By: Dr Francois Lampen
uShaka Sea World Veterinarian
IAAAM (International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine) held their 50th Annual Meeting and Conference in Durban from 18 – 22 May 2019. SAAMBR was honoured to have been chosen as their Conference hosts. This was the first time an IAAAM conference was held on African soil.
IAAAM is, according to their mission statement, an organization of individuals who are “professionally interested in and devote a significant amount of time to the practice of aquatic animal medicine, teaching and research in aquatic animal medicine, or the husbandry and management of aquatic animals”.
Conference presentation topics ranged from developments in diagnostic techniques, conundrums in clinical management, conservation medicine and case studies.
The keynote speakers, Drs Lauren Waller and David Huchzermeyer, spoke about the current population status of the African penguin, and what is being done to ensure that the current sharp population decline is reversed. They also focused on the impacts of introducing alien species into a fresh-water system and the long-term consequences that damming rivers can have on the ecosystem.
Both the elasmobranch diagnostic technique and marine mammal stranding workshops were well organised, and the delegates will be able to take the practical experience demonstrated in these training sessions and apply them in their own institutions all over the world.
The conference attracted delegates from all continents except Antarctica. It was wonderful to hear these delegates sing our praises, from comments such as uShaka Sea World being one of the best welfare – oriented aquariums they have seen in the world.
The aim of these conferences is to advance the art and science of aquatic animal medicine and health and promote free exchange of knowledge. This conference managed to achieve these goals.