Seal-related liver worm in Baltic cod: Status, effects and biological input for management (TESLO) (39532)

Project Details


The Eastern Baltic cod stock is on the verge of collapse; the fish are historically thin, mature at a very small size, the larger cod are gone, and natural mortality is extremely high. Together this has resulted in closure of the fishery for this stock since 2019. Various scientific projects have investigated potential biological drivers of the poor status of the stock, and revealed that fish in this stock for a number of years have experienced poor food availability and food of poor quality and worsening oxygen conditions. Yet, within the latest decade, cod have also experienced increasing infection load with the parasitic nematode cods liver worm, but it remains unclear how this parasite may affect the fish.

The main objective of the present project is to elucidate the role of the parasitic nematode liver worm as a driver of the poor health status of Eastern Baltic cod, and whether liver worm only occur in cod in the Easter Baltic stock, or also in other cod stocks. The generated data will feed into bioenergetics modeling of cod growth, to predict growth potential of cod with various infection intensities.

Together, the results will improve the baseline knowledge for assessment and management of the Eastern Baltic cod stock.

The specific aims of the project are to:
1. Determine the spatial distribution of liver worm in cod in a transect from the North Sea to the Easter Baltic Sea.
2. Describe the structural changes occurring in the cod liver tissue when infected with liver worm.
3. Describe how liver worm infection affects the composition of the fish and the liver.
4. Evaluate whether infected cod show signs of illness.
5. Ensure that registrations of liver worm in cod become part of the routine samplings om monitoring surveys in the Baltic Sea.
6. Further advance existing bioenergetics models to include the under data generated within the project.

The projects is funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the Danish Fisheries Agency. 

Research area: Fish Biology
Research area: Marine Populations and Ecosystem Dynamics
Research area: Marine Living Resources
Research area: Fish and Shellfish Diseases
Effective start/end date01/04/201831/03/2020


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