The Veterinary Profession has traditionally been involved with terrestrial domesticated animals. Involvement with wild species, with sustainability issues and with the aquatic environment is a relatively new phenomenon. The main driver in all of these developments has been economic—it was realized by both the profession and by national and international authorities that there was a need for greater competence in these areas and that the combination of skills inherent in veterinary training and professional regulation would be increasingly important as aquaculture in particular but also a hobby and sport fish interests became more significant.
Although the first qualified veterinarian in fish pathology was the German scientist Marianne Plehn who worked on salmonid diseases in the late 19th century and there were small training and research capacities in the European countries where carp production was important such as Yugoslavia and Poland, in the early years of the 20th century it was only in the 1960s that significant veterinary effort began to be introduced, in both US and Europe.
The paper will review these early beginnings in the context of their times and explain how economic drivers and the efforts of a small cadre of enthusiasts have expanded the role of both the practicing veterinarian and the veterinary scientist to the present situation where there is a world-wide body of competent veterinarians, often working alongside specific etiology specialists, developing and applying the latest veterinary technologies to ensuring the safe sustainable development of fish production in all its aspects.