Mapping the knowledge of the main diseases affecting sea bass and sea bream in Mediterranean

Good knowledge on the disease situation and its impact on production is a base mechanism for designing health surveillance, risk analysis and biosecurity systems. Mediterranean marine fish farming, as any aquaculture production, is affected by various infectious diseases. However, seabass and seabream, the main produced species, are not listed as susceptible host species for the notifiable pathogens listed in the current EU legislation, which generates a lack of systematic reporting. The results presented in this study come from a survey directly to fish farms (50 hatchery and on‐growing units from 10 Mediterranean countries), with data from 2015 to 2017, conducted by the H2020 project MedAID.

Seabass showed a higher survival rate (85%) through a production cycle than seabream (80%) in spite of equal mortality due to pathogen infections (10%). The differences in survival may be explained by mortality ‘of other causes’. Seabream and seabass have different disease profiles, and the profile is slightly different between geographical regions. Among the most important diseases, tenacibaculosis and vibriosis were identified in seabass and Sparicotyle chrysophrii (a gill fluke) and nodavirus in seabream. Correlating mortality data to management variables showed that increasing density, buying fingerlings from external sources and treatments due to disease are factors that negatively influence mortality rate. Most of the surveyed farms did not keep sufficient quality data to implement good health status reports and perform detailed impact studies, which shows the necessity of updating the current legislative framework to provide the basis for better reporting of relevant pathogens in the Mediterranean basin.

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