Disease management to achieve sustainability goals in tropical aquaculture has a clear business case

The environmental costs of diseases, mortality and antibiotics are high in tropical aquaculture. Fish that die before they are sold are obviously a waste of inputs. Overuse of anti-biotics, creates resistance, food safety issues and contamination of water resources. Better disease management that results in higher survival rates and less use of antibiotics reduce the environmental impact of tropical aquaculture, AND translates in immediate cost reductions and better market access for tropical fish farmers.

The Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS) outbreaks in shrimp in Asia and Latin America have led to crop failures for several hundred thousand producers. In Tilapia a single disease (streptococcus) is responsible for about one billion US dollar of annual global losses. The Tilapia Lake Virus is affecting production in an increasing number of countries. In pangasius the survival rates of fish  vary enormously.

Antibiotic use not only impact the environment and food safety, but also hampers market access and are very costly. IDH believes these costs can be lowered by collaborating with tropical aquaculture producers and data companies on epidemiological projects.

Co-invest in epidemiology
IDH wants to replicate an approach used in salmon to analyze pathogen in relation with hosts and environments and uses those data to formulate mitigating actions. Flavio Corsin, Director Aquaculture at IDH: ‘It is basically epidemiology. When you know what causes diseases and how diseases spread in a fish population, you can take preventive measurements. It is been applied in human medicine and in salmon farming. From the analyzed data they developed a regulatory framework to improve biosecurity, inform on risk factors, and model disease spread to evaluate and improve disease control measures. IDH want to integrate this approach in tropical aquaculture.’

Call for proposal
IDH is looking for partners to apply successful disease management methodologies in salmon, to shrimp, tilapia and pangasius farming. Resulting farm data will be analyzed by top experts (co-financed by IDH) and producers will thereafter be trained on how to improve their practices based on real-time date. IDH has 500,000 euro co-financing capacity available for these projects.

IDH will set up projects with producers and aquatic epidemiological institutes including the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, the University of Prince Edwards Island, Stirling University, and the University of Zaragoza. IDH is open to have the analysis conducted by others, but those institutes will be scrutinized by IDH before a project starts. This call for proposal is only open for tilapia, shrimp and pangasius producers and data companies in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Ecuador and African countries. Contact Flavio Corsin for more information.