NYMC Faculty Publications

Misunderstandings and Misinterpretations: Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Salmon Aquaculture

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Environmental Microbiology Reports

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Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology


The exponential growth of aquaculture over the past 30 years has been accompanied by a parallel increase in the use of antimicrobials. This widespread use has had negative effects on animal, human and environmental health and affected the biodiversity of the environments where aquaculture takes place. Results showing these harmful effects have been resisted and made light of by the aquaculture industry and their scientific supporters through introduction of misunderstandings and misinterpretations of concepts developed in the evolution, genetics, and molecular epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance. We focus on a few of the most obvious scientific shortcomings and biases of two recent attempts to minimise the negative impacts of excessive antimicrobial use in Chilean salmon aquaculture on human and piscine health and on the environment. Such open debate is critical to timely implementation of effective regulation of antimicrobial usage in salmon aquaculture in Chile, if the negative local and worldwide impacts of this usage are to be avoided.