First forum for tackling parasitic diseases takes place

ParaFishControl attendees ParaFishControl partners and industry experts at the ParaFishControl Industry Forum

Developments in fighting parasitic disease affecting aquaculture were discussed at the first ParaFishControl Industry Forum.

The forum, part of last month’s International Conference on Diseases of Fish and Shellfish in Northern Ireland, facilitated effective knowledge exchange between academia, aquaculture companies and fish farmer associations.

Dr Panos Christofilogiannis, ParaFishControl Industry Forum leader and managing director of AQUARK, remarked: “We are excited to discuss ways to improve parasitic disease management and to quantify its economic impact to the sector. This serves as the first step to mobilise all stakeholders in a sector-wide effort to combat and manage fish parasitic diseases with novel approaches and solutions."

Parasite control

Developing disease treatments is a major goal of the ParaFishControl project, an EU Horizon 2020-funded research project that aims to improve understanding of fish-parasite interactions and develop innovative solutions and tools to prevent, control and mitigate harmful parasites which affect the main fish species farmed in Europe.

Dr Hamish Rodger, global managing director of the Fish Vet Group, estimated the high annual economic impact for a variety of parasitic diseases in different countries, like sea lice in Norway (EUR448-640m) and Scotland (EUR40-56m), amoebic gill disease in Scottish farms (EUR600-900,000 for a 2000t site) and cotton moulds (Saprolegnia) in Scottish aquaculture (EUR5.5m).

The impact of parasitic diseases in Mediterranean mariculture was discussed by Andreas Kyriakou, fish pathologist at Selonda. All attendees agreed that a coordinated effort is required to improve impact predictions and the use of a set methodology to accurately assess the significant economic impact of parasites in aquaculture.

Vaccination candidate genes

Topics involved novel disease treatments which are planned to be ready for use in the near future, progress in the ongoing search for vaccination candidate genes and feed additives, and the expectations of further expert consultations and epidemiological investigations to be undertaken in 2018.

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