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ParaFishControl Aquaculture Industry Forum: Industry and Academia Exchange Vital Knowledge on Fighting Parasitic Diseases

Aquaculture industry and research representatives participated in the first ParaFishControl Industry Forum on Tuesday 5 September in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The event was part of the 18th International Conference on Diseases of Fish and Shellfish, and aimed to explore how the European aquaculture sector could benefit from the latest research in the area. The event facilitated effective knowledge exchange on the latest developments in fighting parasitic disease affecting aquaculture.

This is an important goal of the ParaFishControl project, an EU Horizon 2020-funded research project that aims to improve our understanding of fish-parasite interactions and develop innovative solutions and tools to prevent, control and mitigate harmful parasites which affect the main fish species farmed in Europe. ParaFishControl Industry Forum leader Dr Panos Christofilogiannis from AQUARK remarked, 'We are excited to discuss ways to improve parasitic disease management and to quantify its economic impact to the sector. This serves as the first step to mobilise all stakeholders in a sector-wide effort to combat and manage fish parasitic diseases with novel approaches and solutions. We are confident that the ParaFishControl project knowledge outputs will contribute greatly, and the Industry Forum is the right platform to do so.' Dr Hamish Rodger, Global Managing Director of the FishVet Group, estimated the high annual economic impact for a variety of parasitic diseases in different countries, like sea lice in Norway (448-640 million Euros) and Scotland (40-56 million Euros), amoebic gill disease in Scottish farms (600-900K Euros for a 2000 tonne site) and cotton moulds (Saprolegnia) in Scottish aquaculture (5.5 million Euros). Mr Niels Henriksen, Danish Aquaculture Association fish pathologist, provided insights on carp and trout aquaculture, and estimated the annual impact of parasitic diseases on European trout farming to be between 30 and 60 million Euros. The impact of parasitic diseases in Mediterranean mariculture was discussed by Mr Andreas Kyriakou, fish pathologist at SELONDA Group. All attendees agreed that a coordinated effort is required involving open communication between fish pathologists, fish farmer associations and scientists, to improve impact predictions and the use of a harmonised methodology to accurately assess the significant economic impact of parasites in aquaculture. In the second session of the ParaFishControl Industry Forum, the latest research findings and future solutions resulting from the ParaFishControl project were presented and discussed, with a focus on their relevance to the aquaculture industry and the strategy to effectively transfer these results to applied solutions for the sector. Particularly exciting news included novel disease treatments which are planned to be ready for use in the near future, progress in the ongoing search for vaccination candidate genes and feed additives, and the expectations of further expert consultations and epidemiological investigations to be undertaken in 2018. ParaFishControl Project Coordinator Dr Ariadna Sitjà-Bobadilla, of Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), recognised the value of events such as the ParaFishControl Industry Forum, 'which brings stakeholders from both science and industry together, highlighting the role of partnerships and collaborative approaches to instigate real and profound change. It is really exciting to witness evidence based science being recognised as being applicable by industry and subsequently being used in a real world setting with affirmative and measurable results'. The open discussion was launched with a short presentation by Mr Andrea Fabris, FEAP Fish Health Committee, fish pathologist API, who highlighted the industry priorities on the management and impact of parasitic diseases and the interest for an effective transfer of the project results to industry, leading to concrete suggestions for future ParaFishControl activities. This discussion proved to be a thought-provoking session to round off what was a very exciting event! To find out more about the recent research findings from ParaFishControl, please visit the project’s website: Industry stakeholders and interested parties are invited to join the ParaFishControl LinkedIn group to follow the progress: ParaFishcontrol Industry Forum contact:


aquaculture, fish, parasites, fish feed, parasitology, industry, knowledge transfer, fish-parasite interactions, industry forum, economic impact, disease treatments


Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, United Kingdom