Scale Drop Disease Virus Attacks Sea Bass Farming in Singapore

A deadly fish virus put a halt on sea bass farming in Singapore, amidst the boosting of local seafood production.

Sea bass farming in Singapore faces a tough ordeal following an outbreak due to a destructive fish virus called scale drop disease virus (SDDV).

Due to the fish virus known as scale drop disease virus (SDDV), Barramundi Group has to cease its sea bass farming in Singapore’s southern waters. It’s an ironic situation because the country is making an effort to increase its local seafood production by 30% of this year’s nutritional requirement. The Singapore Food Agency, on the other hand, is seeking more potential areas in its southern waters for aquaculture.

What is Scale Drop Disease Virus?

Scale drop disease virus is a double-stranded DNA virus causing scale loss, tail erosion, fin rot and death rates as high as 50%. It affects the fish’s various internal organs, leading to kidney and spleen necrosis and systemic inflammation. Research also found it in the infected fish’s mucus and fin clips. It means the virus is transmissible from animal to animal through water.

This harmful fish virus occurs naturally in Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asian waters. It can eradicate over half a pen of barramundi (Lates calcarifer)or the so-called salmon of the tropics. The fish also comes in different names, such as whiting, Asian sea bass, bream, and giant sea perch.

Ceasing Sea Bass Farming in Singapore

The fish virus outbreak is alarming, forcing the Barramundi Group to stop its sea bass farming in Singapore. It created considerable mortalities and financial damages of $31.9 million last year. In the meantime, Brunei will be its base fish production where the Group will also process them and ship them to Singapore and international markets.

“Our Singapore operations will continue to focus on aqua-tech capabilities such as vaccine and therapeutics development, veterinary and animal health, broodstock
(fish used for breeding purposes) research and development, and the supply of high-quality fry and fingerlings,” said the company spokesperson.

However, its sea bass farming off Pulau Senang, John’s Island, and Pulau Semakau will stop operating until a potent vaccine is accessible, for animal welfare and ethical causes. According to Temasek Polytechnic’s Aquaculture Innovation Centre lead scientist Saravanan Padmanabhan, infected but asymptomatic fish is safe to eat provided the scales are removed and the meat cooked evenly.

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