Shrimp aquaculture in tropical regions is facing a disease-induced catastrophe of lost production. It is estimated that more than 40% of tropical shrimp production is lost to disease annually. The devastating impacts of disease on lost incomes, livelihoods, increased operational costs, trade restrictions and loss of consumer confidence has been a subject of many consultations and policy dialogues. Discussions of disease crisis have to date been largely focused on identification of pathogens, guidelines and standards for disease detection and surveillance, regulations to limit trans-boundary movement of animals, and adoption of better management practices.
There is reason to believe that current broodstock management practices may induce genetic erosion that increases susceptibility to disease and vulnerability to epizootics:
The basic tenet for this consultation is that an important aggravating factor in the disease crisis is an agro-economic system that locks shrimp breeders, hatcheries and farmers into behaviour that induces high levels of inbreeding. If inbreeding does increase the severity and frequency of epidemics, this disease crisis will only get worse over vast areas of Asia, Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East until it is addressed.
This expert consultation was organized in conjunction with the annual meeting of the NACA Aquatic Animal Health Advisory Group to take advantage of the physical presence and expertise of a small group of world renowned Aquatic Animal Health experts from several national and international institutions. The list of participants and workshop agenda are presented in Annexes 1 and 2. This consultation is perhaps the first of its kind to bring together a balanced group of experts from diverse fields – epidemiology, microbiology, disease diagnostics & surveillance, aquaculture genetics, fish breeding, and evolutionary biology – to take a fresh, in-depth, and wider perspective on the possible interaction between genetic side-effects of broodstock management and the looming threat of aquatic animal diseases, in particular the contemporary shrimp disease crisis.
Publisher: Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution.