Bio security – Preventing pathogens entry in RAS farming

Bio security – Preventing pathogens entry in RAS farming

To avoid pathogens introduced in RAS system and cause slow fish growth and inflict losses, all RAS facilities should have biosecurity plans. The experts at the Freshwater Institute share some tips to preventing pathogens entry.

1. Identifying biosecure source water when siting a new facility is ideal. However, the reduced water use of RAS systems can make installing retroactive disinfecting measures, such as UV light, on incoming water viable options to reduce pathogen loads. Additional measures should be taken to protect source waters from wild animals by covering or enclosing.

2. When stocking your facility with fish, it is preferable to start with eyed eggs from specific pathogen-free certified providers. Another advantage to receiving eyed eggs is that they can be disinfected prior to bringing them into the facility. If stocking live fish is unavoidable, the facility should have quarantine systems, located away from the main production areas, to monitor fish for clinical signs of disease for up to a month before introducing them to the production facility.

3. Good prevent management

  • Prevent trucks from approaching main culture buildings by loading with tractors or forklifts from designated loading docks. Disinfect tires and undercarriages of trucks that must approach closely to receive fish. A pump sprayer with disinfectant and handled scrub brush provides simple, even disinfectant coverage. 
  • Minimize outsider access to the farm but be prepared for essential visitors. Plan tours far in advance and notify visitors of your biosecurity practices before they arrive, instructing them to wear clean clothing and appropriate footwear that has not been in contact with fish or water from other facilities. Have disposable coveralls and shoe covers handy as an additional protective measure. 
  • Staff members should be aware of outside work activities and avoid wearing potentially contaminated clothing or footwear to the facility. Farms should consider providing dedicated boots and wet gear for employees to wear at the farm to minimize risk of pathogen introduction.

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