Friday, October 12, 2007

The Significance of Fish Disease to Aquaculture

Fish disease is a substantial source of monetary loss to aquaculturists. Production costs are increased by fish disease outbreaks because of the investment lost in dead fish, cost of treatment, and decreased growth during convalescence. In nature we are less aware of fish disease problems because sick animals are quickly removed from the population by predators. In addition, fish are much less crowded in natural systems than in captivity. Parasites and bacteria may be of minimal significance under natural conditions, but can cause substantial problems when animals are crowded and stressed under culture conditions.
Disease is rarely a simple association between a pathogen and a host fish. Usually other circumstances must be present for active disease to develop in a population. These circumstances are generally grouped under the umbrella term "Stress" .
Stress is discussed in greater detail in the UF/IFAS Extension Circular 919 Stress - Its Role in Fish Disease. Management practices directed at limiting stress are likely to be most effective in preventing disease outbreaks.


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