Centre for Aquaculture and Veterinary Science

 

The Centre for Aquaculture and Veterinary Science (CAVS) is a one-stop solution provider for training, service and research to meet the needs of the aquaculture, pet, biomedical and veterinary sectors.

The facilities housed within CAVS include:

  • TP Animal Clinic
  • Animal Wellness Facility
  • Veterinary Diagnostic Facility including in vitro laboratories
  • Specific Pathogen Free Laboratory Animal Facility

CAVS provides continuous learning courses for individuals under the SkillsFuture Programme.

 

AQUACULTURE

AVA has set a target of 15 percent of all the fish we consume to be produced locally. Our local fish farming industry faces significant challenges in the limited land and sea space available, as well as a shortage of local manpower. Singapore is also the leading ornamental fish import / export country, with many farms developing new varieties through breeding. In order to be more productive and competitive, local fish farms are now more receptive to using science and technology in their production and farming practices. TP recognises the need to support the local aquaculture industry and contribute to the national initiative of optimising local production as well as providing competent aquaculture technicians for the local aquaculture industry.

 

PET AND VETERINARY INDUSTRIES

According to pet statistics in Singapore, the total number of pets increased from 816 115 in 2014 to 824 600 in 2016, with the number of canine pets increasing from 47 000 in 2006 to 62 000 in 2015. Cats as pets also showed an increase from 47 900 in 2010 to 51 500 in 2016. The value of the pet-care market has also seen an increase from $117 m in 2015 to $119.2 m in 2016 (ST, 24 March 2016).

With growing affluence and changing lifestyles, the increasing number of companion and small pocket animals kept as pets has led to the growing number of licensed vet clinics from 53 in 2011 to 79 as of May 2016.  TP is the first polytechnic to offer training of students under the Diploma in Veterinary Technology since 2007.  Skills-oriented training in veterinary support, services and care as well as clinical laboratory skills has also been done in partnership with Mount Pleasant Veterinary Group Pte Ltd since 2013.

 

BIOMEDICAL INDUSTRY

With Singapore’s aim to become the leading international biomedical sciences cluster in Asia, the government has committed to pump $19 billion in support of research, innovation and enterprise activities from now till 2020.  About 21% of the funding or $4 billion will go to the health and biomedical sciences sector. One of the areas of focus is to look into increasing survival and recovery from common dreaded diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In view of the translational biomedical research, there is a dependence on developing animal models for studies in disease mechanism and treatment. There are 28 licensed animal facilities reported in 2012 and the number may increase due to a need for translational biomedical research to address the healthcare needs of the growing and ageing population with prevalent chronic diseases.

TARGET INDUSTRIES

CAVS’ target industries are:

  • pet industry
  • biomedical
  • veterinary
  • aquaculture in the areas of:

-feed and feed additive manufacturing
-functional feed and product development
-urban intensive aquaculture farming
-disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention
-hatchery, larviculture and grow-out
-foodfish and crustacean aquaculture farms

 

MAIN CHALLENGES FACED BY FISH FARMS

Currently, the main concern faced by the farms is the plankton blooms which seem to be increasing in frequency due to changing weather and water conditions. TP conducted a training course entitled Farm Contingency Planning for 72 farmers who were hit by plankton blooms last Feb.

We have been devoting time and effort in creating a solutions centre for aquaculture. We are engaged in on-going research on feeds and formulations for better growth performance, development of on-site diagnostic kits for health monitoring and disease detection, as well as research on water technology and waste water treatment, to name a few.

 

CAVS’ AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Other than veterinary diagnosis and diagnostic development, one of the Centre’s areas of expertise is in aquaculture. The main areas of research and services include aquaculture nutrition, health management including disease detection, treatment and prevention, species growth, development and selective breeding as well as intensive farming. With increasing interest in land-based farming, our multidisciplinary research team also looks into developing cost-effective and eco-friendly ways of sustainable aquaculture especially in land-scarce Singapore.

The Centre provides an innovative and multidisciplinary approach in aquaculture from farm to fork, with key service offerings in:

  • development and optimisation of live feeds
  • development of customised nutrition for different phases of species growth and development
  • development of feed formulations and functional feeds
  • development of vaccine and treatment methodologies
  • development of breeding and larviculture protocols for fish, crustaceans and molluscs
  • efficacy studies of feed formulations, feed additives and supplements using fish and crustacean models
  • health screening and diagnostic testing of disease agents in water, fish and crustacean samples
  • consultancy services and training in aquaculture technology for farm management

 

HOW CAVS WILL SUPPORT INDUSTRY

The Centre is the first of its kind in Singapore that is built with the following in mind:

  • Purpose for meeting the needs of the industry - quality solution and service provider
  • People training for the industry – industry-ready workforce with relevant skills-based training and future skills
  • Process  development for industry services - quality processes in place for services and product development by trained personnel

 

INDUSTRY COLLABORATIONS

We have signed an MOU with AVA in March 2015 to collaborate in research and training for the aquaculture industry. An example of such a collaboration was to conduct training to prepare about 72 farms for contingency planning to manage plankton blooms which are occurring more frequently. TP and AVA are also working with SPRING to assist farms in a proposed capability development plan which includes training and securing core farm equipment for managing plankton blooms. An agreement with MSD Animal Health Innovation Pte Ltd to perform pathogen detection in fish samples from both local and overseas farms has also been signed.

These collaborations are part of our Surge Research & Education (SuRE) Programme initiated in  2014 to inculcate the surge mindset throughout the school. Under this programme, road maps have been set up to build capabilities in rapid detection of veterinary pathogens. Staff and students are also being trained to respond swiftly to threats coming through veterinary sources. The aim is to have a ready and deployable team, to help in environmental surveillance, and be able to support diagnostics, identification and mitigation of a biological threat when an emergency arises. We are in the midst of strengthening our capability, and working with established surge organisations, local and overseas, to acquire protocols and methods.

 

Guest-of-Honour Dr Koh Poh Koon, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development & Ministry of Trade and Industry, at the inauguration ceremony of the Centre for Aquaculture and Veterinary Science.

 

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