January 5, 2021


Antimicrobial use in aquaculture to surge 33% by 2030, researchers warn


Antimicrobial use in aquaculture will increase 33% worldwide by 2030, highlighting an "urgent need" for enhanced stewardship efforts, according to researchers from the Free University of Brussels, Healio reported.

Daniel Schar, VMD, of the Free University of Brussels, says, "Antimicrobial resistance remains amongst our era's defining global health challenges.

We reviewed the current evidence on antimicrobial use in a rapidly growing aquaculture industry to establish a baseline for future work and to inform antimicrobial stewardship policies."

To achieve their estimates, Schar and colleague analysed antimicrobial use intensity for six groups of species by conducting a systematic review of point prevalence surveys. Using 146 species-specific rates of antimicrobial use, they then estimated antimicrobial use rates for individual countries.

The researchers estimated that global antimicrobial consumption would increase from 10,259 tonnes in 2017 to 13,600 tonnes in 2030. The largest share comes from the Asia-Pacific region (93.8%), with China accounting for 57.9% of worldwide consumption in 2017. Antimicrobial intensity was 157 mg/kg-1 in catfish, 103 mg/kg-1 in trout, 59 mg/kg-1 in tilapia, 46 mg/kg–1 in in shrimp, 27 mg/kg-1 in salmon and 208 mg/kg-1 in a pooled species group.

The researchers also estimated that total worldwide terrestrial, human and aquatic food animal antimicrobial use will be in excess of 236,000 tonnes by 2030, with aquaculture making up 5.7% of this number but having the highest use intensity overall.

"Our findings indicate that for some aquaculture species groups, antimicrobial use intensity exceeds levels in terrestrial animals and humans," Schar says. "Our review underscores the urgent need for surveillance of antimicrobial consumption in this high-growth industry with broad links to water and ecosystem health."