Local veterinary surgeon, Simon Doherty, is the first vet on the island of Ireland to be accredited as a Certified Aquaculture Veterinarian – CertAqV – by the World Aquaculture Veterinary Medical Association (WAVMA).
The need for an adequate and well-trained aquatic veterinary workforce that provides services to the aquaculture and seafood producing industries, aquatic animal owners, private industries, government agencies and others has become a global imperative – particularly in light of increasing concerns for combatting disease, seafood safety, public health and other issues.
Because of their training in multiple species of animals, veterinarians are uniquely qualified to deal with most of these issues. The WAVMA Aquatic Veterinarian Certification Programme seeks to identify the core competencies needed to practice aquatic veterinary medicine, and to recognize those veterinarians that have acquired the necessary knowledge, skills and experience through a variety of sources.
Simon is the Senior Vice-President of the Northern Ireland Branch of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and is the Director of Blackwater Consultancy Ltd, based in Ballygowan.
He is a consultant in Animal Sciences and Aquaculture for the Agri-Tech Organisation of UKTI, the commercial arm of the UK government, where he advises companies working in the animal health sector on overseas trade and inward investment opportunities.
He explains: “My portfolio at UKTI is broad and covers everything from pet nutrition and livestock genetics to veterinary pharmaceuticals and aquaculture systems. 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 – within the last couple of years the scales have tipped and now 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 that I am well equipped to work with the industry – undertaking the CertAqV programme demonstrates my commitment to providing professional services to the sector.”