Thursday, 7 February 2019

Fish Farms Spread Viruses Around the World - Kibenge, Di Cicco, Miller

Fish farms don't seem to think there are any diseases that they have had a hand in infecting the world's oceans with. They look at disease as something bad that nature does to them, and the viruses have no relation to them and their spread around the world.

That, of course, is the communication's spin they have been using for 50 years. And, of course, the obvious rejoinder is that if you are complaining about nature doing something to you, you have the situation backwards. You need to make a change, not argue against nature. And the obvious solution - wait for it, you'll never guess - is: put fish farms on land.

Now, Kibenge, at PEI, who used to be the OIE's accredited lab for aquaculture diseases has come up with a review paper that brings together the viruses that the industry, typified by Mowi (Marine Harvest), Cermaq and Grieg, along with some others like Aquagen who took ISA to Chile, and the rest, like PRV to BC, has spread. There are a whole lot of new ones.

Kibenge is the poor chap who the DFO and CFIA went after and lobbied the OIE to take away his accreditation for being only one of two labs in the entire world to assess diseases in fish farms. Note that I have made numerous posts in the past month where I challenge DFO's claim that it follows 'evidence and science' in decision making. Well, this is another: going after Kibenge DFO wanted to control the narrative after it didn't like his Cohen Commission testimony. Science was completely disregarded.

Kibenge did a cut to the chase PowerPoint presentation some years ago that pointed out that one third to one half of the world's aqua crops [as in fish farms] are lost to disease. Here is a post I did on that which gives you a link to his document: It also has a list of more than 30 disease events around the world in fish farms.

This is a link to the post I discuss his presentation: See under the table for link.

And this is the link directly to his PowerPoint presentation:

Now, Kibenge has a new paper out on the global fish farm diseases: Do go and read it.

Here are the Highlights and abstract:


There is a continuous emergence of viral diseases in aquaculture.
Emergence of viral diseases in aquaculture may be driven by virus, animal host, environmental and/or anthropogenic factors.
Examples of emerging viruses in aquaculture include rhabdoviruses, orthomyxoviruses, reoviruses, iridoviruses, nodavirus, and herpesvirus.
Emergence of viral diseases in aquaculture can be curtailed at the farm level where prevention and control translate into sustainability.
Aquaculture remains the world’s fastest-growing sector producing food of animal origin. Unlike in terrestrial animal agriculture, in aquaculture both farmed and wild aquatic animals in the same water column experience the same virus challenges. Additionally, the burgeoning international aquaculture expansion and expanding global trade in live aquatic animals and their products have been accompanied by long distance geographical redistribution of aquatic animal species and their viruses. The outcome is a continuous emergence of viral diseases in aquaculture, which may be driven by virus factors, animal host factors, environmental factors, and/or anthropogenic factors. Examples of emerging viruses in aquaculture include viral haemorrhagic septicaemia virus, infectious haematopoietic necrosis virus, infectious salmon anaemia virus, piscine orthoreovirus, Tilapia lake virus, Covert mortality nodavirus, Shrimp hemocyte iridescent virus, and Abalone herpesvirus.

There you have it. Now do go and read it. Kibenge continues to be the global good guy on the disease front. We have a lot to be thankful to him for. On all of our behalves: Thank You Dr. Fred Kibenge!


Here is the Di Cicco et al paper on PRV in BC farmed/wild fish:

Here is the Miller et al paper on viral diseases in wild salmon:

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