Better vaccines for tackling disease in fish farming

New and better vaccines to try to prevent disease outbreaks in farmed fish are the aims of a newly launched €6M research partnership.

TargetFish - an international collaboration involving the University of Aberdeen - brings together leading researchers from Europe’s biotech and veterinary sectors with the aim of commercialising fish vaccines for European fish farming.

European aquaculture production provides work for around 65,000 people and has a turnover of €3 billion.

However infectious fish diseases can impact on plans to increase production and in some instances no effective treatments are available.

The best method for disease control - both on economical and ethical grounds - is disease prevention by vaccination.

Professor Chris Secombes, Chair of Zoology at the University of Aberdeen, is leading Aberdeen’s involvement in the collaboration. He said: “TargetFish will advance the development of existing - but not sufficient - vaccines as well as new prototype ones which will target socio-economically important viral or bacterial pathogens of Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, common carp, sea bass, seabream and turbot.

“TargetFish will also establish a knowledge and technology base for the development of next generation fish vaccines.

“This project will greatly enhance targeted disease prevention in European fish farming.”

TargetFish is led by Dr Geert Wiegertjes from Wageningen University in The Netherlands and as well as the University of Aberdeen also involves collaborators in Denmark, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Norway, the Czech Republic, Israel, Estonia and Chile.

The Targetfish project has been funded by the European Commission under the Work Programme 2012 of the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development of the European Union.