This rapid diagnostic method has been developed by city-based Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) and could save the Indian aquaculture industry Rs 1,800 crore a year.
The test, which can be conducted on a simple diagnostic strip by dropping a fluid from the gills of the shrimps, can detect white spot disease in 20 minutes, much quicker than the current practice of sending samples to the laboratory and getting results in 3-5 days, reported the Times Of India newspaper.
As well as India, white spot disease has also been causing problems in Australia. Following the outbreaks on prawn farms in Logan River, Queensland, the government launched an investigation into the source of the outbreak.
So far, no definite source has been found.
“We are still looking at a number of pathways that may have resulted in the white spot disease incursion in Queensland, including imported feed or probiotics, contaminated equipment, or even discarded uncooked prawns—or bits of prawns—that were purchased to eat," said Deputy Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Lyn O’Connell.
“In the course of our investigations, the department did come across recreational fishers using imported prawns labelled for human consumption for bait in the Logan River. Subsequent testing of the product did return positive results for the virus.
“What this tells us is that fishers using infected imported prawns for bait is one possible pathway for this disease to get into our river system and onto prawn farms—and is why prawns imported for human consumption should never be used for bait.”
In other news, a new study by the University of Washington and NOAA Fisheries' Northwest Fisheries Science Center, has found that the Dungeness crab fishery on the west coast of the US is likely to suffer from the effects of ocean acidification.
Acidification is expected to cause the crabs' food sources to decline. The fishery, valued at about $220 million annually, may therefore face a strong downturn over the next 50 years.