Aquatic Animal Health Management

We assist marine and freshwater aquaculture clients improve their production efficiency and reliability and reduce costs through application of animal health management principles.  For marine and freshwater aquaculture hatcheries and nurseries, our laboratory and consulting services help prevent infectious disease losses, improve water quality, improve quality and survivorship of seed stocks and manage brood stock.  For example, we assist edible shellfish production farms implement high health practices by adopting a Shellfish High Health Program that we developed and which has subsequently been adopted by the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

We offer certification services for farmed shellfish stocks for export or transfer of seed and brood stock, including laboratory testing to satisfy state, provincial, federal and international requirements for sale of live molluscan shellfish.  Starting in 2001 we have been the only laboratory approved by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for export health testing.  In addition we offer diagnostic services to manage the health of larval, juvenile (seed), adult and brood stocks.  These services include microbiological and molecular diagnostic testing, histopathological assessments, and onsite hatchery/nursery operations and management evaluation.

For shellfish farming clients we have provided shellfish
health surveillance for over a decade, including shellfish health documentation, surveillance and testing using USDA-AHIS-NVSL approved laboratory protocols.  Clients include large and small marine and freshwater hatcheries, nurseries and growout

  • Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for the presence of reportable
    infectious disease agents and other pathogens of molluscan shellfish.
  • Bacterial isolation of aquatic pathogens using conventional microbial
    isolation methods.
  • Necropsy and histological assessment of aquatic invertebrates and fish
    to establish health and condition and assist in assigning causation for
    morbidity and mortality losses.

Examples of published descriptions of shellfish
health service work:

Elston, RA, Hasegawa, H, Humphrey, K, Polyak IK, Häse, CC.  2008 Re-emergence of Vibrio tubiashii in bivalve shellfish aquaculture: severity
environmental drivers, geographic extent and management.   Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 82: 119-134.


Elston, R.A., Dungan, C.F., Meyers, T.R., Reece, K. 2004.  Perkinsus
sp. infection risk for manila clams, Venerupis
, (A. Adams and Reeve, 1850) on the Pacific coast of North and Central America.
Journal of Shellfish Research 23(1): 101-105.

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