Managing animal health from an aquaculture perspective

Tuesday, July 22, 2014: 11:55 AM
2502 (Kansas City Convention Center)
Craig A Shoemaker , USDA-ARS, Aquatic Animal Health Research Unit, Auburn, AL
Benjamin R LaFrentz , USDA-ARS, Aquatic Animal Health Research Unit, Auburn, AL
Dehai Xu , USDA-ARS, Aquatic Animal Health Research Unit, Auburn, AL
Dunhua Zhang , USDA-ARS, Aquatic Animal Health Research Unit, Auburn, AL
Abstract Text:

Aquaculture is the production of aquatic animals for food.  The aquaculture industry is a rapidly expanding segment of U. S. agriculture and NOAA estimated the industry was worth $1.2 billion in 2011.  Disease related losses in aquaculture either by decreased performance and/or mortality is estimated by the World Bank to be around $3 billion globally.   Snieszko in 1974 proposed the host-pathogen-environment relationship theory as applied to fish with regard to development of disease.  Age, species, strain(s), nutritional and immunological status of the host are relevant to disease induction.  The pathogen including exposing dose, virulence and genetic type (strain) is also pertinent to disease in aquatic animals.  For aquatic animals, the environment is probably the most important factor in relation to disease development.  Fish are produced in all types of water (i.e., fresh, brackish and salt water) and fish must rely on the water for temperature regulation, oxygen, waste removal, etc., for optimum performance and health.  Aquatic animal health management is unique due to the fact the animals are reared in the water.  Disease can be difficult to discover in water.  Once disease is identified, treatment can be problematic because of the size of ponds and/or volume of water.  Also, limited treatment options are available due to the fact that few medicines are FDA approved.  In some aquaculture operations (e.g., catfish production) all sizes of fish may be raised together in multibatch culture.  Therefore, separation of healthy and sick animals is challenging.  Prevention is the key to successful health management of fish and should include good husbandry practices to limit stress, providing adequate balanced nutrition, use of vaccines and prudent use of medicines.   This presentation will highlight the unique aspects of aquatic animal health management and outline areas where further work may improve our understanding of animal health.


Aquaculture, fish, health management