Drones and remote sensing technology can be used in India’s aquaculture sector for disease surveillance in fish and aquatic animals, according to Kenton L Morgan, former professor of epidemiology at the University of Liverpool. He said India has the potential to become a world leader in aquatic disease surveillance due to its heavy investment, trained scientists and high aquatic animal production. Morgan also highlighted the use of technologies such as quantum computers, remote sensing and big data analysis in the sector. The comments were made at the AquaEpi III conference in Lucknow, organised by the International Society of Aquatic Animal Epidemiology.

“Drones and remote sensing technology can also be used in the aquaculture sector in India for aquatic epidemiology (diseases in fish and other aquatic animals) and identify the disease in them. India can become the world leader in aquatic disease surveillance. This is because it is invested heavily, it has trained many scientists, and it is the second most important country in the world in terms of aquatic animal production after China,” said Kenton L Morgan, former emeritus professor of epidemiology, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Morgan was speaking on fish epidemiology while presenting his thoughts as chief guest at the three-day international conference titled ‘Aquatic Animal Epidemiology (AquaEpi III)’ at ICAR-National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR), Lucknow, orgainsed by the International Society of Aquatic Animal Epidemiology (ISAAE). “India also has technological expertise that can use Quantum computers, remote sensing, big data analysing, machine learning among others,” he added.

“As not always is it easy to locate people associated with aqua farming and many a time we don’t know where the ponds are hence, using these technologies the farmers and ponds can be located through satellite. This is already happening in Taiwan, China, and Japan on an experimental basis,” he added.

Along with Morgan, 24 overseas internationally renowned experts and scientists were present along with 250 delegates in the conference as lead speakers and shared their insights and experiences in overcoming the current challenges in aquatic animal health. The conference is being organised in collaboration with the National Fisheries Development Board and the Aquatic Biodiversity Conservation Society (ABCS). The conference aims at giving suitable recommendations for reducing disease risks and sustainable growth of the aquaculture sector,” said Uttam Kumar Sarkar, director, ICAR-NBFGR.

J.K. Jena, Deputy Director General (Fisheries Science & Animal Science), ICAR, New Delhi in his address highlighted the role of epidemiology for diversification and management of aquaculture sector. Edgar Brun, Director, Dept. of Aquatic Animal Health and Welfare, Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Norway mentioned the importance of epidemiology research and its relevance in aquaculture development.