Report on the Shrimp Virus Peer Review and Risk Assessment Workshop - Developing a Qualitative Ecological Risk Assessment
United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development
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Public concerns over the potential introduction and spread of nonindigenous pathogenic shrimp viruses to the wild shrimp fishery and shrimp aquaculture industry in U.S. coastal waters have been increasing. Although these viruses pose no threat to human health, outbreaks on U.S. shrimp farms, the appearance of diseased shrimp in U.S. commerce, and new information on the susceptibility of shrimp and other crustaceans to these viruses prompted calls for action. In response, the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture (JSA) tasked a Federal interagency Shrimp Virus Workgroup with assessing the shrimp virus problem. Four Federal agencies are represented on the JSA Shrimp Virus Workgroup: the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). In June 1997, the Shrimp Virus Workgroup summarized the available information on shrimp viruses in a report to the JSA entitled "An Evaluation of Potential Shrimp Virus Impacts on Cultured Shrimp and on Wild Shirmp Populations in the Gulf of Mexico and Southeastern U.S. Atlantic Coastal Waters" (JSA Shrimp Virus Report [JSVR]). During July 1997, in cooperation with the JSA, EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA) sponsored a series of four stakeholder meetings to gather stakeholder input on the JSVR and the shrimp virus issue. The JSVR and the stakeholder (public) comments formed the basis for the shrimp virus peer review and risk assessment workshop, held during January 1998. Workshop participants considered several potential pathways of nonindigenous pathogenic shrimp viruses to wild shrimp populations, including shrimp aquaculture, shrimp processing, and "other" sources and pathways, and independently assessed risks using a qualitative risk assessment approached developed by the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force. The workshop report was revised based on comments provided by an external scientific review in July 1998. This workshop report, together with the results of the independent scientific review, was used as the basis for a risk management workshop on shrimp viruses held on July 28-29, 1998, in New Orleans. The risk management workshop, jointly sponsored by the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program, NMFS, and the USDA Agricultureal Research Service, developed options and strategies for managing the threat of shrimp viruses to cultured and wild stocks of shrimp in the Gulf fo Mexico and southeastern U.S. Atlantic coastal waters.