The expansion and intensification of shrimp farming sector is causing stress on shrimps sector is causing stress on shrimps and making them susceptible to disease. There is limited knowledge about the environmental effects of antibiotic us e in aquaculture. It is well known that antibiotics are commonly used in shrimp farming to prevent or treat disease outbreaks. Antibiotic use is common across freshwater farms, brackish-water farms as well as hatcheries. Mostly, it is routine use aimed at mass disease prevention to maintain high productivity in farms. The use of antibiotics in shrimp culture is strictly prohibited as their use may result in development of pathogens resistant to such drugs and the transfer of these pathogens into human beings might result in development of resistance in human pathogens.
Lack of supervision, Lack of understanding among stakeholders on the abuse of antibiotics leads to the indiscriminate use and need to be checked forthwith. Quacks at the local level were also advocating the usage of antibiotics in fish/ shrimp culture, leading to overuse and misuse of antibiotics. Farmers were found to use veterinary grade antibiotics labeled for use in poultry or livestock, but not specifically fish/ shrimp.
Against this backdrop, there is an urgent need to:
- Inculcate among stakeholders the negative impacts of antibiotics on environment and aquaculture best practices in aquaculture management should be prioritized to avoid the entrance of pathogens into the shrimp cultivation systems, and antibiotics should only be administered as a last resort.
- Educate the farmers on how the over-use of antibiotics has led to an increase in antibiotic resistance among bacteria populations and affect the biota of the environment.
- Intervention of scientific and research organizations to show the findings of their research and disseminate the information to eh field level.
- Establish more quality control laboratories to analyze the antibiotic residue testing
- Implement National Residue Control Plan effectively (EIC, MPEDA, CAA have to take active part)
- Create Heightened awareness among stakeholders (All Govt. Department concerned)
- Strict Implementation of G.O. MS.2 that is intended to popularize antibiotic fee shrimp.
Antibiotic use and misuse is routine in fish culture than in shrimp culture. i.e.,for non-therapeutic purposes such as growth promotion and mass disease prevention. The usage of antibiotics in aquaculture is reduced when compared with previous years. There is no rigorous inspection of different aqua products sold and used in the market.
It is an acknowledged fact that
- The microbial interactions between humans, antibiotics, bacteria, fish and aquatic environments are poorly understood by all stakeholders.
- Improvement in pond management and production practices will reduce spread of infection and the usage fo antibiotics will not arise.
- A regulatory framework to address the need for checking antimicrobial drug use in aquaculture is pertinent.
- ‘Pre Harvest Testing’ mandatory for selling the harvested product should be mandatory and strictly implemented (Need further refinement of guidelines)
- Agencies like NaCSA, MPEDA, EIC, CAA, CIBA, RGCA, CIFE and CIFT should come forward and be actively involved in the efforts made by the Department of Fisheries.
- Risk management strategies in aquaculture systems are to be properly chalked out in collaboration with all stakeholders
- For effective control on the misuse of antibiotics, frequent raids on aqua shops selling banned antibiotics are to be made
- Conduct of awareness meeting on usage of banned antibiotics and appraising the stakeholders on the ill effects of antibiotics.
- Samples need to be collected form drug suppliers and send them to concern certified NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories) like MPEDA, RGCA EIC for analysis and to take action against defaulters through DCA and Food Safety departments.
- To take legal action on defaulter suppliers and to seize the shops forthwith
- To bring awareness among the aqua farmers not to use antibiotics and t adopt BMPs
- A holistic action plan needs to be designed and implemented so as to achieve the desired results.
The ban on antibiotics should reflect the purpose for which the ban has been made on antibiotics rather than intimidating the shop keepers and suppliers on the penalty and other restrictions.