Summary Report for “Asesoría Especializada en Epidemiología de Piscirickettsia salmonis”

The objectives of the contract between Sernapesca and the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) were to 1) participate in group meetings to design and develop an epidemiological research center for the advancement of knowledge on Piscirickettsiosis (SRS) and sea lice; 2) propose a design to characterize the strains of Piscirickettsia salmonis in Chile and maintain a repository for representative strains; 3) assess the research priorities identified by the industry and; 4) conduct a literature review on Piscirickettsia identifying the most likely sources of infection for farmed fish, and potential control strategies.
Our first report to Sernapesca was a proposal for creating a repository for P. salmonis (Appendix A). We presented this at the end of our initial meetings with the Sernapesca administrative team which occurred in late January 2016. At this meeting we also “brain stormed” potential frameworks for a research centre in epidemiology that could provide scientific support and advice for government policy (Appendix B). As a result of this initial meeting we reviewed the research questions identified by industry as priority for SRS and sea lice research (Appendix C).

A literature review of the potential sources of P. salmonis for farmed fish in Chile was conducted and submitted to Sernapesca in June 2016. This report was subsequently revised in June 2017 after new research was completed on SRS antibiotic treatment success (Appendix D). This report identified the need to better understand the biocapacity threshold to reduce pathogen transmission within aquaculture neighborhoods in Chile. As a result of this literature review, our research team conducted several independently funded studies to determine the reasons for SRS antibiotic treatment failure in Chile. We also with the remaining funds from this contract initiated a study in two neighborhoods to better understand the transmission relationship between infected and non-infected farms (Appendix E). The information from this project and the resulting dataset could be used for developing a biocapacity simulation model in the future. The report (Appendix E), a cleaned dataset, as well as a movie depicting the sequence of outbreaks investigated were provided to Sernapesca in June 2017.