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Epidemiological observations of pancreas disease of farmed Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., in Ireland


H Rodger, Vet-Aqua International, Oranmore Business Park, Oranmore, Co. Galway, Ireland


Epidemiological investigations into the pancreas disease (PD) of farmed salmon were conducted on populations of Atlantic salmon reared in Ireland during 2003 and 2004. The investigations surveyed all marine salmon farms operating in Ireland through a detailed questionnaire with follow-up farm visits. Information was gathered on 21 populations of fish in 2003 and 14 populations in 2004. Thirteen of the 21 populations suffered PD in 2003 and 12 of the 14 in 2004. The mean mortality due to PD on affected farms was 18.8% in 2003 and 14.8% in 2004 and the loss of growth due to PD was estimated at 11.4% over the 2-year period. The highest risk periods for outbreaks of PD were early summer and early autumn and the farms most seriously affected by PD mortality were in the western counties of Ireland. Factors which showed an indication of association with a PD outbreak or high mortality during a PD outbreak were: livestock movement to another sea site, high feeding rate prior to any PD outbreak, the presence of another PD positive farm in the same water body, greater than 250 000 fish on a site, a previous history of PD on a site, a high sea lice burden, and sites located in the western regions of Ireland which reared a specific strain of salmon.

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