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Shared jurisdiction between veterinarians and aqua medicine biologists in fish health—a Norwegian model for inter-professional and cross-sectoral collaboration

Abstract : AbstractThis article investigates, using a sociology of profession approach, why veterinarians and aqua medicine biologists share jurisdiction in fish health in Norway. I use a five-actor framework to highlight key events in the development of the Norwegian model for inter-professional and cross-sectoral collaboration in fish health. Veterinarians were initially the only profession involved in fish health. However, in the late 1980s, the Norwegian aquaculture industry suffered great losses due to significant disease outbreaks. Lack of scientific knowledge about the disease causing the outbreaks, Hitra disease, and lack of veterinary capacity to cope with the problem resulted in a situation in which veterinarians continued, as an early response to the disease, to use antibiotic-based therapies. The marine science milieu, with support from the aquaculture industry, instituted a vaccine solution to the endemic Hitra disease in 1987. This scientific breakthrough had major impacts on combatting fish diseases and on the further development of vaccines. New vaccine solutions for other diseases, such as furunculosis, were developed by international and multidisciplinary collaboration. Over a 7-year period, the use of antibiotic-based therapy was dramatically reduced. The control of fish diseases is aquaculture’s X factor, and without these vaccine solutions and regulation regimes, the story of Norwegian aquaculture could have been different. The successful development of the Hitra disease vaccine enabled the marine science milieu at the University of Bergen and the University of Tromsø to establish a new programme of education for aqua medicine biologists based on their own scientific knowledge base. However, their struggle for shared jurisdiction, including the right to prescribe veterinary medicine, lasted nearly 20 years. In 2005, veterinary legislation was amended, and in addition to medical doctors, dentists and veterinarians, aqua medicine biologists, as the fourth profession in Norway, gained the right to prescribe medical products. I argue that the experience in Norway, where professionals from two different sectors share jurisdiction and work side by side in fish health, is worth examining as a model for organizing inter-professional and cross-sectoral collaboration.
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Submitted on : Monday, August 16, 2021 - 5:14:19 AM
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Wenche M. Kjæmpenes. Shared jurisdiction between veterinarians and aqua medicine biologists in fish health—a Norwegian model for inter-professional and cross-sectoral collaboration. Review of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Studies, Springer, 2021, 102 (2), pp.171-190. ⟨10.1007/s41130-020-00118-8⟩. ⟨hal-03320447⟩

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