The clinical significance of blood biochemical parameters as a rapid diagnostic indicator of health status in salmonid aquaculture (RD040)

Aim:

The ultimate aim of this work is to investigate the clinical significance of various health challenges on blood biochemistry in aquaculture reared salmonid fish, to enable the development of a more pro-active fish healthcare model similar to that used in human or veterinary diagnostic medicine.

Funding Amount:

£200,775

Duration of Project:

18 Months

close up image of salmon flesh

Project Summary:

Despite advances in identifying pathogens, the aquaculture sector currently has very limited tools for assessing fish health and is heavily reliant on histopathology; a lethal, labour intensive technique that does not facilitate rapid fish health assessment. The development of a novel pro-active healthcare model based on the rapid, frequent analysis of fish health using high throughput clinical chemistry technology, will facilitate data informed husbandry decisions and reduce the time between diagnosis and intervention. A 5% reduction in mortality and increase in productivity is estimated to increase Scottish aquaculture revenue by £37.1 million and £47.4 million per annum respectively.

Changes in blood biochemistry in response to tissue pathology are used to indicate functional impairment of specific tissues and are the cornerstone of human and veterinary medicine. Despite this, clinical chemistry has had limited use in aquaculture owing to the lack of standardised protocols and background datasets needed to establish clinical significance. This approach will enhance fish welfare and productivity through the development of blood biochemical parameters as indicators of health status. This impact-focused research is driven by the needs of the Scottish salmon industry, who along with SAIC have made significant contributions to this project. The ultimate aim of this work is to investigate the clinical significance of various health challenges on blood biochemistry in aquaculture reared salmonid fish, to enable the development of a more pro-active fish healthcare model similar to that used in human or veterinary diagnostic medicine.

STATUS: Ongoing

Project Lead

University Of The West Of Scotland (UWS)