Foras na Mara

Scientists and Fish Farmers Meet to Tackle Fish Health Issue

Tri Nation SeminarAn important seminar aimed at addressing the problem of pancreas disease on salmon farms was held today (May 7th) at the Marine Institute in Oranmore, Co. Galway. The seminar, which was held under the banner of the Tri-Nation Pancreas Disease Group, brought together experts and industry practitioners from Norway, Scotland and Ireland to exchange information, ideas and research findings in order to develop effective strategies in controlling the disease, which has caused so many problems for salmon farmers in the past.

The Tri-Nation Pancreas Disease Group was formed at seminar in Bergen, Norway in February 2005, following the growing awareness of the threat posed by the disease to the salmon farming industry. The aims of the group are to share knowledge and experience on pancreas disease, accelerate progress in developing scientific control strategies, and identify knowledge gaps and future research strategies. Since then, the group has convened workshops on a twice annual basis in Oslo, Galway, Aberdeen and Bergen and comprises of government agencies, scientific researchers and industry representatives.

“One of the key aims of the Tri-Nation Group is to raise funds to support research,” said Neil Ruane of the Marine Institute, who was co-chairing the seminar with his Scottish colleague Gordon Richie of the salmon farming company Marine Harvest. “Under the Tri-Nation umbrella, a number of research projects have already received national funding within each of the three countries and a special edition of the leading fish health publication Journal of Fish Diseases was devoted to alphavirus infections in September 2007.”

The Tri-Nation group has recently submitted a research proposal to the Northern Periphery Programme for funding with the Marine Institute as the lead partner. Successful projects will be announced in June 2008.

Micheal O’Cinneide, Director of Marine Environment and Food Safety Services at the Marine Institute, said that he saw the Tri-Nation Group’s role as essential in co-ordinating the development of research proposals, communicating knowledge and ensuring information flow between research groups in Ireland, Scotland and Norway. 
“Given the devastating results that this condition can have on farmed salmon stocks, it is essential that both industry and the research community co-ordinate their activities towards the development of effective control strategies,” he said. “This is where international groups like the Tri-Nation initiative come into their own by synchronising activities, creating dialogue and communicating results.”