Aquaculture has become a growing agriculture sector all over the world and as it becomes more important so to does the standards associated with it. Marine health and hygiene should be viewed as important as any other type of agriculture or livestock production process. The same standards should be applied to aquaculture as we see with livestock and dairy farms. In fact, when you consider that aquaculture actually makes up nearly half of all fish production on a global basis it is easy to see why hygiene and marine health is so important.
With the increase in aquaculture production levels over the last few decades new and improved processes and marine hygiene products have been developed and implemented to ensure that animal health is a priority to producers. As with land animals that are bred for consumption or to create products for consumption, there is a need to limit outside influences and potential illnesses and disease, prevent the spread of disease that could decimate a farm, and protect the consumer and the company itself from a fall in standards that will only lead to a decimation of profits eventually.
With such an increase of growth in production we have also seen a rise in challenges, and a different spectrum and scope of logistical challenges that help to only harden the stance of health and hygiene being a necessity. Infectious disease is the major concern of course and can cause untold financial losses if allowed to take hold of a marine farm.
One way in which you can plan against an outbreak of disease in this fashion is to think long and hard about a plan for prevention and control, with vaccination a popular strategy in many cases. Attenuated vaccines, DNA vaccines and killed vaccines are all used in fish, as are synthetic peptide vaccines and recombinant technology vaccines. These can be administered orally, through injection, or immersion, with the choice dependent on the type of fish in question and the numbers of fish requiring vaccination.
Antibiotics are also used extensively in aquaculture, but bear in mind that there are side effects to this, mainly in the development of drug resistance by microorganisms and the future implications of this (in much the same way we have this question with humans and animals across the globe). Biological and chemical disease can be controlled in several ways, including pre-biotics, probiotics and medicinal plants, but there is another way also, biosecurity.
Biosecurity measures ensure that there is a much higher chance of preventing the outbreak of disease in an aquaculture setting, in the same way that certain processes and protocols are implemented on a farm on land. This includes strict measures of quarantine on site, disinfection of eggs, control of all traffic, clean water and feed, and quick and effective disposal of marine life to prevent an outbreak of disease. All of this can be achieved with clear processes in mind and the use of aquaculture products and disinfectants of the highest grade and quality.