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Weekly Overview: Are Effective Viral Vaccines for Aquaculture on their Way?

05 March 2013

ANALYSIS - In this weeks news, researchers in Norway have been developing knowledge on the infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) and infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN) viruses, which have both proved costly to salmon aquaculture companies across the world, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor.

In order to help create an effective future vaccine, research led by Siri Mjaaland has analysed how the viruses bypass the salmon’s innate immune system and which immune responses may protect the fish from the diseases.

“Using the knowledge we now have about the salmon immune system and ISA infection strategies, we can customise vaccines to produce the most effective immune mechanisms. We know the basics of how to design the ISA vaccine, but there are still many challenges remaining before an effective vaccine will be commercially available,” explained Siri Mjaaland.

Fish diseases, along with low market prices, clearly impacted many salmon farming companies last year.

The Scottish Salmon Company last week reported annual profits of £79.5 million, down from the £90 milion reported in 2011. This decrease was due to a combination of disease outbreaks, low salmon prices and a problem with sub-standard feed.

In other aquaculture news, the new Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) standards for finfish and crustacean farms are expected to go live in the spring of 2013.

Logistics aside, the new BAP farm standards tackle the issue of social responsibly much more rigorously than the previous BAP farm standards, which were separately tailored for shrimp, salmon, tilapia, Pangasius and catfish. The new BAP farm standards apply to all types of production systems for finfish and crustaceans, excluding cage-raised salmonids, for which separate BAP farm standards exist.

Peru has estimated its fishmeal production for 2013 will be around 1 million metric tonnes, a 26 per cent fall compared to the previous year, as a result of over fishing.

Despite the governments efforts to control fishing through the use of individual fishing quotas per boat, individual processing licensing per plant and fishing bans, the measures have not been enough to prevent the reduction of biomass.

Peru’s fishmeal exports for 2013 are forecast at 980,000 metric tonnes.

In fisheries news, the EU Fisheries Council agreed on a timeline for the implementation of a discards ban in Europe.

A discarding ban of pelagic stocks will come into force from January 2014, and then stocks in the Baltic Sea in 2015. In 2016, the discard ban will apply to the main demersal stocks in the North Sea and the North and South Westernand. Finally the discard ban will apply to fisheries in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and all other Union waters on 1 January 2017.

Richard Benyon, UK Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries, reflected on the meeting saying: “This is a historic moment in reforming the broken Common Fisheries Policy. The scandal of discards has gone on for too long and I’m delighted that the UK has taken such a central role in securing this agreement."

Lucy Towers, Editor

Lucy Towers, Editor



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