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Scientists put skin, gut and gill health on the agenda. In September 2019, the first symposium on mucosal health in aquaculture will kick off in Oslo.

Mucosal health is the health of the fish’s barrier tissues such as skin, gills and intestines (which have mucus, or slime). These tissues are an effective first line of defence against pathogens, and are important indicators for how the fish thrive in the farming environment.

“There is an increased attention on the study of mucosal health. Before only fish immunologists were talking about mucosal immunity, now aquaculture people, in general, are interested in mucosal health. The discussion has been broadened from a fundamental aspect to an applied health focus”, says Carlo C. Lazado, fish health scientist in Nofima, who took initiative to the symposium.

There is already an increasing evidence that mucosal health can significantly impact the overall health of the fish. Since the mucosal tissues are in close contact with outside environment, they can serve as a sensor on what is happening outside. As well as providing information on the fish, they provide info on the environment, based on the response of the fish.

The sessions on the new symposium have been designed to target both basic research and applied aspects. The sessions are on mucosal structures and functions, mucosal health and nutrition, mucosal microbiome and mucosal health and the changing environment.

It targets researchers, industry, fish health biologists, feed producers, and in general farming industry such as people developing treatment equipment and production systems.

The symposium aims at providing a platform to present and discuss the state-of-the-art of mucosal health research in various farmed aquatic species.

“Scientists from Scotland, Spain and Norway are in the scientific committee and plenary speakers are from USA, Sweden and Norway, so we want to make this relevant across species and across countries”, says Lazado.

“Mucosal Health in Aquaculture 2019 (MHA2019) will be the first of its kind and my wish is that it will initiate a unique global network dedicated to advance mucosal health research in aquaculture”, says Lazado.

Director of Nofimas aquaculture division, Bente Torstensen, thinks it is good timing for a symposium on mucosal health in aquaculture in 2019:

“The scientists in Nofima have worked with this topic internationally over time, and it turns out to be highly relevant across so many disciplines, such as feed, aquatic environment, fish health and welfare. We hope this symposium will be a success that can be repeated”, says Torstensen.

MHA2019 has received support from the Research Council of Norway. Deadline for handing in of abstracts is 01.06.19.

See the official website of the symposium, for continuous updated information: https://mucohealthaqua.com/