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8.3.6 Developing Monitoring Tools to Detect Disease in Marine Aquaculture Operations


Summary: The U.S. marine commercial aquaculture industry contributes to the nation’s food security and supports a growing amount of economic activity in coastal communities and at working waterfronts in every coastal state. Currently, most production – approximately two-thirds by value – consists of bivalve mollusks such as oysters, clams, and mussels, while salmon and shrimp constitute most of the rest. There is great interest from government and industry to help expand the industry, especially for shellfish operations in coastal areas. Because the shellfish industry relies on natural environments, often located close to shore, it presently faces various risks from poor water quality issues, including infectious disease and pathogens. Such risks are of great concern to the industry as infected stock cannot be sold due to public health concerns. There is an urgent need to build upon scientific advances to develop low cost, near real-time precision instruments that can detect one or more types of pathogens, such as Vibrio. While scientific research has made advances in being able to detect in situ pathogens, such as Vibrio, the technology has not yet been produced at a low cost for commercial use. The ability to deploy such instruments on or nearby individual production cages or tanks, would greatly help the industry quickly detect and respond to poor water quality events. Businesses could use such timely information to guide day-to-day operations and decision-making and increase profits.


Project Goals: The goal is to have a business develop a low cost, easy-to-use, and highly accurate monitoring instrument that can be easily deployed at finfish or shellfish aquaculture facilities around the nation to detect one or more common pathogens, such as Vibrio. The project would permit a comprehensive assessment of recent scientific advances in this field, articulate the precise needs from the industry, and then develop a commercial product that meets those needs in a cost-effective manner.

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