GSI pledges support for pharma companies

THE Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) signalled its commitment to supporting research and development in aquaculture by signing a statement of intent with pharmaceutical companies.

The aquaculture industry has made considerable progress in reducing its use of antibiotics over the past two decades, said the GSI, and as a global protein source, farmed salmon uses the least antibiotics of all animal proteins.

Through its focus to further reduce antibiotic use, the GSI is backing research into new industry health products.

The statement of intent, signed last week, comes as a result of all GSI member companies recognising the need for continued R&D if they are to find new, and effective, tools for improved biosecurity and fish health management.

In particular, the industry is clear that finding a vaccine which offers an effective solution to the continuing challenge posed by SRS in Chile is a pressing priority, and the main driver behind the GSI’s announcement.

Acknowledging that such R&D comes with high levels of investment, the GSI wished to formalise its commitment to supporting the pharmaceutical industries’ input to R&D.

According to the statement: ‘GSI members outline that where fairly priced health products are available and proved effective, they recognise it is in their interest to purchase from companies that have developed the product for a long enough time period for the inventive pharmaceutical company to recoup the costs and allow for future investments.

‘In addition to this, GSI members also intend to support the R&D process through increasing access to company biological material, and supporting trial procedures where suitable, to
ensure innovation can happen at an efficient pace, and with the most
effective outcomes.’

Andrés Lyon, CEO of Multiexport Foods and co-chair of the GSI’s Biosecurity Taskforce, said: ‘The salmon industry faces challenges that require new and effective solutions, and success depends upon continued innovation.

‘We must support our supply chain and the work being done to help ensure the most effective and sustainable farming approaches.’

GSI member companies and pharmaceutical associate members are working pre-competitively to share knowledge and experiences to support the industry in overcoming biosecurity and fish health risks.

Jose Fernando Rodriguez, global technical services manager of Elanco Aqua Business, said: ‘GSI members are clearly acknowledging that our R&D efforts are worthwhile and that the companies are committed to making decisions based on a vision of long-term future sustainability.

‘Through ongoing collaboration between GSI member companies and the pharmaceutical associate members, we have been able to identify possible barriers to industry progress, and identify ways to overcome them.’

In addition to the work being carried out in support of industry R&D, the GSI Biosecurity Taskforce members are continuing to share best practices on the management of sea lice and SRS, as well as sharing knowledge on the prevention and management of algal blooms.

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