Disease management in aquaculture

The aquaculture industry has a key role to play in protecting our economy, environment and the community from the negative impacts of aquatic pests and diseases. Aquaculture operators and their staff are bound by a general biosecurity duty under the Biosecurity Act 2015 to be aware of their surroundings and take action to prevent the introduction and spread of pests, diseases, weeds and contaminants. All staff in the aquaculture industry have a responsibility for managing biosecurity risks that they know about or could be reasonably expected to know about. Whilst not expected to know about all biosecurity risks, industry participants are expected to know about risks associated with your industry, business and day-to-day work. There are measures you can take as an aquaculture farmer to meet your general biosecurity duty.

Intensively cultured fish and shellfish are susceptible to bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections, particularly at times of stress. Many problems can be avoided by ensuring stock are free of disease prior to transfer, appropriately quarantining new stock before release into culture tanks or ponds, maintaining water quality and a stress-free environment and regular disease monitoring of stock. In the event of a suspected notifiable disease outbreak, a report must be made to NSW DPI. For routine diagnostics, a veterinarian should be consulted to correctly diagnose and prescribe appropriate treatments.