Antimicrobials in shrimp aquaculture in the United States: regulatory status and safety concerns.

E. D. Park, D. V. Lightner, D. L. Park

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    20 Scopus citations


    The consumption of seafood, especially shrimp, increases yearly in the U.S. The U.S. is the second largest importer of shrimp in the world, consuming more than 11% of the total world production. Aquaculture is becoming an increasingly important source of the world's shrimp, currently accounting for approximately 30% of the world's supply. Unfortunately, in this era of international trade deficits, U.S. production of aquacultured shrimp is insignificant (< 0.1%) compared with world production. As shrimp aquaculture expands in the U.S., so does the use of intensive farming techniques. Shrimp aquaculture is like any other animal husbandry industry in that shrimp are subject to disease, especially under intensive farming methods. In penaeid shrimp, the primary diseases associated with mortalities are usually viral or bacterial. The majority of bacterial infections in penaeid shrimp are attributable to Vibrio species, with mortalities ranging from insignificant to 100%. However, the rapid growth of this industry has outpaced efforts by researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and federal regulatory agencies to provide approved therapeutants for shrimp disease management. Approval of drugs and their surveillance for compliance with regulations applicable to seafoods, including aquacultured goods, is the responsibility of the FDA. There are three general areas of concern regarding human health when chemotherapeutants are used in aquaculture: (1) residues of drugs in fish destined for human consumption; (2) development of drug resistance in human pathogenic bacteria; and (3) direct toxic effects to humans from handling of drugs. Currently, there are no antibacterials approved for shrimp aquaculture in the U.S. One of the major obstacles in the development and approval of new drugs for aquaculture is the cost of conducting the required studies. The high cost to pharmaceutical companies discourages investment in shrimp chemotherapeutant research, since the current U.S. market for such products is small. Unfortunately, the U.S. shrimp aquaculture industry will remain small without legal availability of chemotherapeutants. Oxytetracycline (OTC) and Romet-30 are two antibacterials currently approved in the U.S. for catfish and salmonid aquaculture. Shrimp aquaculture facilities outside of the U.S. routinely use these drugs, as well as others, in the treatment of bacterial disease outbreaks. Much of the work required for OTC approval by the FDA for penaeid shrimp has been completed.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1-20
    Number of pages20
    JournalReviews of environmental contamination and toxicology
    StatePublished - 1994

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pollution
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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