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Freighting Fish

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#1 anchar

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  • Joined: 28-January 04
  • Location: Bullcreek

Posted 23 August 2006 - 11:18 AM

Freighting / Shipping Fish
by Andrea Watts

I thought I’d throw together some steps and pointers to help with those who are freighting fish interstate for the first time. Road courier and flight freight procedures differ slightly, however the methods involved in ensuring your fish have a safe trip are fairly similar. On the east coast, freighting/courier delivery of fish is fairly straight forward. Fish travelling to Western Australia involve a little more preparation. WA has very stringent quarantine laws, hence attention to detail is important.

1. If you have at least a week’s notice, water change the tanks that contain the travelers. Less impurities in the “bagged” water will help lessen the bio-load/stress on the fish.
2. Fish need to be fasted for 2-3 days before travel. This will purge the digestive tract and keep expelled waste (ammonia) in the bags to a minimum.
3. Always double bag and double lacky your fish as burst bags/broken rubber bands is not unheard of. I have found that the bags with square bases suit packaging in boxes best.
4. Fry sized fish (ie. 1- 3cm) can be bagged at up to 10 fish per bag. Fish up to 5cm are best limited to 6 per bag. Fish larger than 5cm really need to be individually bagged. Delicate species, such as Tropheus spp. should be bagged separately. Catfish and other species with spines should also be placed one to a bag so that they do not inflict injury to each other during transit. Three bags may also help provide some resistance to punctures. Species that frighten easily should have a piece of newspaper slipped between the two bags to keep them dark and calm.
5. Contrary to popular belief, only enough water to cover the fish comfortably should be included. Oxygen is many times more important than water quantity. Sometimes the airlines get it wrong and fish may be “missing”/off loaded at the wrong airport/forgotten/delayed for up to 30 hours. Therefore it is essential that oxygen (100% medical grade) is used to aerate the bags. Remember that the unnecessary added weight of water will add to freight costs. Bags should feel firm but not overly hard.
6. The addition of 2 – 3 drops of Prime or Ammolock to each bag will help to neutralise the effects of ammonia.
7. When freighting fish to Western Australia be very sure that snails/gravel/plant matter are excluded from the water. Bags containing any foreign matter are confiscated and destroyed…fish included!
8. Once the bags are packed into the polystyrene box, any spaces should be filled with scrunched up newspaper or a bag filled with air and tied off. This will prevent the fish from being tumbled around inside the box. A layer of newspaper placed on the bottom of the styrene box will help sop up any spillage. Only a couple of sheets should be used as weight is an issue when considering air freight costs.
9. Ensure that the box is well marked with the sender’s and addressee’s details. Contact phone numbers must be clearly visible. It is advisable to write it on paper and stick it firmly to the box using tape.
10. Have your fish at the freight terminal at least 1 – 2 hours before the scheduled departure time . This should help minimise the risk of the fish being sent on the wrong flight.
11. Once you get home, contact the addressee (via PM is easiest) notifying them of the flight number, estimated arrival time and consignment note number. This is very important for those who are receiving fish in WA as they need to contact AQIS and book a time for an inspector to clear the fish from quarantine. Another important consideration is that AQIS inspectors are not on call during the evening /overnight. Therefore flight schedules need to coincide with the hours of operation, otherwise your fish will be left overnight in a cold hanger until they are checked the following morning.

Hope this helps…happy freighting!

Some useful links:

http://www.virginblu.....nd Collection


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