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Open Access Research

Use of black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus) in biological control of intermediate host snails of fish-borne zoonotic trematodes in nursery ponds in the Red River Delta, Vietnam

Nguyen M Hung1, Nguyen V Duc1, Jay R Stauffer2 and Henry Madsen3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Parasitology, Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, 18 Hoang Quoc Viet, Hanoi, Vietnam

2 Ecosystem Science and Management, Pennsylvania State University, 432 Forest Resources Building, University Park, PA 16802-4300, USA

3 Centre for Health Research and Development, Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Thorvaldsensvej 57, Frederiksberg C 1871, Denmark

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Parasites & Vectors 2013, 6:142  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-6-142

Published: 16 May 2013

Abstract

Background

The risks of fish-borne zoonotic trematodes (FZT) to human health constitute an important problem in Vietnam. The infection of humans with these trematodes, such as small liver trematodes (Clonorchis sinensis and Opisthorchis viverrini), intestinal trematodes (Heterophyidae) and others is often thought to be linked to fish culture in areas where the habit of eating raw fish is common. Juvenile fish produced in nurseries are often heavily infected with FZT and since fishes are sold to aquaculture facilities for growth, control of FZT in these fishes should be given priority. Controlling the first intermediate host (i.e., freshwater gastropods), would be an attractive approach, if feasible. The black carp, Mylopharyngodon piceus, is a well-known predator of freshwater snails and is already used successfully for biological control of snails in various parts of the world including Vietnam. Here we report the first trials using it for biological control of intermediate host snails in nursery ponds stocked with 1-week old fry (10–12 mm in length) of Indian carp, Labeo rohita.

Methods

Semi-field and field experiments were set up to test the effect of black carp on snail populations. In the semi-field experiment a known quantity of snails was initially introduced into a pond which was subsequently stocked with black carp. In the field trial in nursery ponds, density of snails was estimated prior to a nursing cycle and at the end of the cycle (after 9 weeks).

Results

The results showed that black carp affect the density of snail populations in both semi-field and field conditions. The standing crop of snails in nursery ponds, however, was too high for 2 specimens to greatly reduce snail density within the relatively short nursing cycle.

Conclusions

We conclude that the black carp can be used in nursery ponds in Northern Vietnam for snail control. Juvenile black carp weighing 100 - 200g should be used because this size primarily prey on intermediate hosts of FZT and other studies have shown that it does not prey on fish fry of other species. It may be necessary to use a high stocking density of black carp or to reduce snail density in the nursery ponds using other measures (e.g. mud removal) prior to stocking fry in order for the black carp to keep the density of intermediate host snails at a very low level.

Keywords:
Molluscivore fish; Clonorchis sinensis; Intestinal trematodes; Transmission; Aquaculture