Farm visits

Farms have different types of contract, large units have full support on monthly contract.

For the majority of units we make an annual visit to review the farm biosecurity / health plan, this covers health history and information on any ongoing problems through the year. Samples can be taken as appropriate. At the same visit we carry out formal annual compliance visits to check drug related paperwork, look at mixing areas and drug storage. This visit will also encompass a basic welfare assessment. An annual record is produced for compliance with QTUK.

As part of this annual contract we expect clients to authorise others visiting the farm to keep the practice appraised of any findings related to health and welfare.

All clients are encouraged to contact us with any fish health or welfare issues, Peters mobile phone is never switched off (although in important meetings it is switched to silent) and emails are forwarded to his iphone.

Site Info

We need the farm address, names and contact numbers of key staff.
CEFAS registration number and map reference.
Details of who is actually going to take day to day responsibility for the plan.
A farm plan with numbered ponds etc and an aerial photograph is useful (Google earth is very handy for these)

Basic system

A short summary of the farming 'plan' is helpful.

Where and when do eggs or fry come from.

Where do they go on site and how long before they are graded, split etc.

How long in the various sectors of the farm.

River and borehole temperature ranges etc.

HACCP

Think through the sourcing and production processes - where are the potential problem areas.
Look at supply, transport, site visitors, upstream, wild birds.
How do you disinfect vehicles, nets, boots etc.
How far into the site do visitors get access.

Records

What records do you keep, you MUST keep full records of medications, batch numbers, mixing dates etc.
You are now required to record mortalities, so along with stocking dates, feed records etc the whole process of production should be available.
This then can provide the necessary data for assessing the effects of change.

Problems

Just think through any problems that you have had routinely, or occasionally.
What do you anticipate and what actions do you take to avoid them?

Medications

What medications are in use, we will have full details of prescription medications but what else do you use.
What is your mixing number, what facilities have you set aside for storage of drugs, mixing, and crucially for recording usage and tracking withdrawal periods.
What is your vaccination policy, when and how do you do this?

Planning

Here we are looking for measurable such as growth rates, food conversion rates, mortality records, water quality changes.
The maxim is 'if you can't measure it, you can't manage it'

Section 30 health checks

Before fish can be consented for introduction into a mandatory site (where water can flow from one body of water to another, or is in the floodplain) under Section 30, a sample of those fish must pass a mandatory health check. The fish examined for these health checks must be representative of the fish to be stocked. This means that there are rules for the number, size and species of fish to be examined for a health check.

The rules are based on evidence that:
• we need to examine a certain number of fish to have an acceptable chance of detecting an infection of Category 2 or novel parasites;
• some parasites are specific to the species of fish they will infect;
• some parasites are specific to the size of fish they prefer to infect.

Currently we only offer this service for salmonid producers having annual checks. We require the fish brought live to our laboratory, the test takes twice as long (and so costs more) when done on site, the EA require the test to start within 15 minutes of death of the fish.

For each site to be checked
• 30 fish sample
• Minimum of 10 per species to be moved, eg.15 rainbow trout + 15 brown trout
of these, then
• Trout are considered a ‘small species’ and so in addition to fry (<5cm fork length) two size ranges are recognised - above and below 15cm fork length. For the size of fish to be moved a minimum of 5 fish must be checked , so 7 fish can be < 15cm and 8 > 15cm of which a minimum of 5 must be of stock size

The lab setup and some common parasites looked for during the check are shown in the
parasite gallery

Drug log template

The type of information you should be recording is shown below. Log each new batch of drug supplied, each usage from the stock and the amount remaining. If any runs out of date then it needs to be returned to the supplier of the drug for disposal. Batch numbers should be recorded. This includes vaccines.

Note that drugs being used in feed on fish farms should also have a mixing authorisation sheet, this needs renewing every 3 months if a stock is held.