Research
Researchers at Auburn University are ready to field-test a vaccine against the deadly columnaris disease that can affect nearly all freshwater fish species and causes millions of dollars in annual losses in catfish aquaculture alone.

Lab trials over the past seven years have shown the Auburn vaccine has outperformed the only vaccine currently available on the market, the researchers said. It also targets the two types of bacteria that cause columnaris disease, Type I and the more destructive and more prevalent Type II. Currently available vaccine on the market addresses only Type I.

In vaccine trials of Nile tilapia and catfish, the vaccine increased survival rates by 66 and 17 percent, respectively, over the currently available vaccine, reported the Auburn University College of Agriculture paper.

Field-testing of the vaccine is funded by a $321,000 grant from the US Department of Agriculture. It will take place in 400 acres of Auburn University ponds.

“At this point in our research, we need data on a larger scale to successfully commercialize the vaccine,” research team leader Cova Arias told the Alabama Newscenter. “We will use this most recent grant to fulfill our gap of information.”

Responding to strong market demand for sea cucumbers in China, Alaska- and Washington-based researchers are developing hatchery and grow-out techniques for the indigenous giant red sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus).

Farmed salmon contains fewer environmental pollutants than its wild counterpart, according to a Norwegian study that’s been described as the biggest research of its kind so far. The study involved 100 samples of wild salmon caught in the sea in Northern Norway, and 100 samples of farmed salmon.

The demographics and purchasing behaviour of seafood consumers present a host of challenges and opportunities, says Matt Lally, Manager, Analytics and Insight for Nielsen Perishables, a consultancy firm on fresh seafood for the marketplace.

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