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Norwegian Aquaculture Reports Lowest Antibiotic Use Since 1970's

20 July 2015

NORWAY - Norway has reported its lowest yearly antibiotic use in aquaculture since the late 1970's. However, it has seen increases in viral diseases over the last few years.

The 2014 Fish Health Report from the Veterinary Institute shows that diseases caused by bacteria are under good control in the Norwegian fish farming, said Atle Lillehaug, researcher and project manager at the National Veterinary Institute in Oslo.

Atle Lillehaug is author of the chapter on risk of infection in 2014 Fish Health Report. This chapter was introduced as an extension of the annual fish health report in 2012, and is now ready with updated assessments of last year under the title "Changes in infection".

In the chapter, emphasis is placed on describing key changes in the disease picture for farmed fish along with other factors that may contribute to the risk of infection.

Sharp increase in PD

"There was a sharp increase of pancreas disease (PD) in 2014. It was the highest number of registered cases of PD so far.

"There was also a moderate increase of infectious salmon anemia (ISA) cases. The disease was diagnosed in salmon in 10 locations in 2014 and 2013, while in 2012 only two outbreaks were reported.

"Half of the ten cases in 2014 were considered the primary outbreak, while the others were believed to be due to infection from primary outbreaks," said Lillehaug.

Sea lice are the biggest challenge for Norwegian salmon farming, and development of resistance to drugs is the most difficult issue to deal with.

Ameobic Gill Disease (AGD) continued to spread in 2014, and the disease has resulted in increased losses and a substantial need for treatment. In the report the researchers point out the lack of knowledge about the risk of infection with regard to risk factors, necessary preventive measures and optimal treatment strategies against AGD.

Good control of drugs

"In this year's report we have for the first time taken into assessments the use of fish medication. Consumption of antibacterial agents in 2014 is the smallest volume reported since fish farming began on a certain scale in the late 1970s. It provides a basis for asserting that diseases caused by bacteria are under good control in Norwegian aquaculture," explained Lillehaug.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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