UN Food and Agriculture Organization formalizes agreement designating Mississippi State as Reference Center on AMR and Aquaculture Biosecurity

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By Milthon Lujan

by MSU
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is designating Mississippi State University as an FAO Reference Center on AMR and Aquaculture Biosecurity.

The university has a long history of leading expertise in the areas of fisheries and aquaculture and previously has collaborated with the FAO in the areas of antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance (AMU/AMR), as well as aquaculture biosecurity and aquatic animal health.

MSU Provost and Executive Vice President David Shaw said in its role as an FAO Reference Center, MSU has the scientific expertise and capacity to support the FAO’s mission to promote responsible use of antimicrobials in aquaculture to reduce AMR risk.

“MSU also has the needed expertise to support FAO’s goals to promote responsible aquaculture practices and aquaculture biosecurity. We’re pleased to provide scientific and technical advice to FAO on these topics and to support FAO’s capacity development efforts related to responsible antimicrobial use and aquaculture biosecurity internationally,” Shaw said.

Shaw said the newly signed, four-year agreement demonstrates MSU’s global reach and “represents another step in the long-term collaborations between the FAO and MSU to promote development of sustainable aquaculture internationally for advancement of food and nutritional security.”

MSU President Mark E. Keenum has made food security a central focus of his tenure, and the university has increased its partnership work with the FAO over the last decade. In 2014, MSU was recognized by the organization as a Center of Knowledge and member of the Global Aquaculture Advancement Partnership.

MSU Vice President for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine Keith Coble said “This is just one more example of MSU being an international leader in agricultural research.”

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Included in the scope of work as an FAO Reference Center, MSU will work to raise awareness about AMR, support developing capacity for surveillance of AMU, AMR and residues, support strengthening governance related to AMU/AMR and aquaculture biosecurity, promote responsible aquaculture practices and prudent use of antimicrobials, among other activities.

MSU also is home of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Fish funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative to reduce poverty and improve health outcomes for global populations dependent on aquaculture- and fisheries-led economies. MSU leads the lab through its Global Center for Aquatic Food Security, directed by Mark Lawrence, a professor in MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Allison Matthews

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