The misuse of antibiotics and the emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a concern in the aquaculture industry because it contributes to global health risks and impacts the environment. This study analyzed the AMR of sentinel bacteria associated with striped catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) and giant snakehead (Channa micropeltes), the two main fish species reared in the pond culture in Cambodia. Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of the recovered isolates from fish, water, and sediment revealed the presence of bacteria, such as 22 species belonging to families Aeromonadaceae, Enterobacteriaceae, and Pseudomonadaceae. Among 48 isolates, Aeromonas caviae (n = 2), Aeromonas hydrophila (n = 2), Aeromonas ichthiosmia (n = 1), and Aeromonas salmonicida (n = 4) were detected. Both A. salmonicida and A. hydrophila are known as fish pathogens that occur worldwide in both fresh and marine water aquaculture. Antibiotic susceptibility testing for Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonadaceae species and six antibiotics for Aeromonadaceae species revealed antibiotic resistance patterns of 24 (50%) isolates among the 48 isolates with higher multiple antibiotic resistance index scores (>0.2). All the isolates of Enterobacteriaceae were susceptible to ciprofloxacin. Ciprofloxacin is a frontline antibiotic that is not recommended for use in aquaculture. This study expands our knowledge of the AMR status in aquaculture farms, which is very limited in Cambodia.

  • Antibiotic resistance was found in enteric bacteria and Aeromonas spp. isolated from some Cambodian fish farms.

  • Some isolates were resistant to more than one antibiotic.

  • More extensive studies are required to ascertain the risks of antimicrobial resistance to Cambodian aquaculture and consumers.

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