Kloubec Koi recently posted an article on their website implying that all Koi from Israel are carriers of KHV.
This action by Kloubec not only flies in the face of the communal nature of the Koi hobby and industry, but is also irresponsible and borderline slanderous.
Have some Israeli Koi been carriers of KHV in the past? Yes. But so have American Koi, Japanese Koi, and some Koi from every other country that produces Koi. Should all Koi from a country be labeled as carriers of KHV just because Koi from one or a few farms once had KHV? Of course not, that’s ridiculous.
Implying that no one should buy Israeli Koi because of an isolated incident involving Israeli fish is akin to saying “The 2017 Honda Accord had a recall, so you should never buy another car from Japan”.
Kodama Koi, one of the most popular and well respected Koi dealers in the entire United States, recently contracted KHV from a shipment of Japanese Koi. Is anyone labeling every Koi coming out of Japan as a KHV carrier? Of course not, because that’s ridiculous.
Upon seeing these comments from Kloubec, I reached out to Danny Benjamin, general manager of Hazorea Aquatics. His response follows:
First the facts about the recent incident:
KHVD was in fact detected in a retail facility in BC. The owner claims he only receives Koi from one wholesaler who imports from Israel. As far as I have been able to ascertain no KHV was found on the wholesaler’s premises or in Koi with other retailers who buy Koi from him.
Based on this CFIA has banned the import of Koi, Goldfish, guppies, Gouramis and other varieties from Israel, until the matter can be cleared up. However, this ban already exists on fish coming from most other exporting countries. Before the ban, Israel was one of the few countries allowed to export to Canada.
After reading the message on the Kloubec site I have this to say:
It is grossly unfair, misleading and even libelous to say that “It has long been known that Israeli Koi are carriers of KHV”. The statement is biased, shows a lack of knowledge on the subject or of the facts and is plainly being used to gain a competitive advantage. Anyone acquainted with the facts knows that the few KHV outbreaks that have been reported refer to Koi from a wide variety of sources, including Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and even from local US farms.
It is safe to say that worldwide, in the last 20 years there have been fewer reports of KHV in Israeli Koi than in Koi from any other major producer/exporter.
Israel is the only Koi producing country in the world that exports Koi that are either vaccinated against KHV or are produced in indoor, closed, biosecure facilities. While there is still controversy regarding vaccinated Koi, these two methods have almost completely eliminated the spread of KHV from Israeli farms.
Hazorea Aquatics produces and exports almost a million Koi from its custom built, completely indoor, biosecure facility in Northern Israel. The facility has been working continuously since 2001 and is certified by the Israeli Veterinary Services who implement and monitor strict protocols of Biosecurity and make random inspections and tests of fish to ensure this.
One of the safeguards Hazorea can provide its customers is that all Koi in the Hazorea facility are kept year round at temperatures where KHV is most virulent. This means that if KHV existed in the facility it would become apparent immediately. This is a guarantee no outdoor farm can provide since fish are usually supplied from cooler temperatures at which the virus may be present without showing any clinical symptoms. This means that theoretically, a customer could inadvertently buy an infected fish that could break out with the virus as soon as the temperature warmed up.
Israeli Koi comprise over 80% of the Koi market in the UK and possibly over 60% of Koi sales in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany. It is inconceivable that distributors in these countries would buy such huge quantities of Koi from a country that was suspected of being a source of KHV.
To be completely clear, Next Day Koi imports only Hazorea Koi. Next Day Koi has not and will not ever deal in vaccinated Koi, period.
Having spent my entire life on Koi farms and in the Koi industry, I can say undoubtedly that Hazorea produces some of the safest Koi in the world in regards to biosecurity.
As Danny mentioned in the comments above, Hazorea Koi spend their entire lives completely enclosed in an indoor facility, never subjected to the outside world until they are packed up and sent out for shipping. This single fact alone makes Hazorea Koi incredibly biosecure with regards to viruses. Also mentioned above, these indoor fish have not tested positive for KHV in 17 years of operation.
We, Kloubec, and others in our industry can and should attempt to educate people about Koi health and the risk of infectious diseases, including KHV. But the original Kloubec blog post in question is not the way to go about it, and I hope it will be retracted. We should be telling everyone what any serious grower or hobbyist already knows – that it is completely impossible for any fish to be 100% safe. ALL FISH, from any source (including ALL American farms and including Hazorea) carry some risk with them, and quarantine periods should be the standard for all fish, from any source.
We should promote our Koi based solely on their own merits, as well as that of our production methods, our companies and/or our suppliers, not by grabbing at a single isolated incident, using it to blacklist others, not to mention vilify the products of an entire country using little or no information based on fact.
For 60 years and three generations the LeFever family has worked to engender an atmosphere of cooperation and unity in the Koi industry and hobby, even amongst competitors. It saddens us to see anyone in the industry using such immoral methods to attempt to slander and discredit an entire country’s worth of growers. The Koi industry has been and should continue to be above this type of activity amongst competitors.
Check out this video of Next Day Koi’s tour of Hazorea’s biosecure facility…