Kate Casey The National Fisheries Development Institute (IFOP) has announced that the island of Chiloé will soon be the home of Chile’s most modern [fish] vaccine evaluation laboratory. The Diario Llanquihue’s Visión Acuícola interviewed Sergio Contreras, head of IFOP’s Hydro-biologic Health Department about the project. “When we presented our proposal for this project there were 12 or 13 vaccine products in the market, today there are 31. Even with more players involved, the [sanitation] problems always have to with the same chemical agents causing the disease. All vaccines enter the market under the same category - ‘transitory’. This is because the process of completing their evaluation, which requires field trials, is never thoroughly carried out by government regulation agencies. Our objective is to evaluate the type, potency and safety of these vaccines, and provide an official evaluation of such products entering the country,” explains Contreras. The National Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) is the regulation agency responsible for evaluation and licensing of all of chemical or biological products entering the country. The SAG however has been unable to keep pace with the dynamic growth of the aquaculture sector, leaving it unequipped and unprepared to properly complete its function as regulator of aquaculture related products. Contreras illustrates, “Today the same labs producing the vaccines turn in their technical specifications to the SAG. The SAG reviews the documentation and issues a temporary permit. In the case of vaccines used in aquaculture, nearly all continue to circulate with such permits since field testing of such products has not been feasible.” The new vaccine evaluation centre managed by the IFOP will have a wet lab equipped to maintain healthy fish to be used in the trials. The organizations jointly involved in the project (SAG, IFOP and the National Fisheries Service, SERNAPESCA) have received consultation from a leading certification laboratory from the UK throughout the project’s development.