Nick King, the recently appointed Operations Director for Fish Vet North America, says the company is developing a Fish Health Management program to help farms minimize risk from disease.
A fish health management plan might see Fish Vet involved with the initial design of a farm, paying particular attention to the initial quarantine process for incoming fish.
“This is the last fire wall before these fish go out to the farm and we need to have a rigorous proactive screening of the pathogen landscape in place,” King says.
“We can develop a health management plan for your farm that will help to minimize your risk.”
When fish move out to the farm, a targeted investigation of compromised fish will take place quarterly by a farm staff member designated to support the health program. Fish Vet will train that person to recognize signs of disease and prepare fish to be sent to the lab. The company can also develop and audit a bio security plan, as well as a contingency plan, should there be an issue.
“If an aquaculture operation is smaller than 500 metric tons, they can’t afford a health division,” says King. “We aim to be that part of the company.”
“Our primary focus is veterinarian services and laboratory diagnostics for the aquatic industry,” adds King. “If somebody’s fish gets sick, we want to be the ones they call first.”
“We have a veterinarian who is in the field interfacing with the farmer. We have the diagnostics lab that is able to run tests that the vet orders and we have a core of pathologists through the global group who are really able to look at the status of the disease.”
Fish Vet Group can also support the regulatory process for moving fish between states, and for import and export. They will complete the fish inspections required by the pathologist of the receiving state.
“There is a very specific sampling program involved to meet those screening requirements that begins with collection by either an American Fisheries Society inspector, or a licensed veterinarian,” notes King.
— Tom Walker