Technical Webinar on Aquaculture Biosecurity: Understanding Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in Aquaculture

FAO's thirty-ninth Conference (June 2015) adopted Resolution 4/2015 recognizing that AMR poses a serious threat to public health and sustainable food production, and that an effective response should involve all sectors of government and society. To support the implementation of the resolution, FAO developed an Action Plan on AMR which addresses four major focus areas:

  1. Improve awareness on AMR and related threats
  2. Develop capacity for surveillance and monitoring of AMR and AMU (antimicrobial use) in food and agriculture
  3. Strengthen governance related to AMU and AMR in food and agriculture
  4. Promote good practices in food and agricultural systems and the prudent use of antimicrobials.

FAO's Fisheries Division has highlighted AMR in aquaculture as a critical issue. It is well understood that antimicrobials are often important to the implementation of effective biosecurity systems in aquaculture. Treatment failure, however, can result in significant production losses and socioeconomic impacts on livelihoods and food security. FAO's Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) emphasizes the need for Member Countries to encourage the prudent and responsible use of veterinary medicines in farmed aquatic populations. They emphasize, among the guiding principles, that responsible use of veterinary medicines in aquaculture requires collaboration among all stakeholders and a strong commitment to governance, awareness, best practices, surveillance and research, including monitoring of AMR, tracking of antimicrobial usage (AMU), assessing risk in different settings and evaluating strategies to reduce AMR and maintain efficacy of antimicrobial agents. FAO's new initiative, the Progressive Management Pathway for Improving Aquaculture Biosecurity (PMP/AB), which focuses on assisting countries to achieve sustainable biosecurity and health management systems, also addresses the issue of AMR.

There are three basic questions pertaining to AMR in aquaculture:

  • What are the sources of AMR genes in aquaculture and the aquatic environment?
  • What are the drivers of AMR development in aquaculture?
  • How can AMR development in aquaculture be reduced or prevented?

This two-day webinar, jointly organized by FAO and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) under the project GCP/GLO/979/NOR Improving Biosecurity Governance and Legal Framework for Efficient and Sustainable Aquaculture Production, will provide some further perspective on the above questions and increase our understanding of AMR issues in aquaculture through the sharing of expert knowledge and country level experience.

For more information, visit the event agenda webpage:


Fish Innovation Lab Director Mark Lawrence will deliver an expert presentation on genetic mechanisms of AMR in aquaculture pathogens during the session on April 13.