UK - Research and development are the foundations of the aquaculture industry Neil Robertson from Novatis said in his key note speech at the opening of the Aquaculture UK 2012 exhibition and conference.
He said that research and development are vital right across the industry - not just in health but also in feed and equipment, reports Chris Harris from Aviemore, Scotland.
"We have a growing industry that gives health challenges, but in extreme conditions it is not just a question of health but also the equipment," he said.
"We have a commitment that R and D are sustainable."
And Dr Roberston added that the commitment to sustainable research goes right down to the universities where often it starts.
He said that as the sites for fish farms and aquaculture projects get larger, so the challenges get greater and the introduction of new species such as wrasse that people want to farm also presents new health challenges.
"New species bring new challenges, such as the battle against sea lice," he said.
"But when new species come along, people want medicines and they want them now."
He said that with a growing industry, there is a growing fish population and the production of new vaccines is part of the way of sustaining that industry.
However, he pointed out that new vaccines take about 10 years to develop and get on to the market, while those in the aquaculture industry want a vaccine against a new disease immediately when it occurs.
"There is quite a time scale to go along," he said.
He said that in the development of vaccines it is essential to ensure that they are safe and can be delivered early and easily. They must also give long term protection and be multivalent, protecting against multiple diseases.
He said that to achieve this new technology can play a part and at Novartis the research team is developing nucleic acid technology that takes a section if the virus DNA and links into a nucleic acid ring. This allows for improved efficacy of the vaccine, reduced side effects and an ease of use.
Dr Robertson also discussed the problem surrounding sea lice which he said stretched from the Faroe Islands to Chile.
He said that research in continuing at many universities for a long acting treatment that is easy to use.
Part of the key to the on-going research has been a collaborative approach between the aquaculture industry, universities and the pharmaceutical and feed companies such as existed between the University of Bergen, Novatis, EWOS and Marine Harvest.