Veterinary medicines including antibiotics, parasiticides or medical disinfectants are used in aquaculture production to treat and prevent disease outbreaks. After use in aquaculture facilities, veterinary medicines can enter the surrounding aquatic environment and may pose a major toxicological hazard for non-target aquatic organisms exposed to residual concentrations. This thesis studies the environmental risks posed by the use of veterinary medicines in Asian aquaculture, which hosts 90% of the global aquaculture production.
For this thesis, new modelling tools have been developed and used in combination with environmental monitoring research to assess the environmental fate and effects of aquaculture medicines.
Important source of environmental contamination
This thesis demonstrates that (1) intensive aquaculture production constitutes an important source of environmental contamination with veterinary medicines in Asia, (2) parasiticide treatments generally pose the greatest toxicological hazard, and (3) aquaculture antibiotics tend to accumulate in freshwater sediments, posing a risk for microbial communities and inducing the development of antibiotic resistance.