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Olafsdottir D.,Iceland Marine Research Institute | Shinn A.P.,University of Stirling
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2013

Background: Whilst there is a body of scientific literature relating to the epibiotic macrofauna on large whales, there is little information on the cetaceans in Icelandic waters. Common minke whales, Balaenoptera acutorostrata Lacépède, 1804, are a common sighting between the months of April to November, however, the migration and distribution of the population in winter requires establishing. The present study provides baseline information on the species composition, geographic distribution and abundance of the epibiotic macrofauna on minke whales landed in Icelandic waters and comments on their acquisition. Methods. The epibiotic macrofauna and skin lesions on 185 and 188 common minke whales respectively, landed in Icelandic waters between April to September 2003-2007 were determined. For each whale, the fluke and one lateral side was examined. Results: A total of seven epibiotic species were found: the caligid copepod Caligus elongatus (prevalence (P) = 11.9%, mean intensity (M.I) = 95.5); the pennellid copepod Pennella balaenopterae (P = 10.3%, M.I = 1.6); the cyamid amphipod Cyamus balaenopterae (P = 6.5%, M.I = 37.0); the lepadid cirripedes Conchoderma virgatum (P = 0.5%, M.I = 4.0) and Conchoderma auritum (P = 0.5%, M.I = 1.0), the balanid cirriped Xenobalanus globicipitis (P = 1.6%, M.I = 5.3) and the sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus (P = 2.7%, M.I = 1.0). In addition, the hyperparasitic monogenean Udonella caligorum was found on C. elongatus (P = 6.6%) on 8 of the 22 whales infected with the copepod. No significant relationship was observed between parasite intensity and host body length for either C. balaenopterae or C. elongatus, while the proportion of infected hosts was higher in August-September than earlier in the summer for C. balaenopterae (χ2 = 13.69; p<0.01: d.f.=1) and C. elongatus (χ2 = 28.88; p<0.01: d.f.=1). Conclusions: The higher prevalence of C. balaenopterae on male whales (χ2 = 5.08; p<0.05: d.f.=1), suggests possible different migration routes by the sexes. A likely explanation of the occurrence of P. marinus attached to the minke whales may be due to the gradually rising sea temperature in the area in recent years. This study represents the first known record of C. elongatus on a cetacean host. © 2013 Ólafsdóttir and Shinn; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Maturity size, reproductive cycle, sex ratio and fecundity of female Nephrops were investigated at SW, S and SE Iceland for the period 1960-2010. Time series of biological parameters and fisheries data displayed significant relationships. In addition, female biological data from 20 areas in the Atlantic and Mediterranean were compared. Fifty percentage maturity estimates had an overall range of 23.9-34.4. mm CL with some anomalies in the 2000s. The reproductive cycle in Iceland has been biennial during the whole study period from mid-1960s to 2010 with minor change in phase in the 2000s. Biennial moulting retards female growth more than annual spawning, and the length of incubation and hatch time of year show significant relationships with latitude and sea temperature. Variations in sex ratio were observed and relationships found between female sex ratio and CL, CPUE and stock biomass during 1961-2010, displaying apparent fishery-induced effects on sex ratio. Potential and realized fecundity estimates in Iceland are 35-50% of those reported from more southerly waters. Biennial spawning and low fecundity limit the number of progeny in Icelandic Nephrops and necessitate lower fishing mortality. Ambient temperature in Icelandic waters has risen by 1. °C since the late 1990s, generating around 30 days shorter incubation time in the 2000s, but around 3. °C rise is necessary for possible annual spawning. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Gudmundsson G.,University of Iceland | Gunnlaugsson T.,Iceland Marine Research Institute
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences | Year: 2012

