Fish health management
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Fish Health Management. GOALS : Production of healthy, high quality fish. Principles of Health Maintenance. Maintain conditions which are designed to optimize growth, feed conversion, reproduction and survival Intensive aquaculture – Enhance natural resistance. Maintaining Health.

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Fish Health Management

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Fish health management

Fish Health Management

  • GOALS :

    • Production of healthy, high quality fish

Principles of health maintenance

Principles of Health Maintenance

  • Maintain conditions which are designed to optimize growth, feed conversion, reproduction and survival

  • Intensive aquaculture –

  • Enhance natural resistance

Maintaining health

Maintaining Health

  • Inverse relationship between environmental quality and disease status of fish

  • Changes occur over time (type of system)

  • Emphasis of Health management:

    • Physical features of facility

    • Use of genetically improved fish

    • “SPF” stocks

    • Environmental control

    • Prophylactic/preventative therapy

    • Feed quality and quantity



  • Adverse situation that affects the well-being of individual animals

Stress related disease

Stress related disease

  • Environmental associated

  • Microbial diseases

    • Decreased resistance to pathogens

    • Endemic pathogens

Location of site

Location of site

  • Soil, water and fish species must be compatible

  • Chose site properly

    • Pond aquaculture

    • Soil characteristics

    • Drainage

Avoiding exposure

Avoiding exposure

  • Best method to control infectious disease

    • Water is effective at delivering pathogens to fish (endemic)

Avoiding exposure cont

Avoiding exposure (cont.)

  • U.S.: Title 50

    • Other countries?

  • Quarantine

    • Isolate stocks for a predetermined period before contact with resident fish

  • Eradication of Stocks

    • Last resort!

    • Is it worth it?

    • Can you manage around it without introducing disease to area

Avoiding exposure cont1

Avoiding exposure (cont.)

  • Example:

    • VHSV (1989) Washington

      • Destroyed adults that were found to have virus

      • Destroyed juveniles

    • Great lakes (lake trout) Epidermal epitheliotropic disease (herpesvirus)

      • Destroyed fish and disinfected contaminated facilities

      • Appears to have worked

    • BKD (Wyoming) (1990)

      • Destruction of RBT, lake, CTT, and BrT brood stock

      • Based on highly sensitive detection technique (ELISA)

      • No evidence for disease

      • “Was the cost and consequence greater than the value of what was saved?”

Exposing dose

Exposing Dose

  • Once pathogen load increases (due to poor resistance) = DISEASE

Extent of contact

Extent of contact

  • Infection vs Disease?

    • Facultative –

    • Obligate – require host to complete life cycle

      • Viruses, some bacteria, and few parasites

    • Route of transmission

    • Carriers

Protection through segregation

Protection through segregation

  • Young fish/newly hatched fish

  • Fingerlings

    • Immunity increasing

  • Growout

  • Approaching market/release size

    • Very resistant to disease

    • Can survive in poorest water quality

Addition of new fish

Addition of new fish

  • Should take needed precautions when adding new fish to existing stocks

  • Home aquaria or large facilities

Breeding and culling

Breeding and Culling

  • Important in the development of domesticated stocks that perform well

  • Improve by selecting for desired traits

  • Future possibilities (genetic engineering)

    • Gene manipulation

    • Hybridization/transgenic

Eradication prevention control


  • Eradication:

  • Prevention:

  • Control: Reduction of problem to an economically/biologically manageable level

Anticipating problems

Anticipating problems

  • Good health records for each pond

  • Water quality/quantity

  • Stay on top of things!!

Fish health monitoring

Fish Health Monitoring

  • Early diagnosis

    • Know what “normal” is!



You are in charge of fish health monitoring at an aquaculture facility.

During morning rounds you notice that a first use pond containing RBT (50g/fish) is having some problems. Fish appear lethargic, and some dark fish are observed.

  • What possible problems may be causing this?

  • How would you narrow the possibilities down?

  • You suspect the problem to be disease related, what would you do?

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