Accepted paper:

Biosecurity and aquaculture in Singapore


Delfinn Tan (Nanyang Technological University)

Paper short abstract:

Biomedical knowledge was used to implement biosecurity practises in food farms to limit disease. These practises were applied in Singaporean ornamental koi fish farms. I ask how biosecurity has come to be used with koi and how it has impacted the industry & production of biomedical knowledge.

Paper long abstract:

Biosecurity is a very common word in our modern lexicon, especially on farms. Biosecurity is essentially a system of practices meant to limit the spread and transmission of diseases. However, this system of practices came mainly from the transmission of human diseases, and the application of biosecurity practices to animals meant for food was in order to limit human infection. Biosecurity practices soon became applicable to all animal models, and the term 'biosecurity' was applied to koi, an ornamental fish, though the stake was fish's economic value, not human life. Practices like cleansing and isolation were already common, but when the koi herpes virus became a threat these practices were subsumed within biosecurity. This paper will ask the question of how the term biosecurity has come to be used with koi in the context of Singapore's koi industry, and how this had been implemented and impacted the industry itself, as well as whether koi farms produced biomedical knowledge.

I shall use archival data from the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore and oral histories to answer these questions. Drawing on Andrew Donaldson's work in 2008, I will look at how the state and farmers in Singapore understand and negotiate what the biological is and how they draw boundaries around it, and how they conceptualise the ideas of risk and security. There are hints that biosecurity practices on koi farms might have increased profits, but had a larger, negative impact on the industry as a whole.

panel T047
The field and the farm in the production of biomedical knowledge