Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen

, Volume 37, Issue 1–4, pp 389–413 | Cite as

Dynamics of fish diseases in the lower Elbe River

  • H. Möller


As part of a survey on population dynamics and ecology of fishesin the Elbe River, seasonal and regional fluctuations of external fish diseases were studied from the open North Sea to Hamburg in 1981–1982. Clinical signs of 11 different diseases, several of them not being recorded before, were noted in 22 fish species. Averaged over all samples, the total disease prevalence was below 1 % in 16 species. Highest prevalences were found in smelt (12.7 %), eel (9.2 %), and flounder (5.5 %). The frequency of most diseases increased in larger (older) fish. High prevalences of skeletal abnormalities in cod could be related to abnormal migration habits of diseased fish. Spawning papillomatosis, skin ulceration, and fin rot in smelt occurred predominantly during the spawning season. Most diseases observed occurred at relatively high prevalences in the central Elbe estuary between Cuxhaven and Brunsbüttel. This is most obvious for lymphocystis, fin rot, skin ulceration, and bleaching syndrome in flounder, but such a tendency also seems to occur in cauliflower disease of eel, as well as spawning papillomatosis and pharyngeal granuloma in smelt. This area is less heavily polluted and less frequently affected by oxygen deficiency than the area upstream of Glückstadt, where diseases in general occurred at lower frequencies. Therefore, it is concluded that neither pollution nor lack of oxygen are the main triggers for the outbreak of diseases in Elbe fish. It is supposed that large tidal fluctuations of salinity are a major stress factor for fish in the estuary between Cuxhaven and Brunsbüttel. Flounder from this area usually are in a relatively bad nutritional state. Their condition factor increases significantly towards Hamburg, while their disease prevalence decreases in the same direction.


Disease Prevalence Condition Factor Oxygen Deficiency Skin Ulceration Skeletal Abnormality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Literature cited

