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Fisheries > Culture Fisheries > Crabs

Disease Management

Health Maintenance and Monitoring

For aquaculture species with mature technologies, the major constraints in production are usually related to health maintenance, disease occurrence, and product quality. These issues are inter-related, especially if disease prevention or control implements have long-term effects on the environment or produce residues that make products unacceptable for consumption.

Health and Disease

Disease is usually defined as any abnormality of structure or function. This means that whenever there is something abnormal about the animal, consider it to be a disease. The level of production can be an indicator of whether an animal is healthy or diseased.

Ensuring good farm production and animal health starts at the planning stage of every aquaculture venture. At each step of planning and production, questions and answers should be anticipated on how to decrease the possibility of pathogen entry and environmental contamination. These considerations include the following:

  • Selection of a production site
  • Selection of water source
  • Water quality management and control
  • Maintenance of various life stages
  • Feed quality and feeding practices
  • Fish health management
  • Proper use of chemicals and veterinary drugs
  • Proper sanitation
  • Harvesting, holding and transport
  • Detailed record keeping

Sources of Infection

Different measures are needed to maintain cleanliness and hygiene within culture premises, including hatchery, farms, feed etc.

Hatchery Facilities

Maintenance of hygiene in the hatchery can be done simply by disinfecting with chlorine all facilities (reservoir, larval rearing tanks, algal tanks, rotifer tanks, Artemia tanks, etc.) and materials (nets, hoses, pails and other paraphernalia). A well-designed hatchery should have a disposal system for contaminated effluents to prevent contact with natural bodies of water. If a broodstock facility is incorporated in the design, this should be separated from larval rearing facilities since it is well-known that broodstock harbor and transmit various infectious diseases. Precautionary measures such as provision of footbaths at entrance and exits of production buildings are effective measures to prevent diseases. 

Animals

Any stage of live animals for culture that is brought into new sites or aquaculture facilities may carry with it associated microorganisms, including those that cause diseases. Therefore, disinfection and quarantine are carried out to avoid introduction of new and exotic pathogens.

Natural food

Hatchery technicians should ensure that their phytoplankton and zooplankton cultures are free of contaminants such as saprophytic protozoans that may become nuisance during culture. The bacterial populations associated with Brachionus and Artemia can be checked for harmful and opportunistic pathogens through microbial culture. Microbial load of natural food can also be reduced by rinsing them in clean seawater before feeding.

Artificial feeds should be stored properly under refrigeration or in well-ventilated rooms to avoid rancidity or fungal growth resulting in toxic by-products.

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