Concurrent jellyfish blooms and tenacibaculosis outbreaks in Northern Norwegian Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) farms
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Tenacibaculosis is an increasing problem in the Norwegian Atlantic salmon aquaculture industry causing significant economic losses. In September 2015, two separate outbreaks of suspected tenacibaculosis occurred at two Atlantic salmon farms in Finnmark County in Northern Norway. The events resulted in major losses of smolts newly transferred into seawater. Prior to, and during the outbreaks, large numbers of small jellyfish, identified as Dipleurosoma typicum (Boeck) were observed in the vicinity of the farms and inside the net-pens. This study investigates the possible link between the jellyfish, Tenacibaculum spp. and the tenacibaculosis outbreaks. Bacteriology, histology, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, and real-time RT-PCR screening were performed on both fish and jellyfish samples. Based on the findings, Tenacibaculum finnmarkense was found to be the dominant bacteria associated with the tenacibaculosis outbreaks at both sites and that D. typicum is unlikely to be a vector for this fish pathogenic bacterium. However, results do show that the jellyfish caused direct damage to the fish’s skin and may have exacerbated the bacterial infection by allowing an entry point for bacteria.