Alex Pargana talked about the success of the CPD course at the recent Fish Vet Society conference at Uphall, near Edinburgh. Photo: FFE.

Industry offered more training after university’s short-course success

Stirling University’s Institute of Aquaculture (IoA) is to expand provision of training days for industry after the huge success of a short course in fish health and welfare.

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The two-day continuing professional development (CPD) course was announced in May last year and has been fully subscribed every time it has been run. The fifth edition is being held this week.

The previous editions of the course have attracted attendees from New Zealand, Nigeria and the US as well as those from the UK, and from research institutions, regulatory agencies and the retail sector.

Disease prevention

Alex Pargana, a member of the IoA’s main veterinarian team and co-ordinator of the course, said two advanced courses were now being planned this year for people who wanted more in-depth knowledge about certain aspects of the fish health course.

A course in vaccination and disease prevention will be held in the summer and one on cleaner fish husbandry and health will take place in the last quarter of 2019.

He has even bigger plans for next year, with up to six advanced courses as well as five or six editions of the ‘core’ fish health and welfare course.

“The advanced courses will be much more detailed and with a much smaller scope, just focusing on specific subjects,” said Pargana.

Request from industry

“We are still working on the full schedule for each of these courses [for this year], and we are still liaising with some of the invited speakers from outside the Institute. We always try to have of speakers from within the university but also from the industry.

“These two subjects and others we have planned for 2020 have been chosen because this is what we have been receiving as feedback, as requests from our delegates. Every time we ran the core course, we asked people what they would find useful and what they would like to add to their training, and we got a lot of demand for cleaner fish and for disease prevention.”

Pargana said there was also a demand for more teaching about haematology. “There is an increasing interest by the industry on using blood biochemistry and other haematology techniques for the health status of the fish in farms, so that’s one of the courses that we are also developing, but that’s for next year.”

Greater detail

He said there would also be advanced courses in 2020 on health of salmonids in freshwater and seawater next year, looking in greater detail at aspects of histology, diseases, pathogens, treatment strategies and diagnosis.

Another will focus on welfare, including legislation in the UK and Europe, industry standards and practices, and certification schemes and the drivers for the improvement of welfare.

“All of these advanced courses are going to be either one day long or a maximum of two days,” said Pargana. “But we’re aiming for one day.”

There will also be fewer delegates than on the core course, which has about 12. It will be a prerequisite that delegates have attended the core course.

Pargana said the IoA’s current system allowed for the training of around 60 people per year on the core course, and he was not concerned about demand slowing down.

“It’s 50 to 60 people a year in an industry of several thousand people – there’s still plenty of training opportunities,” he said.