DV-10-07 Development of autogenous Vibrio vaccine for Atlantic cod

Deborah Bouchard
University of Maine Animal Health Laboratory
5735 Hitchner Hall
Orono, ME 04469

Populations of Atlantic cod, once the founding species of coastal New England, are at record low abundances in the Gulf of Maine. Finfish aquaculture provides a means of supplementing declining wild fisheries to meet human demand for sustainable seafood. Great Bay Aquaculture in Portsmouth, NH, has made significant progress raising Atlantic cod, but the fish are vulnerable to viruses and other pathogens once they are transferred to grow-out sites in the marine environment. The company estimates that more than 10% of fish are lost to a specific strain of Vibrio anguillarum.

Bouchard tested a vaccine manufactured by Richmond, ME-based MicroTechnologies on cod raised by Great Bay Aquaculture,  a company with a marine grow-out site in Sorrento, ME.  As a result of the trial, it is likely that GBA will change their vaccination strategy for cod stocked into their Maine site. Prior to this trial, the company used immersion as the primary delivery method for the vaccine. Given the increased efficacy suggested by our research, it is likely that an injectable vaccine will provide much better protection and will help decrease the loss of production fish. Further, Micro Technologies will be able to use these data to support other vaccination efforts and use it as a basis for future research within the company. The fundamental research completed with Sea Grant Development funds sets the ground work for economic gain for both companies and cod aquaculture as a whole.

Research support, $5,725