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GenoMar secures SPF status for tilapia facility

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in the Philippines has approved GenoMar for the world's first specific pathogen-free (SPF) certification for tilapia.

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
1 July 2022, at 1:00pm
aerial view of hapa nets in the water
Part of GenoMar's SPF certified facility in the Philippines

GenoMar has been operating tilapia breeding programmes in the Philippines since 1999

The facility subject to certification is the GenoMar nucleus and grandparent site at Central Luzon State University in the Philippines, where GenoMar has been operating a tilapia breeding programme since 1999. The genetically improved fish populations reared in this facility serve as a hub for multiplication and distribution to other tilapia farms in Asia and Latin America.

SPF-certification for three significant viral pathogens

The disease-free status covers the most significant viral pathogens in tilapia aquaculture worldwide: TiLV (tilapia lake virus disease), VER (viral encephalopathy and retinopathy, also known as VNN) and Megalocytovirus (iridoviral disease).

The SPF certification process started around three years ago and during this period GenoMar´s facilities and fish populations were frequently audited. Samples from the fish were collected and analysed by PCR following the guidelines set by the World Organisation for Animal Health to meet the standards for disease-freedom certification.

researcher using a PCR machine
Operation of PCR-machines that detect the presence of specific pathogens from fish tissue

Samples from GenoMar's fish were collected and analysed by PCR to meet the standards for disease-freedom certification

GenoMar’s SPF certification means that companies and countries importing genetic material from this facility are in good health and have low risk of transferring these pathogens. GenoMar's biosecurity and surveillance programme and facilities will also be regularly audited going forward by the independent BFAR´s Aquatic Veterinary Services to maintain the SPF certification.

Putting biosecurity first

“Maintaining the highest level of tilapia health, welfare and biosecurity is a foremost priority for GenoMar and is an integrated part of our strategy,” said Thea Luz G Pineda, GenoMar’s breeding manager for Asia Pacific.

"This certification is a recognition of GenoMar’s rigorous biosecurity and health management principles maintained over the years, and it is a great complement to the commercial value proposition of health-related products such as the Specific Pathogen Tolerant stocks GenoMar Strong."

“We are extremely proud of this achievement and want to congratulate all our old and existing colleagues for having secured an excellent health status on this iconic facility over the years,” said Alejandro Tola Alvarez, CEO of GenoMar Group.