Now available MedAID Diagnostic Manual

MedAID’s Diagnostic Manual for the main pathogens in European seabass and Gilthead seabream aquaculture

MedAID (Mediterranean Aquaculture Integrated Development) is a European H2020 Research and Innovation Project approved in 2017, with the main objective of increasing the overall competitiveness and sustainability of the whole value chain of the Mediterranean marine aquaculture sector by improving its technical and business performance and by shifting to a sustainable market-oriented approach with a higher social and consumer perception.

In the field of disease control and welfare (Work package 4), MedAID aims to provide essential components for better health and welfare management system for the Mediterranean marine aquaculture industry both at an overall and at the company level. The development and dissemination of up-to-date diagnostic manuals and media platforms will allow efficient networking between stakeholders and experts, and a diagnostic harmonisation at Mediterranean level.

Although many publications exist on the diagnostics of aquatic animal diseases, there is a lack of reference diagnostic methodologies for seabass and seabream, the main species produced in Mediterranean marine fish farming. This gap is considered an obstacle for further development of the industry and for designing and coordinating harmonised health management strategies in the different regions of the basin. A possible reason for this constraint may be that seabass and seabream are not listed as susceptible host species for the notifiable pathogens listed in the current EU legislation, or in the list of diseases notifiable to the OIE, which generates a lack of approved diagnostic methods. Although not notifiable, only viral encephalopathy and retinopathy, due to its importance, is included in the OIE Diagnostic Manual for Aquatic Animal Diseases.

Thus, a “Diagnostic Manual for the main pathogens in European seabass and Gilthead seabream aquaculture” was conceived as up-to-date guidelines providing the standardized methods enabling a harmonised approach to the health challenges due to viral and bacterial pathogens in the farming of seabass and seabream. The parasitic diseases are omitted in this document to avoid overlapping with the H2020 project ParaFishControl, dealing solely with diagnostic procedures for parasitic diseases.

A group of experts from Croatia, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Tunisia, and Norway prepared an integral document intended for everyday use in health services in the fish farm or diagnostic laboratories dealing with diseases of both species. It contains detailed instructions on the sampling, shipping of samples, handling with samples in the diagnostic laboratory, requirements for bacteriological and virological laboratory as well as on diagnostic procedures for the most important diseases. Particular attention was paid to the mortality caused by unknown etiology and to the interpretation and reporting of the laboratory results. The authors are hoping that it will contribute to the solving of the aforementioned problems in Mediterranean marine aquaculture.

The document is published as an open access special edition of the Option Méditerranénnes. Série B. Etudes et Recherches; n. 75 available online.