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Symposium on Aquatic Animal Health draws attendees from around the globe

The 8th International Symposium on Aquatic Animal Health (ISAAH) was held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, from Sept. 2–6. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the event, bringing the conference back to Canada for the first time since the inaugural meeting held in Vancouver, British Columbia.

October 18, 2018  By Eric Ignatz

The 8th International Symposium on Aquatic Animal Health

Hundreds of aquatic health professionals flew to the island to take part in a week full of presentations, industry sessions and social networking events.

The symposium was co-hosted by University of Prince Edward Island’s Atlantic Veterinary College, the PEI BioAlliance and the Fish Health Section of the American Fisheries Society. The theme of the event was “Integrating Biotechnology in the Advancement of Aquatic Animal Health,” which presenters throughout the week highlighted with discussion of the latest research developments from around the world.

Rose FitzPatrick, manager of marketing and communications for the BioAlliance, explains why she thought Charlottetown made an ideal host-location, “I think P.E.I., has a well-established concentration of aquatic animal health expertise through research at the Atlantic Veterinary College and through the companies who’ve chosen to establish their business in PEI, such as Elanco, Halibut PEI, AquaBounty Canada, and The Centre for Aquaculture Technologies Canada, just to name a few.”

Some new elements that were included in this year’s conference were one-to-one business partnering meetings. FitzPatrick says, “It has been a very significant piece of our conference programs, connecting industry with researchers and students, thus pushing forward not only innovation and entrepreneurship, but ongoing relationships.”

Also incorporated during the week were targeted industry sessions, including a two-day think tank on the new Ocean Supercluster initiative, encouraging the formation of new cooperative partnerships. Additionally, the American Association of Fish Veterinarians (AAFV) and the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association (WAVMA) both hosted meetings and offered opportunities to fill continuing education credits for their members.  

The new Quantitative Atlantic Salmon Health (QASH) team hosted one of its first workshops as well. The QASH initiative is a collaborative effort among researchers in Canada, Chile, Norway and Scotland that aims to develop benchmark management and certification tools based on objective measures of health and robustness.

The symposium is generally held every four years and is expected to make a return in 2022. FitzPatrick only has one recommendation for the next conference, “I think that future ISAAH organizers should work to attract more industry to attend this event. ISAAH attracts some of the best and brightest minds in aquatic animal health research together for one week. It is a prime opportunity for both industry and academia from all over the world to meet.”

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