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Random and systematic sampling error when hooking fish to monitor skin fluke (Benedenia seriolae) and gill fluke (Zeuxapta seriolae) burden in Australian farmed yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi)
- Fensham, J.R., Bubner, E., D'Antignana, T., Landos, M., Caraguel, C.G.B.
- Preventive veterinary medicine 2018 v.153 pp. 7-14
- Seriola lalandi, adults, body weight, cages, farmed fish, fish communities, flukes, industry, juveniles
- The Australian farmed yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi, YTK) industry monitor skin fluke (Benedenia seriolae) and gill fluke (Zeuxapta seriolae) burden by pooling the fluke count of 10 hooked YTK. The random and systematic error of this sampling strategy was evaluated to assess potential impact on treatment decisions.Fluke abundance (fluke count per fish) in a study cage (estimated 30,502 fish) was assessed five times using the current sampling protocol and its repeatability was estimated the repeatability coefficient (CR) and the coefficient of variation (CV). Individual body weight, fork length, fluke abundance, prevalence, intensity (fluke count per infested fish) and density (fluke count per Kg of fish) were compared between 100 hooked and 100 seined YTK (assumed representative of the entire population) to estimate potential selection bias.Depending on the fluke species and age category, CR (expected difference in parasite count between 2 sampling iterations) ranged from 0.78 to 114 flukes per fish. Capturing YTK by hooking increased the selection of fish of a weight and length in the lowest 5th percentile of the cage (RR = 5.75, 95% CI: 2.06–16.03, P-value = 0.0001). These lower end YTK had on average an extra 31 juveniles and 6 adults Z. seriolae per Kg of fish and an extra 3 juvenile and 0.4 adult B. seriolae per Kg of fish, compared to the rest of the cage population (P-value < 0.05).Hooking YTK on the edge of the study cage biases sampling towards the smallest and most heavily infested fish in the population, resulting in poor repeatability (more variability amongst sampled fish) and an overestimation of parasite burden in the population. In this particular commercial situation these finding supported that health management program, where the finding of an underestimation of parasite burden could provide a production impact on the study population. In instances where fish populations and parasite burdens are more homogenous, sampling error may be less severe. Sampling error when capturing fish from sea cage is difficult to predict. The amplitude and direction of this error should be investigated for a given cultured fish species across a range of parasite burden and fish profile scenarios.