Mapping the teaching of aquatic animal veterinary medicine in the European Union and European Free Trade Area.Vet Rec Open. 2018; 5(1):e000309.VR
Aquatic animal production is the fastest growing food sector globally. Aquaculture and fisheries are very dynamic sectors in the EU and the number of ornamental aquarium pets is increasing. Veterinarians have a fundamental role to play by ensuring health and welfare of aquatic species, productivity and profitability of fish farming, public health and ecosystem conservation. This study investigates how the undergraduate curriculum prepares future veterinarians for such roles by analysing data from the 77 European veterinary education establishments based in EU and the European Free Trade Area. Over 95 per cent of these establishments incorporate teaching in aquatic animal veterinary medicine in their curriculum, while the great majority do so within the core curriculum. Almost half of the establishments provide teaching in aquatic animal veterinary medicine as separate subjects. Many establishments (>40 per cent) provide such training as elective option in their undergraduate curricula or as postgraduate opportunities to enhance Day One Competences. The veterinary education establishments integrating adequately aquatic animal veterinary medicine in their curriculum are evenly distributed in all regions of Europe. Veterinarians are trained and empowered by legislation to assess health of aquatic animals, to diagnose, to prescribe medicines, to notify for diseases and to ensure safe food for the consumers. Veterinary education establishments should encourage training of veterinarians to follow a career in aquatic animal veterinary medicine.