Farmers should be vigilant to avoid introducing pests and diseases to both their own farm and other sites. Pests can lower product quality, kill animals, and have negative environmental consequences.




In aquaculture, biosecurity means taking precautions to prevent:

  1. The introduction of new pests and pathogens that are not already present at a farm.
  2. Outbreaks of pests and pathogens that are already present.
  3. The transmission from one farm to another area where pests or pathogens are not already present.

Pests and pathogens can directly impact profit by reducing product quality and increasing mortalities. A low-quality product will bring a low price (if it can be sold at all). Higher mortality rates mean fewer pounds/number of product to sell. As a responsible business owner and community member, it's important to prevent the introduction of any pests or pathogens to new areas.

It depends. Some are quite ubiquitous while others are river or bay specific.

Simple, don’t move product or gear from your farm to another area without first checking with the Maine Department of Marine Resources Aquaculture Division scientific staff.

A plan for preventing the introduction of new pests and pathogens to your farm as well as managing ones already present to reduce the negative effects on your crops. An effective biosecurity plan requires understanding what pests and pathogens are already present so you can take measures to minimize negative impacts and avoid spreading them.

To test for microscopic pests that cannot be seen with the naked eye, contact Maine Department of Marine Resources Aquaculture Division scientific staff and/or a professional diagnostic testing lab such as Kennebec River Biosciences. Otherwise, be observant. Look for and write down which biofouling organisms are present and when, allowing you to manage your farm to minimize negative impacts.

You will need to determine the best course of treatment specific to the pest you are dealing with. Common treatments for common oyster pathogens are air exposure, salt brines, freshwater dips, and temporary storage in industrial refrigerator. Professional diagnostic labs can provide specific recommendations for managing pathogens that are already present at your site. Purchase disease resistant seed if applicable.

Contact a professional marine diagnostic laboratory, such as Kennebec River Biosciences, who can help determine if you have an infection. They will advise you on what kinds of data to collect and help determine what next steps you should take to collect a proper sample.


In Maine, common oyster pathogens include: Dermo (Perkinsus marinus), MSX (Haplosporidium nelsoni), SSO (Haplosporidium costale), and ROD (Roseovarius crassostreae), previously known as JOD (Juvenile Oyster Disease); as well as an array of warm weather biofouling organisms and barnacles.


In Maine, common mussel pests include pea crabs and trematodes.


In Maine, common kelp pests include algal epiphytes and endophytes.

Biosecurity Resources