Mythbusters: What's Real and What's Not When It Comes to Using Fish Drugs

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 10:20 AM
Marriott Ballroom A (The Marriott Little Rock)
Jim Bowker , Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership Program, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bozeman, MT
Successful fish culture programs take a comprehensive approach to disease management, broodstock conditioning and spawning, marking progeny, and reducing handling stress.  Occasionally, drugs are needed to facilitate these tasks, and the only drugs legally available for use are those that have been approved for such use by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  A lack of understanding of the approval process and the realities of how these products are actually used in fish culture has led to unfounded concerns regarding potential human health issues, unsafe drug residue levels in fish stocked into public waters, and discharge of elevated concentrations of drugs in hatchery effluents. 

The rigorous drug approval process requires extensive data to demonstrate that a drug is safe and effective for fish, as well as safe to humans and the environment, manufactured and packaged properly, and labeled to avoid misuse.  It is incumbent upon fisheries professionals to use approved drugs judiciously.  However, the rigors of the approval process assume a naive user—if inexperienced personnel can be expected to apply these products successfully, experienced fisheries professionals certainly can.  This presentation will address concerns regarding drug use in fish culture from a fishery biologist’s perspective.