The ultimate aim of this work was 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.
Scottish salmon is the UK’s largest food export, annually contributing >£1 billion to the UK economy, and has ambitious plans to sustainably double its economic contribution by 2030. Traditional fish health testing can take days before producing results and often requires lethal sampling. The research undertaken in this SIF project has significantly contributed towards the development of a novel pro-active healthcare model based on the rapid, frequent analysis of fish health using high throughput clinical chemistry technology, reducing the time between diagnosis and intervention. Fish farmers can continually monitor the health of their fish population via blood sampling, using this unique approach developed by UWS in conjunction with the salmon farming industry in Scotland and the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC).
The research undertaken, data generated and collaborations resulting from this project have directly contributed towards the establishment of the spinout company WellFish Diagnostics Ltd https://www.wellfishdiagnostics.com/) from UWS on the 1st September 2021. WellFish Diagnostics provides rapid, non-lethal fish health assessment for the aquaculture sector using blood based clinical chemistry analysis. Using the unique database and AI models for data interpretation generated through this project, we provide clinically interpreted results within 24h of our sample receipt, facilitating continuous health monitoring to support data informed husbandry decisions, and improving fish health and welfare management. WellFish has recently successfully raised £1.2 million in investment and currently employs 4 people with this number increasing to 7 by the end of April 2022.
University Of The West Of Scotland (UWS)