Identification of research gaps for highly infectious diseases in aquaculture: The case of the endemic Piscirickettsia salmonis in the Chilean salmon farming industry

Ecología y recursos humanos 3 enero, 2018


Salmonid rickettsial septicemia (SRS) or piscirickettsiosis has historically been the most important health problem of farmed salmonids during the growth-out production phase in the Chilean industry. SRS is caused by the bacterium Piscirickettsia salmonis and is responsible for about 50.5 to 97.2% of the total disease-specific salmon mortality in the industry. Although SRS is also prevalent in Norway and Canada, its impact on the farmed salmon industry of those countries are less detrimental than in Chile. Based on a comprehensive literature review and a participatory priority-setting workshop with key stakeholders, we show how science-based research on SRS has evolved over time and identify 8 main research areas which should be addressed. These areas, termed epidemiology, ecology and environmental science, microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, “Omics”, human dimensions and vaccine development include a set of 52 specific research questions to be tackled. These research areas and specific questions need to be developed based on an integrative, collaborative and crosscutting interaction in order to be successful. A long term approach based on a research center led from within government agencies, co-financed by the salmon industry should be developed in order to foresee how research gaps must be adaptively modified in order to address the impacts of P. salmonis over the productivity of the salmon farming industry, the physical and ecological environment, and the socio-economic sustainability. This approach could result in significant gains for the environment and the industry and generate novel cross-sector alliances.

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