Initiative builds on the Merck Animal Health Care365® platform
MADISON, N.J., March 8, 2019 – Merck Animal Health (known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada) today announced its Aqua Care365® initiative to support fish farmers in their efforts to provide the best quality care for their operations. The program includes a series of employee training modules featuring industry experts; interactive quizzes; standard operating procedures (SOPs) and certificates of completion to document training. All are available at https://www.merck-animal-health-usa.com/aqua-care-365.
“Merck Animal Health is committed to providing the aquaculture industry with best care practices to advance the health and well-being of fish, which contributes to the ongoing success of our customers’ operations,” said Tim Kniffen, D.V.M., M.S., Technical Services Manager, Merck Animal Health. “Covering topics important to fish farming provides valuable information to help reduce stress and prevent diseases, which are essential for a healthy food supply.”
The first educational training module focuses on normal and abnormal salmon behavior and is taught by Jimmy Turnbull, BVM&S, MSc, Ph.D., ILTM, MRCVS, professor at the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling. Turnbull encourages farmers to spend as much time as possible watching fish behavior, both on the surface and underwater, to gain an understanding of their behavior, as it changes day to day, pen to pen and in association with a variety of factors.
“It may take observing fish for an entire production cycle before employees become familiar with the basics,” he says. “Fish typically move in a circular pattern in the pen, but their movement depends on their size, feeding time, light level and the water current,” explains Turnbull. “Being observant on the farm is important. Employees need to be trained so they know when to report abnormal behavior, as it may require immediate intervention for the health of the fish.”
SOPs are included in Aqua Care365 to elevate care protocols. “I encourage farm managers to work alongside their veterinarian when drafting SOPs, as they know how a farm operates and what has been successful on other farms,” says Kniffen. “Well-written SOPs help train new employees and provide a backup when employees are needed to step in to do another’s tasks.”
Merck Animal Health recognizes progressive fish farmers depend on information from experts to minimize disease threats. Future training modules will be developed on the topics of sea pen handling and farm fish examination.
To watch the Aqua Care365 series, visit https://www.merck-animal-health-usa.com/aqua-care-365. Each video lesson is followed by interactive quiz questions to help ensure understanding of the material. A certificate of completion is available to document the training. You also can contact a Merck Animal Health representative or email AquaCare365@merck.com for more information.
About Merck Animal Health
For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. Through its commitment to the Science of Healthier Animals™, Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest range of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, wellbeing and performance of animals. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit www.merck-animal-health-usa.com or connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter at @MerckAH.