Epidemiology of fish diseases in the Wadden Sea

Möller, H. and Anders, K. (1992) Epidemiology of fish diseases in the Wadden Sea ICES Journal of Marine Science, 49 (2). pp. 199-208. DOI 10.1093/icesjms/49.2.199.

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In 1988 and 1989 the occurrence of external diseases in fish from the German part of the Wadden Sea was quantified. Thirty-two stations, located along seven transects including four estuaries, were sampled monthly or at 3-month intervals with shrimp trawlers: more than 124 000 fish were studied. Six percent of the seven dominant fish species of > 12 cm length were diseased. In fish species which complete their life cycle in the Wadden Sea (gobies, hooknose, eelpout, sea scorpion) the total disease incidence was below 0.4%. In whiting, plaice and sole it was between 0.5 and 2.5%, while 6–8% of smelt, cod, eel, dab and flounder suffered from external lesions. The incidence of most diseases increased with increasing fish length. Similar geographical patterns in prevalence were observed for: (1) two types of skeletal deformities, (2) lymphocystis in dab and flounder, (3) papillomatosis in smelt and dab and (4) several infectious ulcerative diseases. Most of these ulcerative diseases of cod and flounder occurred on central estuarine stations, suggesting an impact of the relatively low, but greatly variable salinity on disease development. Buccal granulomatosis of smelt and papillomatosis of eels showed the highest incidence in the Elbe estuary as the most heavily polluted region of the Wadden Sea. A causal relationship between disease development and pollution, however, is not yet clear and requires experimental evidence. The disease types found are ranked into three priority groups regarding their indicator value for a pollution monitoring on the basis of fish diseases. There is evidence that the total disease load of fish in the Wadden Sea is higher than in other shallow coastal regions outside the North Sea. Little is known of the effects of these diseases on single fish and fish populations. “Yellow pest” of cod, which was recorded for the first time during this survey, and which occurred with an incidence of up to 14% in single estuarine samples, causes the most serious lesions and is supposed to be lethal. In total, however, the effects of a number of pathogenic parasites on fish survival is considered to be more serious than that of deformities and infectious diseases.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Wadden Sea, estuaries, Elbe flounder, dab, smelt, cod, fish diseases, pollution, mortality, monitoring
Research affiliation: OceanRep > Institute for Marine Science Kiel
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1093/icesjms/49.2.199
ISSN: 1054-3139
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2018 14:09
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2018 14:09
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/42292

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