We just really loved this study. Basically aquaculture being used to make farmers more money while providing a sustainable food source, while having a major impact mitigating the risk of one of the deadliest water borne parasites. Let’s see more win/win/win research like this!
Overview of the Study
Schistosomiasis is one of the deadliest parasitic diseases in the world. In fact, only malaria kills more people per year.
This study wanted to look at the impact of when freshwater prawns (Macrobrachium Rosengergii) were raised in waterways where the parasite was present. The researchers at University of California, Berkeley theorized that because these shrimp like to eat the snails that carry the parasite, would purposefully raising them in aquaculture systems have an impact on the snail population and thus, the population of the parasite.
What the Study Found
The results showed that farming freshwater prawns at commercial densities had a significant impact on the number of snails and thus the presence of the parasite. In fact, the researchers estimated that the prawns were equally effective as the drug treatments into the water. While the drug treatments cost money, aquaculture generates revenue.
“Our results show that there are highly beneficial configurations of prawn aquaculture systems that minimize tradeoffs between generating revenue from harvesting prawns and reducing schistosomiasis transmission,” says doctoral student and study leader Christopher Hoover. “We can design systems to maximize profit while having a substantial impact on disease reduction, potentially helping to lift populations out of poverty in emerging and developing economies.”
Potential Impact for the Industry
We are encouraged by this kind of creativity looking at ways that aquaculture can coexist with the environment in mutually beneficial ways. If there are other studies we should checkout, please send them to us!