Key facts

Course Dates
5 days
Entry Requirements
Aquaculture Production Species and Systems
IFST Membership
Your course enrolment also entitles you to one year of free membership to the IFST (Institute of Food, Science and Technology).
Course Provider
Harper Adams University
Course Arrangements
Full joining instructions will be confirmed by the course provider.
Course Location
Harper Adams University
AFTP Cohort

Course overview

Aquaculture (fish and shellfish farming) is often challenged by the presence of established diseases. The emergence of new aquatic borne pathogens that can seriously affect production and lead to serious losses and even mass mortality. Aquaculture welfare and health matters and are of paramount importance implicit in the sustainability of this rapidly growing industry. It will be of prime consideration in legislation, compliance and governance of fish production within the EU, USA, Canada and Australia where fin fish farming and aquaculture is of economic importance.

The Aquaculture Environment, Health and Welfare course will address the major infectious and non-infectious diseases affecting a wide variety of species in fish farming. This includes range from parasites, bacteria, viral and fungal agents that threaten aquaculture health. The topics of water quality and associated parameters including toxin will be noted in the module. Another aspect will be to highlight the growing issue of non- infectious production diseases associated with husbandry and intensification in aquaculture.

The growing aquaculture health market will be a driver to understand the use of medication, disease prevention and control and the rationale of this module will be to integrate a multi-disciplinary approach to the use of novel diagnostic tools, technologies and management approaches to eliminate or greatly control disease outbreaks and meet high welfare standards.

In Europe, aquaculture accounts for about 20% of fish production and directly employs some 85 000 people. The sector is mainly composed of SMEs or micro-enterprises in coastal and rural areas. EU aquaculture is renowned for its high quality, sustainability and consumer protection standards. EU overall output has been more or less constant in volume since 2000 whereas global production, at the same time, has been growing by nearly 7% per year.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course participants will be able to:

  • Identify the main infective disease agents and pathogens affecting intensively reared fish health in different aquaculture systems.
  • Apply an understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms affecting stress physiology, biochemical and immunological responses to pathogenic insult and effects on aquaculture production and health status.
  • Apply the knowledge of the fundamental criteria governing the health of farmed fish and shrimp to make key decisions in the identification and control of disease and implement relevant standard operational procedures to support fish welfare.
  • Evaluate risk management techniques as applied to the aquaculture sector with a view towards identification of novel technologies such as vaccination, chemotherapeutics and application of molecular biology in combating diseases of fish and shrimp. Appreciation of feed additives (phytobiotics, probiotics and prebiotics) in enhancing fish health and performance.
Additional Course Information

Areas covered on the Aquaculture Environment, Health and Welfare course will include:

  • Principles of fish health in aquaculture
  • Normal/Homeostasis
  • Major fish diseases  
  • Prophylactic approaches
  • Medicines

The assessment instruments for the course will be comprised of a single component contributing 100% of the marks for the course.

An assignment will be set requiring the analysis of a ‘real life’ system (case study or workplace situation) addressing an appropriate topic within the areas of fish health, disease and welfare. This may be an existing problem or sector of the aquaculture industry/business (aquaculture production facility) or it may be as a proposal for a new business venture. The participant will be expected to consider the key aspects, strategies and developments which may be implemented to improve the system. These can include highlighting and solving specific problems and operational procedures and improve efficiencies using the theory and knowledge covered by the course. Relevant analyses will be included to test the plan. 

The assignment may include examples of different species of fish, susceptibility to stress, disease, identification and treatment, prevention and overall welfare of stock

My AFTP training course has given me greater confidence day-to-day and more insight into the impact of new techniques and technologies.
Andy Russell - Fresh Produce Technologist, Bakkavor

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