EAFP Bulletin Special Issue

Press release:

Special edition of the Bulletin of the European Association of Fish Pathologists

 Volume 38 issue 3, is dedicated to the 18th International Conference on Diseases of Fish and Shellfish

An extended special edition of the EAFP Bulletin, the 3rd of 8 issues that will be exceptionally published in 2018 (instead of the 6 regular issues), reviews activities carried out during the last EAFP conference in Belfast in September 2017. Already recognised as an international key event for fish and shellfish pathologists, the conference was attended by over 500 scientists from 43 countries, providing a total of 215 oral and 236 poster presentations. This Bulletin special issue includes updates from the largest EU-funded research consortia, TargetFish, ParaFishControl, and VIVALDI, together with reviews by leading keynote speakers and summaries of the workshops that covered important topical issues for aquaculture.

The conference main keynote speaker, Prof. Frank Nilsen, from University of Bergen-Norway, reviewed recent advances on sea louse management strategies, evaluating how the rise in sea lice research has enhanced our knowledge on the biology of this copepod parasite. Molecular tools have enabled detailed studies on sea lice moulting and host-parasite interactions, including semiochemical-mediated host detection and fish immune response, or on parasite physiology. This acquired knowledge may become pivotal towards the implementation of efficient control strategies.

Prof Wiegertjes lecturing during the TargetFish workshop ​​​​ (Photo B. Gorgoglione)

Prof. Geert Wiegertjes, from Wageningen University-Netherlands, reviewed prophylaxis strategies, not yet successfully utilised for sea lice – vaccination. New vaccination strategies developed through the TargetFish project consortium funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technical Development, are described for more than 10 important aquatic pathogens affecting European aquaculture. The success of bacterins is described for bacterial disease in trout (e.g. rainbow trout fry syndrome), while bacterial toll-like receptor agonists, e.g. flagellin are described as effective adjuvants. The review also covers aspects on protective adaptive immunity in fish, concerns of DNA vaccine safety and the challenges of oral vaccination.

Dr. Isabelle Arzul, from the EURL for Mollusc Diseases, reviewed the current perspectives of the shellfish industry. The geographic distribution of molluscan diseases is described including the cases of previously exotic European protozoan diseases, as well as emerging diseases. Disease control, regulation and surveillance are covered in this comprehensive summary.

The active discussion undertaken during the EAFP Branch Officers and Council meeting (Photo O. Haenen)

The Special Issue also includes a detailed meeting report, from the first EAFP Branch Officers and Council members meeting held during the conference. Workshops held during the EAFP international conferences became key occasions as a forum to address points on ongoing projects and for constructive discussions. Summaries from three workshops are provided, including the discussion between scientists working on Myxozoa, on neglected viral diseases in cultured freshwater fish, and on emerging skin diseases in aquaculture.

Prof Sitjà-Bobadilla acknowledging the participants to the ParaFishControl workshop (Photo B. Gorgoglione)



The future of DNA vaccination was discussed within an industry forum promoted within the TargetFish research consortium. Advances in research to develop tools and control strategies against parasites threatening European farmed fish were discussed within an industry forum promoted by the ParaFishControl research consortium, a collaborative network with 29 partners from 13 countries.


Following the successful 2016 edition, this EAFP Bulletin special issue is only the second published since the journal was founded in 1981, after the EAFP foundation, a continuing initiative aimed at gradually becoming a reference for fish and shellfish pathologists for the rapid divulgation of scientific findings. The EAFP, that in 2017 reached 842 members worldwide distributed in 37 national branches, aims to continue the current process of improving the journal. Since 2010 all Bulletin issues are published in full colour, animated by new editorial initiatives and is envisaged to shortly become an open-access journal.

By Sean Monaghan & Bartolomeo Gorgoglione