Fish stock assessment by catch-at-age and survey data is affected by many stochastic elements: measurement errors; sampling variations; natural variations in mortality, catchability and migrations; technological and social effects on fishing intensity and selectivity. Estimation of simulated models shows that the bias in estimation by linear approximation of the Kalman filter or automatic approximation of the marginal likelihood function is much smaller than the errors produced by the stochastic elements. In time series modelling, they are represented by residuals in the equations. Strong simplifying assumptions about these effects are common in catch-at-age analysis, but estimation of models for Icelandic cod (Gadus morhua) and pollock (Pollachius virens, herein referred to as saithe) demonstrates that the relative importance of different random elements can vary greatly between stocks. These assumptions include exact catch-at-age measurements, no irregular migrations or variations in natural mortality, separable fishing mortality rates, and no permanent variations in survey catchability. Inappropriate simplificactions can have a strong effect on stock estimates. It is possible and important to test simplifying assumptions by comparison with more general models. Estimation of the magnitude of natural mortality is also examined. Source

Freeman M.A.,University of Malaya | Kasper J.M.,Iceland Marine Research Institute | Kristmundsson A.,University of Iceland
Parasites and Vectors | Year: 2013

Background: Commercial fisheries of lumpfish Cyclopterus lumpus have been carried out in Iceland for centuries. Traditionally the most valuable part is the eggs which are harvested for use as a caviar substitute. Previously reported parasitic infections from lumpfish include an undescribed intranuclear microsporidian associated with abnormal kidneys and mortalities in captive lumpfish in Canada. During Icelandic lumpfish fisheries in spring 2011, extensive enlargements to the kidneys were observed in some fish during processing. The aim of this study was to identify the pathogen responsible for these abnormalities. Methods. Lumpfish from the Icelandic coast were examined for the causative agent of kidney enlargement. Fish were dissected and used in histological and molecular studies. Results: Lumpfish, with various grades of clinical signs, were observed at 12 of the 43 sites sampled around Iceland. From a total of 77 fish examined, 18 had clear clinical signs, the most prominent of which was an extensive enlargement and pallor of the kidneys. The histopathology of the most severely affected fish consisted of extensive degeneration and necrosis of kidney tubules and vacuolar degeneration of the haematopoietic tissue. Intranuclear microsporidians were detected in all organs examined in fish with prominent clinical signs and most organs of apparently healthy fish using the new PCR and histological examination. One or multiple uniformly oval shaped spores measuring 3.12 ± 0.15 × 1.30 ± 0.12 μm were observed in the nucleus of affected lymphocytes and lymphocyte precursor cells. DNA sequencing provided a ribosomal DNA sequence that was strongly supported in phylogenetic analyses in a clade containing other microsporidian parasites from the Enterocytozoonidae, showing highest similarity to the intranuclear microsporidian Nucleospora salmonis. Conclusions: Intranuclear microsporidian infections are common in wild caught lumpfish from around the Icelandic coast. Infections can cause severe clinical signs and extensive histopathological changes, but are also present, at lower levels, in fish that do not show clinical signs. Some common features exist with the intranuclear microsporidian previously reported from captive Canadian lumpfish, but DNA sequence data is required from Canadian fish to confirm conspecificity. Based on phylogenetic analysis and the intranuclear location of the parasite, the name Nucleospora cyclopteri n. sp. is proposed. © 2013 Freeman et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Bjornsson B.,Iceland Marine Research Institute
Aquaculture | Year: 2011

Anthropogenic feeding was carried out for 21months in a fjord in Northwest Iceland to assess the potential of aggregating and growing free-ranging cod (Gadus morhua). Practical feeding and harvesting methods were developed and four sizable herds of wild cod formed at four feeding stations, where net bags with frozen trash fish were deployed 2-5 times per week. Commercial fishing was prohibited in a 30km2 area around the feeding stations, where a total of 262 metric tons (t) of feed was dispensed. In August 2005, when the monthly feeding peaked at 27.2t, the biomass of cod in the herds was estimated to be 70-100t, mainly fish >40cm. The biomass of cod in the fjord was estimated as approximately 2000t. The conditioned fish showed high fidelity to a given herd and their growth rates approximately tripled. A total of 171t of cod and 82t of haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) were harvested in the project. Ranching of cod in herds has the potential of reducing the cost and energy consumption of fishing, and on-growing wild cod on a large scale without the cost associated with sea cages. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. Source

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