Biosecurity in Shrimp Farming: Pathogen Exclusion through Use of SPF Stock and Routine Surveillance


  • Donald V. Lightner

    1. Aquaculture Pathology Laboratory, Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA
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  • The present review is modifid and updated from the original published in: Lee, C.-S. and O'Bryen. P. J. Editors. 2003. Biosecurity in Aquaculture Production Systems: Exclusion of Pathogens and Other Undesirables. The World Aquaculture Societys Baton Rouge LA USA pp. 81–116.


Biosecurity, as it is being applied to shrimp aquaculture, may be defined as the practice of exclusion of specific pathogens from cultured aquatic stocks in brood stock facilities, hatcheries, and farms, or from entire regions or countries for the purpose of disease prevention. To make a biosecurity program a functional concept in shrimp aquaculture, the relevant risks should be identified and the appropriate biosecurity measures put into practice to mitigate those risks. Examples of biosecurity measures put into place for this purpose may include such basics as site selection when the intent is to locate a new shrimp culture facility in an area where certain diseases are not enzootic. Standard facilitylfarm operating procedures can be adapted to minimize the risks of disease introduction and spread within a facility through such concepts as pretreatment of all source water, and reduced or “zero” water exchange. Stocking shrimp culture facilities with domesticated shrimp stocks that are free of specific diseases (“Specific Pathogen Free” or SPF) and or with stocks resistant to specific disease agents (SPR) is perhaps the most important single component of a biosecurity program. The example set by the development of domesticated SPF stocks of Litopenaeus vannamei has helped to make biosecure shrimp culture feasible. The development of these and other SPF stocks, and the diagnostic methods to develop and monitor them for specific diseases and disease causing agents, have been milestones in the development of the international shrimp farming industry in recent years, and it has contributed to the species rivaliig Penaeus monodon as the dominant farmed shrimp species. The regular monitoring (surveillance) of shrimp stocks in biosecure culture facilities is a necessary component of a biosecurity plan, as is having in place a contingency plan for disease containment and eradication should a breach occur in the physical and managerial components of a biosecure facility and a targeted disease occur.