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New diseases threaten aquaculture by Lorena Guzmán Hormazábal April 15,2019   |  Source: SciDev.net

The emergence of new diseases is threatening aquaculture development, the fastest growing food production sector in the world, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The farming of fish, crustaceans, and other aquatic organisms provides a source of income for around 20 million people, and is a growth industry in many developing countries.

But diseases such as Tilapia lake virus (TiLV) typify the global plight of aquaculture, warns the OIE, which focused on the issue at a recent summit in Santiago, Chile (April 2-4). Although little is known about the disease, it has spread rapidly throughout the world.

“Currently, more than 200 aquatic species are cultivated in the world and although today we have genetics as a tool to study the pathogens that affect them, it is a relatively new science,” OIE deputy director-general Matthew Stone told SciDev.Net.

Aquaculture already supplies almost 50 per cent of fish for human consumption globally, with that figure expected to rise. In many of the least developed countries of Africa and Asia, fish accounts for more than half of the total animal protein intake, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Tilapia is the second most highly farmed fish worldwide, based on volume, and is

 

© 2019 SciDev.Net

Theme(s): Fisheries Development and Aquaculture.

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