Two-year study on Pancreas Disease in Irish Farmed Salmon published

Salmon Cages Clew BayThe Marine Institute, in partnership with the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Belfast and Vet-Aqua International in Galway, has just published its final report on a two-year research project into pancreas disease in Irish farmed salmon.  

“Pancreas disease has been a serious issue for the salmon farming industry in Ireland and internationally for a long time” says Neil Ruane of the Marine Institute’s Marine Environment and Food Safety Service group, one of the scientists involved in the research. “This report puts forward a number of management strategies based on our studies that will help fish farmers avoid and reduce the incidence of the disease on their farms in the future”.  

The Pancreas Disease Research Group was set up by the Marine Institute in early 2004 to advise on research initiatives in response to serious losses in the salmon farming industry due to the disease since 2002. The Institute, in association with IFA Aquaculture, convened a seminar on pancreas disease in Ireland in October 2004 to identify research priorities for industry. From this meeting it became clear that pancreas disease was not only a problem for the Irish salmon industry but was also emerging as a significant problem for the industry internationally.  

“This research is of great value to the aquaculture industry and will help support the sector in maintaining Ireland’s superior fish health status” said Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute.  

The two year project carried out studies on commercially reared Atlantic Salmon from farm sites in the northwest, west and southwest of Ireland in close cooperation with farm managers. The aim of the study was to develop our understanding of pancreas disease, how it is introduced and spreads within a site and the impact of infection, as well as to help build national capacity in the area of screening and establishing early warning systems.  

The report details management tools and provides advice on mitigating factors for industry practitioners and veterinarians. Throughout the project, results were presented at Tri-Nation Group meetings attended by scientists and practitioners from Ireland, Scotland and Norway and international conferences such as the European Association of Fish Pathologists in 2007.

NDP logo

This project (Grant-aid Agreement No. ST/05/01) was carried out with the support of the Marine Institute and the Marine RTDI Measure, Productive Sector Operational Programme, National Development Plan 2000 - 2006.


‘Pancreas Disease in Farmed Salmon – Health Management and Investigations at Irish Farm Sites, 2005 – 2008’ is available to download from the publications section of the Marine Institute website.