New research highlights antimicrobial resistance risk in aquaculture
New research from WorldFish undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-food Systems (FISH) has identified means to lessen the use of antimicrobials in aquaculture. The study notes that antimicrobial use can be mitigated through farmer training, spatial planning, assistance with disease identification, applying better management practices at farm level and stricter regulations.
New research from WorldFish undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agri-food Systems (FISH) has identified means to lessen the use of antimicrobials, such as antibiotics, antivirals, and antiprotozoals, in aquaculture. According to the report, intensification of fish farming systems has resulted in higher risks of disease outbreaks and a subsequent trend towards more antimicrobial use.
Global attention has focussed on the overuse of antimicrobials and consequent antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which may compromise the treatment of bacterial infections in the target species as well as in humans. The spread of AMR has been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the major threats for the human population of the twenty-first century.
The study notes that antimicrobial use can be mitigated through farmer training, spatial planning, assistance with disease identification, applying better management practices at farm level and stricter regulations. National governments and international organizations could, in turn, assist with disease-free fish seed and vaccines, enforce rigid monitoring of the quantity and quality of antimicrobials used by farmers, and minimize antimicrobial residues in the farmed species and in the environment.
“With aquaculture, the fastest growing food sector in the world, it will be critical to ensure that growth is coupled with attention to the use of antimicrobial drugs,\" stated Michael Phillips, Director of Science and Aquaculture, WorldFish and Program Director FISH. \"One issue for researchers to understand is that there are no reliable data on global use of antimicrobials in fish farming. A global approach to this issue is necessary, targeting fish production systems and products aimed for both for domestic and export markets.”
The study - Unpacking factors influencing antimicrobial use in global aquaculture and their implication for management: a review from a systems perspective - recommends urgent internationally coordinated action to better understand the scale of the problem and notes a need to integrate risk assessment as an alternative means to reduce disease.