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Producers back anti-SRS drive

the Fish Site Editor
16 March 2017, at 12:00am

In a bid to tackle problems caused by costly health issues such as SRS, the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) has today issued a Statement of Intent with pharmaceutical companies, to demonstrate its commitment to supporting R&D into new fish health products.

Salmon Rickettsial Syndrome (SRS) is currently considered to be the most important disease problem in the Chilean salmon farming industry, causing economic losses of over US$100 million a year, and GSI members are clear that finding a vaccine which offers an effective solution to the bacterial disease is a pressing priority, and the main driver behind this announcement.

Acknowledging that such R&D comes with high levels of investment, the GSI wished to formalize their commitment by supporting those pharmaceutical companies that invest in R&D. Within the statement, GSI members outline that, where fairly priced health products are available and effective, it is in their interest to purchase from companies that have developed the product for a long enough time period for the inventive pharmaceutical company to recoup the costs and allow for future investments.

In addition, GSI members also intend to support the R&D process through increasing access to company biological material, and supporting trial procedures where suitable, to ensure innovation can happen at an efficient pace, and with the most effective outcomes.

“The salmon industry faces challenges that require new and effective solutions, and success depends upon continued innovation,” said Andrés Lyon, CEO of Multiexport Foods and Co-Chair of GSI Biosecurity Taskforce. “We must support our supply chain and the work being done to help ensure the most effective and sustainable farming approaches.”

This Statement of Intent represents just one aspect of the ongoing work within the GSI’s Biosecurity Taskforce. Member companies, and pharmaceutical Associate members, are working pre-competitively to share knowledge and experiences to support the industry in overcoming biosecurity and fish health risks.

“GSI members are clearly acknowledging that our R&D efforts are worthwhile and that the companies are committed to making decisions based on a vision of long-term future sustainability,” said Jose Fernando Rodriguez, Global Technical Services Manager, Elanco Aqua Business. “Through ongoing collaboration between GSI member companies and the pharmaceutical Associate members, we have been able to identify possible barriers to industry progress, and identify ways to overcome them.”

In addition to the work being carried out in support of industry R&D, the GSI Biosecurity Taskforce members are continuing to share best practices on management of sea lice and SRS, as well as sharing knowledge on the prevention and management of algal blooms.