Health monitoring of fish used in research

 

Renate Johansen

 

What is the point of health monitoring of fish used in research?
We use only healthy fish in our research, or donít we?

 

What do we know of the health status of the fish that we use in our research
and what should we know?

 

Why is it so important to provide better knowledge of the health status of the fish that we use in research?

 

These are the questions that I will aim to answer in my presentation. One of the main problems in fish research today is that the results from different trials and tests are difficult to compare due to lack of harmonisation. We need to harmonise both the fish and the methods that we use. Guidelines for health monitoring are one important step in this process.

 

To get the total picture of the health status of the fish you need to look at both the fish and the environment. The health status of the fish is highly influenced by the genome of the fish and the water quality and these factors will be further discussed by other speakers at the meeting (Unni Grimholt og Trond Rosten). My presentation will be aimed towards monitoring of diseases.

 

Clinically diseased fish are of course not used in research. Infections, inflammations and deformities are common in fish with no clinical signs of disease. Clinical signs as the only criteria for selection of fish are therefore not sufficient.

 

Pathogen-free fish are often not obtainable and it is therefore of major importance not only to state which infectious agents is present, but also how this may influence the fish.

 

Different fish species used in different types of research may need different guidelines for health monitoring. Few papers have been published on this topic and before guidelines for health monitoring can be made we need more background documentation. With my colleagues I have 2 papers in progress on this matter:

 

1. Health and welfare monitoring of fish used in research

 

2. Disease monitoring of Atlantic salmon used in research related to aquaculture

 

Hopefully more papers will follow from other research groups.