• Aquaculture;
  • Veterinary medicines;
  • Environmental risk assessment;
  • Modeling;
  • Sensitivity analysis


A model called ERA-AQUA was developed to assess the risks posed by the use of veterinary medicinal products (VMPs) applied in aquaculture ponds for the targeted produce, surrounding aquatic ecosystems, consumers, and trade of the aquaculture produce. The model calculates risks by following a risk quotient approach, calculating predicted exposure concentrations (exposure assessment) and predicted no-effect concentrations (effect assessment) for the endpoint under study. The exposure assessment is performed by combining information on the environmental characteristics of the aquaculture pond, characteristics of the cultured species, aquaculture management practices, and physicochemical properties of the compound under study. The model predicts concentrations of VMPs in the pond water, pond sediment, cultured species, and watercourse receiving pond effluent discharges by mass balance equations. The effect assessment is performed by combining (eco)toxicological information and food safety threshold concentrations for the studied compound. In the present study, the scientific background, strengths, and limitations of the ERA-AQUA model are presented together with a sensitivity analysis and an example showing its potential applications. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2013;32:1196–1207. © 2013 SETAC