterinarian (CertAqV).
The accreditation was bestowed on Simon Doherty by the World Aquaculture Veterinary Medical Association (WAVMA).
The need for an aquatic veterinary workforce to support the aquaculture and seafood-producing industries, aquatic animal owners, private industries and government agencies has become a global imperative, particularly in light of increasing concerns for combating disease, seafood safety, public health and other issues.
The WAVMA Aquatic Veterinarian Certification Programme seeks to identify the core competencies needed to practise aquatic veterinary medicine – and recognise those vets who have acquired the necessary knowledge, skills and experience through a variety of sources.
Mr Doherty is senior vice-president of the BVA Northern Ireland branch and director of Blackwater Consultancy in Ballygowan, County Down.
He is also a consultant in animal sciences and aquaculture for the UK Trade and Investment’s Agri-Tech Organisation – the commercial arm of the UK Government – where he advises companies working in the animal health sector on overseas trade and inward investment opportunities.
Mr Doherty said: “The UK has a legacy of innovation and disruptive technologies in the agri-tech space, from the development of vaccines against new and emerging diseases to advanced digital engineering to monitor animal health and welfare.
“Globally, aquaculture is a rapidly expanding industry – in the past couple of years, the scales have tipped and 55% of the fish we eat is sourced from aquaculture systems, with 45% wild caught.
“As we strive for sustainability and consistent, high-quality, safe product from aquaculture, the sector has undergone rapid development with the uptake of new technologies.
“As a vet, I am keen to ensure I am well equipped to work with the industry – undertaking the CertAqV programme demonstrates my commitment to providing professional services to the sector.”