Development of oral vaccine delivery methods for prevention of disease in finfish culture.

Lead PI: Matt Hawkyard

PI Email:

Co-PI: Ken Cain (UI/NOAA), Joseph Dietrich (NOAA)

Project Team: UMaine/ARI, University of Idaho, Oregon State University, NOAA

Abstract: The development of marine and freshwater finfish aquaculture in the western United States is dependent upon on a stable and robust supply of juveniles. However, disease-associated mortality has been found to largely occur during commercial culture, requiring disease control and prevention. Current vaccination methods for bacterial pathogens generally rely on the injection of juvenile fish. There are three major drawbacks associated with injected vaccinations: 1) injections can only be performed with larger fish (>20 g) due to handling problems with smaller sized fish; 2) injections are labor intensive, which may not be economical for large-scale, commercial production; and 3) injection methods require a high degree of handling which may lead to increased stress response in the fish. Novel oral vaccine delivery platforms require development of aquaculture vaccinations that occur earlier in the fish production cycle, and with minimal labor. Oral vaccination of smaller (~5 g) fish will allow fish to be moved into net pen and raceway operations at a smaller average size when compared to injection methods, thereby reducing expensive nursery systems and associated operating costs. Furthermore, oral vaccinations would significantly reduce labor costs associated with disease control efforts and may be used to provide vaccine boosters to adult fish. In the proposed study, we will investigate the effectiveness of a novel oral vaccine delivery technology platform with two species important to west coast finfish aquaculture, sablefish (Anoploploma fimbria) and rainbow trout (Onchorhynchus mykiss). In the proposed research, we will encapsulate vaccines within liposome-containing complex particles and feed them directly to fish. The oral delivery methods developed in this project could also be used to administer a variety of different vaccines and immonustimulants to the early life stages of a wide range of aquaculture species and life stages.

Project Dates: Oct 2019 – Sept 2023

Project Funding: USDA – Western Regional Aquaculture Center (WRAC)