Shrimp farming is a major economic activity in Asia, generating millions of jobs and supporting rural communities. Periodic and unpredictable massive production drops occur with shrimp resulting in severe economic losses – early mortality syndrome in Thailand led to a production drop from 610,000 metric tons in 2010 to less than 200,000 in 2014. Efforts towards disease control are relatively fragmented or poorly developed.
This Newton Fund project built on a previous Researcher Links workshop to establish a UK-Thai network in shrimp health focused on knowledge exchange and capacity building, and challenging disease control in aquaculture. New paradigms were co-designed with the driving principle being the need for joint responsibility in securing the global aquatic food chain between producer nations such as Thailand, and consumer nations. The project is applying cutting edge technologies for ‘point of need’ diagnostics, smartphone reporting systems for field data and developing disruptive technologies for reporting disease from the ‘pond side’.
The team has carried out collaborative research on priority shrimp disease issues and pathogens, trialing a novel portable pond-side diagnostic device (Genedrive TM), and working with farmers and government to test this new paradigm in disease management.
"Decentralising diagnostics for use by the farmer at ‘pond side’ will revolutionise the fight against disease in global aquaculture. Reporting that data via smartphone apps will minimise onward spread and contribute to greater food security from this sector."
Professor Grant D Stentiford
International Network for Shrimp Health (INSH)
Lead PI: Professor Grant Stentiford, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in Weymouth, UK
Lead PI: Dr Kallaya Sritunyalucksana, Shrimp-pathogen interaction (SPI) Laboratory, National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), National Science and Technology Development Agency, Khlong Luang, Thailand
Project partners: British Council
Thailand Research Fund