Biosecurity in shrimp farming: Pathogen exclusion through use of SPF stock and routine surveillance

Donald V. Lightner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    132 Scopus citations


    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 broodstock 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 facility/farm 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 rivaling 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.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)229-248
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of the World Aquaculture Society
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Sep 2005

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Aquatic Science
    • Agronomy and Crop Science


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