Manual for the North Sea Stomach Sampling Project in 1991
reportposted on 2002-01-01, 00:00 authored by T. Lang
Diseases of wild marine fish have been studied on a regular basis by many ICES Member Countries for more than two decades. Disease surveys are often integrated with other types of biological and chemical investigations as part of national and international monitoring programmes aiming at an assessment of the health of the marine environment, in particular in relation to the impact of human activities. Since the early 1980s, ICES has played an active role in the initiation and coordination of fish disease surveys and has contributed considerably to the development of standardized methodologies. A fish disease data bank has been established within the ICES Environmental Data Centre, consisting of disease prevalence data on key fish species and diseases and accompanying information submitted by ICES Member Countries. Quality assurance procedures have been implemented at all stages, from sampling of fish to submission of data to ICES. Current ICES activities have focused on the development and application of statistical techniques for an assessment of disease data with regard to the presence of spatial and temporal trends in the North Sea and Western Baltic Sea. In a more holistic approach, analyses have been carried out combining the disease data with oceanographic, nutrient, contaminant, and fishery data extracted from the ICES data banks in order to improve the knowledge about the complex cause-effect relationships. The present paper describes the history and present state of fish disease surveys coordinated by ICES and provides information on their strengths and limitations and on the discussion of cause-effect relationships between contaminants and diseases. Examples are given illustrating recent developments in the analysis of ICES fish disease data and some future perspectives for environmental monitoring.