Townsville may have developed a new hand-held device to reduce the massive stock losses at fish farms. Giana Gomes, a scientist at the James Cook University, says that 40 percent loss of production on fish farms are caused by diseases and parasites. She is developing the gadget as part of her doctorate.
While approved chemicals are available to help remove the tick and flea-type parasites, Justin Forrester of the Coral Coast Barramundi explains that samples are required to be sent to Brisbane for diagnosis. This process alone costs tens of thousands of dollars each year.
By using a portable device similar to a smartphone, Gomes says that the genetic makeup of the parasite will be quickly recorded and compared. Detection of diseases will be quicker, thus preventing high death rates at fish farms. This replaces the current process of lab testing, which usually takes days or weeks.
Gomes, and her study, was awarded with 2016 Science and Innovation Award at the university’s Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture.