The occurrence of disease is a combination of the health of the animal, the condition of the environment, and the presence of a pathogen. The poultry industry has implemented a biosecure production system to prevent the spread of infectious disease among farms.
It serves as a model to aquaculture as a reliable source of animal protein worldwide. This paper briefly highlights some of the major points and practices of biosecurity for various aquaculture production systems presented at a special workshop held in Honolulu in July 2001 and published in the proceedings, Biosecurity in Aquaculture Production Systems: Exclusion of Pathogens and Other Undesirables (see Lee and OBryen 2003).
Examples of biosecurity systems used domestically and internationally in shrimp farming, finfish culture, and mollusc culture, as well as regulations and policies to prevent and control the spread of aquatic animal diseases are provided. The key elements of biosecurity are a reliable source of stocks, adequate detection and diagnostic methods for excludable diseases, disinfection and pathogen eradication methods, best management practices, and practical and acceptable legislation.
Production from aquaculture has grown at an impressive annual rate of approximately 11% since 1980. One of the significant challenges to the expansion of aquaculture production is from disease outbreaks. Diseases caused by viral infection are not easily treated under current technology and have caused significant economic losses. Potential economic losses from disease outbreaks are significant, and can affect the survival of the industry. For example, viral disease outbreaks have caused billions of dollars in lost revenue for the global shrimp industry (Lightner 2003, Table 1). Operation of shrimp farming once became impossible in countries such as Ecuador, Taiwan, and China due to disease outbreaks. The most effective way to deal with viral infection is to prevent it from occurring.
The success of the poultry industry as a reliable source of animal protein worldwide has been due to the implementation of a biosecure production system to prevent the spread of infectious disease among farms. The biosecurity practices in the poultry industry have prompted, in recent years, the consideration of a similar practice in aquaculture to deal with disease problems. The lessons learned from the poultry industry will assist the development of biosecurity in aquaculture.
To read the full report, click here (PDF)
Source: The Ocean Institute - April 2006