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‘Complexity of fish diseases must be addressed’

By Azman Zakaria

Photo by Marina Ismail

 

SERDANG, April 4 -  The scientific community should work hand-in-hand with stakeholders to better understand the complexity of fish diseases and advances required in disease control and aquatic animal health management to meet the demand of fish as a food source.

Deputy Secretary-General (Development), Ministry of Higher Education, Datuk Nik Ali Mat Yunus said the potentials of the aquaculture industry were high and expanding rapidly, but were facing several pertinent issues, especially disease outbreak, that needed to be addressed.

With the intensification of aquaculture activities and for the industry to remain sustainable, he said, it was important that fish health be looked into.

He said frequent disease outbreak in the commercial sector was one of the factors that caused huge financial losses in the industry, citing the Koi Herpes Virus (KHV) that had resulted in an estimated RM1 billion losses to the country.

He added that the demands for fisheries resources had increased drastically over the last few decades due to the increase of the world population but the world’s marine fisheries resources had not improved since then. 

“In Malaysia, fisheries catch trends have decreased from 1.48 million tonnes in 2013 to 1.46 million tonnes in 2015. This can be an indicator for a decline in fisheries production in Malaysia, probably due to over-exploitation of fisheries stock or other environmental factors.

“These challenges seem to have been overcome by the aquaculture industry as a crucial contributor to delivering food and nutrition security as well as poverty alleviation and income generator for communities,” he said when opening an International Conference on Advances in Fish Health (ICFISH) 2017, here.

Fifty-two papers were presented and discussed by aquaculture experts and stakeholders during the three-day conference, themed “Eradicating Infection, Enhancing Production.” ICFISH 2017 discussed the challenges and advances required in disease control and aquatic animal health management.

Meanwhile, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International), Prof. Dr. M Iqbal Saripan said the aquaculture industry is currently expanding but diseases and improper management seem to be the major drawback to the much intensified industry.

As such, he said, the organization of ICFISH 2017 was very timely to address urgent fish health questions and issues.

“As a university with a strong reputation in aquaculture-based teaching and research in this region, we feel greatly honoured to have an international conference of the gathering of all experts in different fields of aquaculture diseases and health to exchange ideas and knowledge, and hopefully, with the potential of forging more cross global relations and collaborations in the future,” he said. - UPM

Updated:: 05/04/2017 [syifarida]

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