DAO 96:69-82 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02382

Seasonality and heterogeneity of live fish movements in Scottish fish farms

M. Werkman1,*, D. M. Green1, L. A. Munro2, A. G. Murray2, J. F. Turnbull1

1Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK
2Marine Scotland Science, Marine Laboratory, 375 Victoria Road, Aberdeen AB11 9DB, UK

ABSTRACT: Movement of live animals is a key contributor to disease spread. Farmed Atlantic salmon Salmo salar, rainbow trout Onchorynchus mykiss and brown/sea trout Salmo trutta are initially raised in freshwater (FW) farms; all the salmon and some of the trout are subsequently moved to seawater (SW) farms. Frequently, fish are moved between farms during their FW stage and sometimes during their SW stage. Seasonality and differences in contact patterns across production phases have been shown to influence the course of an epidemic in livestock; however, these parameters have not been included in previous network models studying disease transmission in salmonids. In Scotland, farmers are required to register fish movements onto and off their farms; these records were used in the present study to investigate seasonality and heterogeneity of movements for each production phase separately for farmed salmon, rainbow trout and brown/sea trout. Salmon FW–FW and FW–SW movements showed a higher degree of heterogeneity in number of contacts and different seasonal patterns compared with SW–SW movements. FW–FW movements peaked from May to July and FW–SW movements peaked from March to April and from October to November. Salmon SW–SW movements occurred more consistently over the year and showed fewer connections and number of repeated connections between farms. Therefore, the salmon SW–SW network might be treated as homogeneous regarding the number of connections between farms and without seasonality. However, seasonality and production phase should be included in simulation models concerning FW–FW and FW–SW movements specifically. The number of rainbow trout FW–FW and brown/sea trout FW– FW movements were different from random. However, movements from other production phases were too low to discern a seasonal pattern or differences in contact pattern.

KEY WORDS: Disease transmission · Epidemiology · Contact structure · Aquaculture

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Cite this article as: Werkman M, Green DM, Munro LA, Murray AG, Turnbull JF (2011) Seasonality and heterogeneity of live fish movements in Scottish fish farms. Dis Aquat Org 96:69-82. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02382

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