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Normal Topic Serious new fish pathogen found (Read 7712 times)
Kiwiken
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Serious new fish pathogen found
Oct 8th, 2011 at 10:50pm
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A serious fish pathogen that causes fatal infections in trout and salmon worldwide, and which has never been found in NZ before, has been indentified in Southland.

This has the potential to be a far greater threat to fish than Didymo. Yet there has been no Biosecurity alert initiated, and Fish & Game "remain hopeful that it won't affect trout" purely on the basis that they haven't seen any dead salmonoid fish yet! What the hell is going on in this country?

According to F&G Southland, "Hopefully it will not affect the trout population"! A bit like 'hopefully its only hydrolic oil leaking from a ship stuck on a reef on top of one of our most fertile fishing grounds'. Do I not remember a similar reaction when Didymo was first discovered?

See:
News: Otago, South Island, New Zealand www.odt.co.nz Despite fears a bacterial infection affecting lampreys in the Mataura River could become like "didymo, but worse" fishing authorities are hopeful it will not affect the river's world-renowned trout fishery...
and:
This organism has been known as a salmonid pathogen for over 100 years. Where did it come from and why isn't F&G concerned?
[http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/5752063/Bacteria-pose-threat-to-fishKanakana]| Bacteria A Threat To Fish In Southland's...|[/url]Stuff.co.nz
www.stuff.co.nz
Bacteria previously unseen in New Zealand has killed kanakana in the Mataura River and have the potential to spread to trout and salmon.

About the disease:
http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/research/divisions/reutd/fhm/aero2.cfm

Angry
  
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Mike H
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Re: Serious new fish pathogen found
Reply #1 - Oct 10th, 2011 at 7:38am
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Kiwiken, pretty sure testing in overseas laboratories has found that it does not affect brown or rainbow trout.

What do you propose as a biosecurity measure?

I'm on the F & G Council down here so would be interested in your thoughts before our meeting on Thursday.
  
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Re: Serious new fish pathogen found
Reply #2 - Oct 11th, 2011 at 12:34am
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Kiwiken
I like your enthusiasm about this bacteria but how the heck do you stop this when it comes in with a fish that swims all round the world before it enters freshwater, not like you can stop them...... There are thousands if not millions of them running up the river over a 6 week period. The potential effect is serious if it does indeed proves to be a strain that effects salmoniods but river users should practise check clean and drying your gear before changing waterways as a matter of course. No point blaming F&G.....
  
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Re: Serious new fish pathogen found
Reply #3 - Oct 11th, 2011 at 7:36pm
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Hi Guys,
Thanks for the comments. Here is what little I know about this pathogen. It has been recorded overseas as infecting trout, salmon, perch and other species for the last 100 years. It hits browns a bit heavier than rainbows. It's severety is strain dependent, but the fact that it;s killing native fish should give cause for concern.

It's a Gram-negative bacteria that produces a range of symptoms everywhere from a subclinical carrier state to fullblown organ destruction. Once in a population it is likely to be carried by individuals until the population is stressed (pollution, high temperatures, spawning, etc) when you are likely to see full-blown disease outbreaks and fish death. It is just another disease that picks away at fish health and abundance.

Overseas it is associated with fish farms where it can produce mortality, and tends to infect wild populations through contaminated fish or fish products. Being a bacterial disease, fish farmers can vaccinate against it. Wild populations don't have that luxury of course.

This is not about trying to blame anyone (yet!) But this disease has never been identified in NZ before, which begs the question - where the heck did it come from, and how? I guess there are two schools of thought operating over biosecurity incursions like this one.
1). You can sit back and see if it develops into a problem. If it doesn't you can say "Whew, we got away with that one". If it does, then it is a case of "oh well, that one got away on us".
2) You can react as soon as it is identified. If it turns out not to be as bad as it could have been, you can put it down to good training. If it does, you are at least up with the play. And you may have stopped or slowed its spread. I tend to favour this reaction.

As as been shown with Didymo, once it is in the environment or wild populations, eradication may not be possible. but containment may well be both possible and desirable.

Once again, it is important that we learn as much as possible as soon as possible about where it came from, and how it arrived. It didn't just swim here!

Cheers,
  
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Re: Serious new fish pathogen found
Reply #4 - Oct 11th, 2011 at 11:48pm
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None of the stuff I have been sent confirms what you say about it affecting our trout, I will ask about this in more detail at the meeting tomorrow though. If it does we're in the shite big time.

At this stage as far as I'm aware its limited to lampreys and as Linz pointed out these come from the sea and travel vast distances.

What more do the Federation think we should do down here? We want to do all we can.
  
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Re: Serious new fish pathogen found
Reply #5 - Oct 12th, 2011 at 12:36am
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Hi Mike,
I'm no expert on biosecurity responses, but my understanding is that they are built around:
  • Identification
    Containment
    Tracing
    Control
and if practical and applicable
  • Treatment or Eradication


It seems to me that the first priority is to establish just how pathogenic this organism is to your trout. I would be testing some who are likely to have been exposed (ie from the same waters as the infected natives) and perhaps asking Cawthron if they can lab test it.

