How many members does it have and what is its mission?
Since its inception, 1,465 veterinarians and veterinary students from 80 countries have applied for membership, with 241 new applications in 2017 so far. Our current membership stands at 486. We aim to serve the discipline of aquatic veterinary medicine through enhancing aquatic animal health and welfare, public health and seafood safety, to support aquatic veterinarians, aquatic animal owners, industries and other stakeholders.
What are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing aquatic veterinarians currently?
Our challenges include limited content on aquatic medicine in vet schools, lack of suitable legislation in some countries governing the treatment of aquatic animals and the belief of many people that veterinarians do not treat aquatic animals. Opportunities for veterinarians are mainly premised on contributing to overcoming these challenges.
Is WAVMA running any particular initiatives or campaigns at the moment?
We provide a listserv for the exchange of information between members, a quarterly newsletter, an annual conference on aquatic veterinary medicine and further educational opportunities through our website, including webinars, presentations and image galleries. We have also established a scholarship program to help veterinary students and new veterinarians to become involved in aquatic veterinary medicine. We partner with the International Aquatic Veterinary Biosecurity Consortium (www.iavbc.org) to promote biosecurity practices that meet international (OIE) standards and national regulations.
Why do you think it is important that WAVMA members are also members of the WSAVA? What are the benefits to them?
Through our membership of the WSAVA, our members can network and exchange scientific information with a larger pool of veterinarians from around the world concerned with companion animals.
How would you like to see the relationship between WAVMA and the WSAVA develop?
Ornamental fish are largely ignored by the companion animal sector of the profession yet they represent, by numbers, the largest group of animal species (around 2,000). In many countries their numbers exceed that of cats and dogs combined. Despite these numbers, their health and welfare can often be poor and veterinary services limited. In addition, veterinarians are continuously approached by clients for assistance with aquatic animal pets and often feel incapable of offering advice or treatment. We are dedicated to developing improved care of all aquatic species, including ornamental (pet) species, and to providing a forum for the exchange of scientific information between colleagues which parallels and fits the WSAVA Vision and Mission. We see our relationship with the WSAVA as essential to improving and filling these gaps through continuous education and capacity building.
Caption: Devon Dublin (right) with Laure Urdes, President of WAVMA endorsing the WSAVA Global Dental Guidelines during WSAVA World Congress in Copenhagen.