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Weekly Overview: New Disease Diagnostics Technology Aims to Combat Disease in Aquaculture

Lucy Towers
14 July 2015, at 1:00am

ANALYSIS - The UKs Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) is developing cutting edge farmer-led disease diagnostics technology that could help combat devastating disease outbreaks in global fish and shellfish production.

By working with governments and industry in the UK and Asia, Cefas is developing new DNA-based diagnostic technology linked to data reporting by smartphone, which can be used by local farmers at the “pond side” to rapidly detect potentially devastating diseases.

The new technology could help to save up to $6 billion that is lost annually across the global aquaculture industry.

It is hoped that this revolutionary approach will help ensure that early detection enables faster management of infection and disease and more effective control of outbreaks, which in the past have led to serious impact on food supply and a loss of profits for the poorest rural communities engaged in farming. 

In India, researchers at the Chennai-based Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture have managed to successfully breed milkfish in captivity after ten long years of study.

Indian newspaper, The Hindu, reported that the researchers made the breakthrough by implanting hormones in the fish.

“Instead of injecting hormones, we have implanted hormones and it would be released in a sustainable manner,” Mr Vijayan explained. 

In fisheries news, Iceland and St Kitts and Nevis have both made a stand against illegal fishing after they ratified the FAO's Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA).     

The PSMA treaty aims to prevent illegal fish entering the market, thereby helping to tackle the problem of Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The two countries became the 12th and 13th States, respectably, to ratify the treaty. The treaty will only come into force once 25 nations have ratified it.