This study is a initiative of the Responsible Aquaculture Foundation, an independent public goods organization established by the Global Aquaculture Alliance, the Chilean Under secretariat of Fisheries and salmon Chile, the Chilean salmon Industry Association. The Project was cosponsored by Allfish, a public private partnership between the World Bank, The Global Environmental Facility, the International Colition of Fisheries Associations(IFCA and Profish, the World Bank’s global partnership for fisheries). Inquries should be addressed to Randall Brummett ( or James L. Anderson ( The authors of this study express our greatest thanks to all individuals and institutions that collaborated on this project. The food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO) coordinated the regional aquatic animal health workshop in Mozambique. The Network of Aquaculture Centers in Asia and the Pacific shared knowledge about the early mortality syndrome(EMS) outbreak. Dr.Lighter received partial travel funding from the central office of the World Organization fo Animal Health (OIE) in Paris. Without their input this report would not have been possible.


This report is the result of an international effort led by the Responsible Aquaculture Foundation of the Global Aquaculture Alliance and the World Bank to bring together, synthesize, analyze and draw practical lessons from the experience of major aquaculture disease outbreaks in Chile, Vietnam, Madagascar and Mozambique for the benefit of stakeholders throughout the aquaculture industry. It was produced by a broad spectrum of experts and engaged a wide range of industry, government, and civil society informants.

The objective was not to compare foe the case study countries found themselves with disease problems and then scrutinize their success in coping, but rather look for commonalities and exceptions in the history and structure of aquaculture in three region of the world to elucidate key concepts in aquatic disease management and inform farmers, to prepare themselves for the inevitable.


The Chilean salmon farming industry is on the process of recovering from a serious outbreak of infectious salmon anemia (ISA) which began in the 2007. This outbreak caused severe impacts on Atlantic salmon production which formerly represented two-thirds of Chilean salmonid output. It also had important secondary impacts on employment, social welfare, and international market presence.

For almost three decades Chile transferred, adapted, and developed technologies, products, and markets to become the second largest producer of farmed salmon in the world, with over 500 active farming sites, creating value for the entire country and for the regions where the industry operates. However, this impressive technical and commercial success was nit accompanied by matching research, monitoring, and regulation to guard against foreseeable biological risks. This imbalance impaired the industry’s ability to avert and control the outbreak of ISA in 2007.

Productive, economic, and social impacts of the outbreak were magnified due to the industry’s size and the rapid spread of the pathogen, facilitated by a high concentration of farms in some areas, poor husbandry and weak biosecurity.

A rapid and well-coordinated public-private effort ensured that basic infectious disease control measures were implemented and enforced as an immediate response, In parallel. Longer-term efforts involving the government, the industry, and the financial sector allowed companies to continue operating while new laws and regulations laid the foundations for the industry’s renewal.

In spite of the new regulations and practices, there are still important issues to address including the need for:

  • Mechanisms to ensure that overconcentration of farming activity in certain areas is avoided,
  • Boundary definition of production zones.
  • Definition of zone carrying capacities,
  • Surveillance programs to detect and/or predict new environment and disease issues before they can affect the industry.

Overall lessons emphasize that aquaculture depends on the capacity of biological systems to capacity of biological systems to support it and that defining the aquaculture carrying capacities of bodies of water is essential in order to set limits on the maximum production in farming areas. Unless this is done, conditions will deteriorate leading to poor fish performance and eventually to disease. Also, when bodies of water are shared, regulations are required to ensure that all parties involved are good stewards of the environment and the larger the industry is the greater the risks and the harder it is to control a problem


Source: Aquatech

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