Health sustainability in the trout industry

Published on Sept. 4, 2023

Health sustainability in the trout industry

Several risks must be measured and managed to create sustainable aquaculture and a sustainable trout industry. One of those aspects is the survival of the fish against diseases that can seriously damage the hard work of the producers. Fish health is important not only for animal welfare, but it ensures that valuable economic and environmental resources are not wasted in the production of trout protein.

Fish health and protecting against disease is one of the most significant risks we face as an industry. Protecting the health of our fish can be achieved through multiple ways: trout breeding to enhance natural resistance, through veterinary support, including the use of antibiotics and vaccinations, and with biosecurity practices in order to prevent contamination.

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Troutlodge produces trout eggs with increased resistance to BCWD. Troutlodge eggs selected for BCWD resistance has been commercially available since 2017 (Read more). We are managing to expand the availability of these eggs throughout the year. We expect that by the end of 2024, all our four strains will have the BCWD resistance. (Read more). We achieve genetic improvement by using Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) and through genomic selection. This allows us to make more accurate selection by individuals and rely on the GeneChip , which was developed by Troutlodge and the USDA. Genomic selection offers the most benefit for traits such as disease resistance or yield that cannot be measured directly on the selection candidates.

Veterinary support

It is also possible to improve disease survival through vaccinations. Vaccinating Rainbow Trout can be very effective in preventing diseases and minimizing the risks and challenges. Vaccination can be administrated orally, by immersion, or by injections. Each of those has advantages and disadvantages depending on your management and facility. Read more here: Management Guide 5: Trout Logic

Use of antibiotics can be an option after diagnosis in order to protect the wellbeing of trout. However, antibiotics should only be used under the guidance of your local veterinarian. Within Hendrix Genetics, our responsibility is to limit the risk of creating antibiotic resistance, which is a major concern for human health. Therefore, our policy for employees and veterinarians in the use of antibiotics is “as much as necessary, but as little as possible.” Contact us for more information or support about this topic: Find your local sales representative - Troutlodge.

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All of these measures will not be effective without the use of a biosecurity plan; prevention is key in minimizing the impact of damaging diseases in the trout industry. Biosecurity measures prevent infectious disease from affecting healthy stocks, stop the spread of disease from already infected stocks or contaminated facilities, and ensure adequate stock performance through disease prevention and control.

Some of the most effective strategies used to prevent infectious disease are:

  • Limiting access of unnecessary visitors to production facilities and preventing access of contaminated vehicles and equipment
  • Prescribing a quarantine period (from other facilities) of at least 72 hours for any visitors prior to visiting the farm
  • Maintaining a record of all visitors
  • Avoiding visits to multiple farms in the same day
  • Wearing clean clothes or coveralls, footwear, and any additional personal protective equipment (PPE) or clothes that should not leave the farm being visited
  • Fish rearing units and surrounding areas should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and undergo a period of downtime before placing a new stock
  • Establishing, maintaining and monitoring adequate programs for rodent and insect control and preventing direct or indirect contact with other wild animals

For more information regarding biosecurity, we encourage our customers to review the World Organization for Animal Health recommendations here.

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