At the same time, I would be seeking expert advice as to the likely transmission mechanisms to see if there were practical steps you could take to prevent it (containment). The movement of such things between watersheds would seem logical; not that you can stop wild populations doing that.

I'm afraid that I don't immediately buy into the theory that because lamprey can swim across oceans they picked it up somewhere else. So do salmon, and for that matter searun trout. If that was the most likely scenareo, it seems to me that it would have happened long ago. So I would be looking pretty closely at what other mechanisms might be involved. As I am sure that Biosecurity NZ are. Being practical and realistic, the diseases association with freshwater aquaculture overseas would seem to be a 'heads-up". It's not as if it would be the first time we have imported unwanted disease along with the free passage of organic material!
  
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Re: Serious new fish pathogen found
Reply #6 - Oct 12th, 2011 at 7:12am
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After tomorrows meeting I'll send you what I can if you PM me your email address.

I can tell you though that work on establishing the nature of the pathogen is being done by a few parties.

The expert advice you mention is being sought out from the world over.

Believe me F & G Southland are doing their utmost. Don't think for a minute that its all about what has or hasn't been reported in the paper.

As an aside I'm pretty sure sea run trout and salmon stick pretty close to our shores as opposed to the eels which are known to travel thousands of kilometres away from here.
  
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Re: Serious new fish pathogen found
Reply #7 - Oct 12th, 2011 at 8:21am
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Also bad for Salmon farming.
Why can't we get one parasite , weed, bug thats beneficial for farming.
We always have to cop something bad
  

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Mike H
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Re: Serious new fish pathogen found
Reply #8 - Oct 12th, 2011 at 8:24pm
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Personally I think the Federation are using this to grandstand their group in an effort to gain more recognition. Its a shame they've gone off half-cocked at the expense of F & G.

Anyway, here's the latest from Southland F & G:

·         Fish & Game has been working closely with MAF on this issue and is very concerned about any new aquatic diseases or organisms in our environment.

·         We’ve forwarded to MAF a number of reports of sick lamprey that maybe infected with this disease and encourage any river users who observe any lamprey during the day, or any other sick fish, to contact MAF via their 0800 number (0800 80 99 66). 

·         Whilst observations remain anecdotal, it seems likely that infected lamprey have been observed in at least the Aparima, Oreti, Mataura and Clutha rivers and we’re very concerned about the health of this remarkable species. 

·         Internationally, there are two strains of this disease and one has a greater impact on salmonids (trout and salmon) than the other. Whilst it’s early days, the fact that the disease is infecting lamprey suggests that it may be the ‘atypical’ strain, which seems less likely to be an issue for trout or salmon.

·         We understand at this early stage that the ‘typical’ strain is more likely to affect fish that are stressed, such as fish in aquaculture ventures, and is unlikely to affect our healthy wild populations of trout 

·         This disease serves as a timely reminder to check, clean and dry all gear before shifting between waterways

·         We’ve listed an alert notice on our website explaining the likely symptoms of the disease in lamprey and the appropriate action to take if you observe any sick fish.  We’re also investigating emailing all of our licence holders to assist in gathering information for MAF on the extent of the spread of the disease in lamprey.

  
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Re: Serious new fish pathogen found
Reply #9 - Oct 13th, 2011 at 5:18am
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Ok so as anglers until we get more information we should continue to clean, check and dry... Can someone please detail the most updated and efficient cleaning methods? Biosecurity NZ seemed to lose the plot here a long while back with conflicting info.
  

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Re: Serious new fish pathogen found
Reply #10 - Oct 17th, 2011 at 4:36am
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Re: Serious new fish pathogen found
Reply #11 - Oct 18th, 2011 at 2:29am
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You cant check clean and dry with this..its a bacteria... and highly contagious... It has now been found in a trout at the MacCraes Hatchery in Otago... so chances are its on its way all over the where... It will take them months to isolate the strain but in the meantime it can spread widely while they do the science...like Didymo and veroa and now PSA.
Maybe the NZFFA has more information than you are being told in Southland by F&G.... I have talked to a fisheries biologist involved and he said it can devastate the fishery...  So I believe calls to action are necessary and to wait for the science to catch up is tantamount to letting this thing get away on us... Now that it has been found in a trout it does not look good....
  

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Re: Serious new fish pathogen found
Reply #12 - Oct 18th, 2011 at 2:33am
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By the way this was one of the deseases we (anglers/nzffa / fish & game and so on) flagged years ago when they wanted to  import salmon products and were ignored in our submissions....
  

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Re: Serious new fish pathogen found
Reply #13 - Oct 18th, 2011 at 2:47am
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ok this thing is moving quickly... Press realse later today about Maccraes hathery...
  

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Re: Serious new fish pathogen found
Reply #14 - Oct 18th, 2011 at 6:22am
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Reports from local South Canterbury Maori are that they have been seeing it in the lamprey for the last seven years. So it doesn't look like it is a new thing.
Dan
  
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