The key feature to note: if the program is accessed during the first year, and a brief pre-survey is completed, you can take the course for FREE!
What Makes Fish Happy?
Release Date: Nov. 9, 2011
MADISON – Fish farmers and pond owners in Wisconsin and elsewhere can take low-cost online courses in fish health in what aquaculture veterinarian Dr. Myron Kebus says is the first effort of its kind in the nation.
“We fully expect this is going to take off and create interest throughout the country, because there’s nothing comparable to it,” says Kebus, who heads up the aquaculture program at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Kebus developed the courses along with Dr. Chris Hartleb, a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point professor and co-director of the Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility, and Dr. Jeannette McDonald, director of the Technology for Learning Center in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.
The courses arose out of a similar series that Kebus and University colleagues developed for veterinarians. “When we presented those courses to fish farmers, they wanted to take them, so we developed a version for them,” Kebus says. “Even producers in other states have been asking when this is going to be ready.”
The veterinary courses, now completed by more than 250 veterinarians from 40 states and half a dozen nations, train veterinarians to do fish health assessments. Such assessments have become increasingly important to prevent transmission of diseases like viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, to fish farms. Wisconsin requires the fish health assessments to move fish to other states and sometimes within the state. Veterinarians elsewhere take them just for the information that is unavailable elsewhere.
Six courses (Fish Health for Producers) are available at VetMedCE.org: (UW School of Veterinary Medicine)
Courses are $10 each, or $50 for all six. For the first year, those who sign up and complete a survey can take the courses for free. Continuing education credits are available. Signing up for an account on the website is free.
The courses cover how water quality affects fish health, how to prevent disease introduction, what to look for when buying fish, and how to balance oxygen, ammonia, and pH levels. Even pond owners who keep fish only for their own use can benefit, Kebus says.
“We feel there’s a demand for it, because throughout the country fish farmers have fish health work done on their farms, but they struggle to understand some aspects of it. This will help them understand and use the results of water quality and fish health testing to improve their bottom lines,” Kebus said.
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