Aquaculture Europe 2023

September 18 - 21, 2023


Add To Calendar 21/09/2023 09:15:0021/09/2023 09:30:00Europe/ViennaAquaculture Europe 2023ESTIMATING THE POTENTIAL DIRECT COSTS OF TWO IMPORTANT DISEASE OUTBREAKS AND THEIR ECONOMIC IMPACT IN GROW-OUT FARMS OF EUROPEAN SEA BASSSchubert 4The European Aquaculture Societywebmaster@aquaeas.orgfalseDD/MM/YYYYaaVZHLXMfzTRLzDrHmAi181982


José L. Fernández Sáncheza, B. Basurcob, A. Le Bretonc, Edgar Brund, Niccolò Vendramine, Georgios Spiliopoulosf and Dolors Furonesg


 a  Department of Business Administration, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander, Spain.

b Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (CIHEAM Zaragoza), Zaragoza, Spain.

c Vet’eau, Grenade sur Garonne, France.

d Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Oslo, Norway.

e National Institute of Aquatic Resources (DTU Aqua), Lyngby, Denmark.

f Kefalonia Fisheries S.A., Athens, Greece.

g  Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA Sant Carles de la Ràpita), Tarragona, Spain.




 Infectious diseases represent a bottleneck for the sustainable development of the aquaculture industry. They are associated with an increase of mortality, a feed conversion worsening, and a decline in animal welfare, hampering the farms’ production and their economic viability (Lama et al., 2020). Understanding the economic impact they may have is pivotal for a proper investment on health management measures. One of the most important infectious diseases in Mediterranean aquaculture is viral encephalopathy and retinopathy (VER), previously described as viral nervous necrosis (VNN). The causative agent of this disease is the nervous necrosis virus or betanodavirus (Bellance and Gallet de Saint-Aurin , 1988; Glazebrook et al, 1990; Breuil et al., 1991). Due to its virulence and rapid spreading, VER outbreaks are associated with growth reduction and high mortality of fish, affecting mostly juveniles (Vendramin et al., 2016; Lama et al., 2020; Muniesa et al., 2020). In addition, the infections of bacterial disease vibriosis, photobacteriosis and tenacibaculum spp. are  also considered among the most important diseases for European sea bass (Zrncic and Pavlinec, 2020).

 The aim of this work is to evaluate the direct costs of a nodavirus and vibriosis outbreak as well as their economic impact on a typical Mediterranean grow-out farm culturing European sea bass  of 450g with two different sizes according to the biomass produced :  small  farm (540 tons/year) and large  farm (2,250 tons/year ). For it, we have employed a deterministic static model proposed by Fernández Sánchez et al. (2022) as well as the economic framework proposed by McInerney et al. (1992) to evaluate the direct costs caused by these disease outbreaks (see Table 2) and their economic impact on the annual income statement of the farms (see Table 3). Our estimations show  that the higher is the mortality and as the larger is the farm, the larger are the direct cost of a disease outbreak. However, the economic impact on the net operating profit is significantly worse in smaller farms, which points out the importance of investing on disease prevention and control in small scale aquaculture. Finally, we have included an estimation with the improvement of the net operating profit depending on  different reductions in the disease mortality (see Table 4) to facilitate a future break-even analysis of different decisions related to the implementation of vaccination, treatments, or health management in these farms.


Bellance , R., Gallet de Saint-Aurin , D., 1988. L’encephalite virale du loup de mer . Caraibes Medical, 105–114.

Breuil , G., Bonami , J.R., Pepin, J.F., Pichot, Y., 1991. Viral infection (picorna -like virus) associated with mass mortalities in hatchery-reared sea-bass (Dicentrarchus labrax ) larvae and juveniles. Aquaculture 97, 109–116.

 Fernández Sánchez, J.L., Llorente, I., Basurco , B., Aguilera, C. (2022).  Assessing the economic impact of key operational factor son grow-out farms producing European sea bass under different scenarios of production. Aquaculture Economics & Management, 26(2), 232-250.

Glazebrook , J.S., Heasman, M.P., de Beer, S.W., 1990. Picorna -like viral particles associated with mass mortalities in larval barramundi, Lates calcarifer Bloch.  J. Fish Dis. 13, 245–249.

 Lama, R., Pereiro, P., Valenzuela-Muñoz, V., Gallardo-Escárate , C., Tort , L., Figueras, A., Novoa, B., 2020. RNA-Seq analysis of European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax L.) infected with nodavirus reveals powerful modulation of the stress response. Vet. Res. 51 (64), 1–22.

McInerney , J.P., Howe, K.S., Schepers, J.A., 1992. A framework for the economic analysis of disease in farm livestock. Prev. Vet. Med. 13, 137–154.

Muniesa , A., Basurco , B., Aguilera, C., Furones , D., Reverté , C., Sanjuan-Vilaplana , A., Jansen, M.D., Brun, E., Tavornpanich , S., 2020. Mapping the knowledge of the main diseases affecting sea bass and sea bream in Mediterranean. Transbound Emerg . Dis. 67, 1089-1100.

Vendramin , N., Zrncic , S., Padrós , F., Oraic , D., Le Breton, A., Zarza , C., Olesen, N.J., 2016. Fish health in Mediterranean Aquaculture, past mistakes and future challenges.  Bull. Eur. Assoc. Fish Pathol . 36 (1), 38–45.

Zrnčić , S., Pavlinec , Ž., 2020. Introduction to bacterial diseases, in: Zrncic , S. (Ed.), Diagnostic Manual for the main pathogens in European seabass and Gilthead seabream aquaculture, Options Méditerranéennes Série B, Etudes et Recherches n. 75, CIHEAM, Zaragoza, pp. 63-66.

Acknowledgements :  This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 727315 (MedAID).