Shrimp aquaculture in tropical regions is facing a disease-induced catastrophe of lost production. It is estimated that more than 40% of tropical shrimp production is lost to disease annually. The devastating impacts of disease on lost incomes, livelihoods, increased operational costs, trade restrictions and loss of consumer confidence has been a subject of many consultations and policy dialogues. Discussions of disease crisis have to date been largely focused on identification of pathogens, guidelines and standards for disease detection and surveillance, regulations to limit trans-boundary movement of animals, and adoption of better management practices.
There is reason to believe that current broodstock management practices may induce genetic erosion that increases susceptibility to disease and vulnerability to epizootics:
The basic tenet for this Expert Consultation is that an important aggravating factor in the disease crisis is an agro-economic system that locks shrimp breeders, hatcheries and farmers into behaviour that induces high levels of inbreeding. If inbreeding does increase the severity and frequency of epidemics, this disease crisis will only get worse over vast areas of Asia, Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East until it is addressed.
This Expert Consultation was organized in conjunction with the annual meeting of the NACA Aquatic Animal Health Advisory Group (NACA-AG) to take advantage of the physical presence and expertise of a small group of world renowned Aquatic Animal Health experts from several national and international institutions. The list of participants and workshop agenda are presented in Annexes 1 and 2. This consultation is perhaps the first of its kind to bring together a balanced group of experts from diverse fields – epidemiology, microbiology, disease diagnostics & surveillance, aquaculture genetics, fish breeding, and evolutionary biology – to take a fresh, in-depth, and wider perspective on the possible interaction between genetic side-effects of broodstock management and the looming threat of aquatic animal diseases, in particular the contemporary shrimp disease crisis.
Bartley, D.M.; Brugere, C.; Soto, D.; Gerber, P.; Harvey, B. (eds). Comparative assessment of the environmental costs of aquaculture and other food production sectors: methods for meaningful comparisons. FAO/WFT Expert Workshop. 24-28 April 2006, Vancouver, Canada. FAO Fisheries Proceedings. No. 10. Rome, FAO. 2007. This document represents the report of the FAO/WFT workshop, Comparative Environmental Costs of Aquaculture and Other Food Production Sectors, convened in Vancouver, British Columbia, 24-28 April, 2006.
The global food production sector is growing. In many areas farming systems are intensifying. This rapid growth has in some cases caused environmental damage. This document include an introduction and 12 review papers describing methods for such comparisons as well as the deliberations of their authors, a group of nineteen international experts on environmental economics, energy accounting, material and environmental flows analysis, aquaculture, agriculture and international development. Experts concluded that comparisons can be useful for addressing local development and zoning concerns, global issues of sustainability and trade and consumer preferences for inexpensive food produced in an environmentally sustainable manner. In order to be useful, however, methods to assess environmental costs should be scientifically based, comparable across different sectors, expandable to different scales, inclusive of externalities, practical to implement and easily understood by managers and policy-makers. Aquaculture in many locations and conditions is or could be much more environment friendly than other food sectors.
"any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use."