  1. Aaser, C. S., 1925. Gjeddepesten i 1923. — Norsk VetTidsskr.37 1–14.Google Scholar
  2. Anders, K., 1983. Histologische, virologische und statistische Untersuchungen an der Lymphocystiskrankheit von Fischen der Nord- und Ostsee. Dipl.-Arb., Univ. Kiel, 102 pp.Google Scholar
  3. Anders, K. & Möller, H., 1984. Spawning papillomatosis of smelt(Osmerus eperlanus) from the Elbe estuary. — J. Fish Dis. (in press).Google Scholar
  4. „ARGE Elbe“, 1980. Schwermetalldaten der Elbe. Wassergütestelle Elbe, Hamburg, 66 pp.Google Scholar
  5. „ARGE Elbe“, 1982. Wassergütedaten der Elbe. Wassergütestelle Elbe, Hamburg, 80 pp.Google Scholar
  6. „ARGE Elbe“, 1983. Chlorierte Kohlenwasserstoffe — Daten der Elbe —. Wassergütestelle Elbe, Hamburg, 107 pp.Google Scholar
  7. Banning, P. van, 1971. Wratziekte bij platvis. — Visserijwereld24 336–343.Google Scholar
  8. Berzins, B., 1943. Über monströse Dorsche im Rigaischen Meerbusen. — Folia zool. hydrobiol.12 244–247.Google Scholar
  9. Breslauer, T., 1916. Zur Kenntnis der Epidermoidalgeschwülste von Kaltblütern. Histologische Veränderungen des Integuments und der Mundschleimhaut beim Stint (Osmerus eperlanus L.). — Arch. mikrosk. Anat. EntwMech.87 200–264.Google Scholar
  10. Bruun, A. F. & Heiberg, B., 1935. Weitere Untersuchungen über die Rotseuche des Aales in dänischen Gewässern. — Z. Fisch.33 379–382.Google Scholar
  11. Burke, J. & Rodgers, L., 1981: Identification of pathogenic bacteria associated with the occurrence of “red spot” in sea mullet,Mugil cephalus L., in south-eastern Queensland. — J. Fish Dis.4 153–159.Google Scholar
  12. Carbery, J. T. & Strickland, K. L., 1968. Ulcerative dermal necrosis (UDN). — Ir. vet. J.22 171–175.Google Scholar
  13. Christensen, N. O., 1980. Diseases and anomalies in fish und invertebrates in Danish littoral regions which might be connected with pollution. — Rapp. P.-v. Réun. Cons. int. Explor. Mer179 103–109.Google Scholar
  14. Dalsgaard, I., 1981. Spring ulcer disease in eels. — Bull. Eur. Ass. Fish Pathol.1 18–19.Google Scholar
  15. Dethlefsen, V., 1980. Observations on fish diseases in the German Bight and their possible relation to pollution. — Rapp. P.-v. Réun. Cons. int. Explor. Mer179 110–117.Google Scholar
  16. Fiedler, M., 1983. Nahrungsuntersuchungen an Elbfischen. Dipl.-Arb., Univ. Kiel, 53 pp.Google Scholar
  17. Gercken, J., 1982. Hyperplastische Epithelwucherungen an der Kieme des Butt(Platichthys flesus) aus dem Elbe-Ästuar. Dipl.-Arb., Univ. Hamburg, 59 pp.Google Scholar
  18. Hussein, S. A. & Mills, D. H., 1982. The relevance of “cauliflower disease” of the eel,Anguilla anguilla L., in tributaries of the River Tweed, Scotland. — J. Fish Dis.5 161–165.Google Scholar
  19. Köhler, A. & Hölzel, F., 1980. Investigation on health conditions of flounder and smelt in the Elbe estuary. — Helgoländer Meeresunters.33 401–414.Google Scholar
  20. Koops, H. & Mann, H., 1969. Die Blumenkohlkrankheit der Aale. Vorkommen und Verbreitung der Krankheit. — Arch. FischWiss.20 (Beih.), 5–15.Google Scholar
  21. Krüger, K. E. & Kruse, R., 1982. Der Quecksilber-, Blei-und Cadmiumgehalt in Aalen aus der Elbe und ausgewählten Vergleichsgewässern. — Arch. Lebensmittelhyg.33 123–128.Google Scholar
  22. Kruse, R., Boek, K. & Wolf, M., 1983. Der Gehalt an Organochlor-Pestiziden und polychlorierten Biphenylen in Elbaalen. — Arch. Lebensmittelhyg.34 81–86.Google Scholar
  23. Lühmann, M. & Mann, H. 1957: Beobachtungen über die Blumenkohlkrankheit der Aale. — Arch. FischWiss.7 229–239.Google Scholar
  24. Mann, H., 1962. Beobachtungen über Krankheiten und Parasiten an Elbfischen. — Fischwirt12 300–309.Google Scholar
  25. Mattheis, T., 1960. Das Aalsterben an der Ostseeküste zwischen Usedom und Wismar im Sommer 1959. — Dt. FischZtg., Radebeul7 23–25.Google Scholar
  26. McArdle, J., Dunne, T., Parker, M., Martyn, C. & Rafferty, D., 1982. A survey of diseases of marine flatfish from the east coast of Ireland in 1981. — C. M./ICES,E 47.Google Scholar
  27. Meyer, P. F., 1933. Ein Fall von Aal-Rotseuche in den Buchten den Buchten der Ostsee. — Natur Mus. Frankf.63 32–36.Google Scholar
  28. Mieth, A., 1983. Untersuchungen zum Schwermetallgehalt (Cd, Pb, Cu, Hg) in Flundern,Platichthys flesus (L.) aus der Elbe unter Berücksichtigung jahreszeitlicher Einflüsse. Dipl.-Arb., Univ. Kiel, 93 pp.Google Scholar
  29. Möller, H., 1974. Untersuchungen über die Parasiten der Flunder (Platichthys flesus L.) in der Kieler Förde. — Ber. dt. wiss. Kommn Meeresforsch.23 136–149.Google Scholar
  30. Möller, H., 1979. Geographical distribution of fish diseases in the NE Atlantic. — Meeresforsch.27 217–235.Google Scholar
  31. Möller, H., 1981a. Fish diseases in German and Danish coastal waters in summer 1980. — Meeresforsch.29 1–16.Google Scholar
  32. Möller, H., 1981b. Feldführer zur Diagnose der Fischkrankheiten und wichtigsten Fischparasiten in Nord- und Ostsee. Field guide to the diagnosis of fish diseases and important fish parasites in North Sea and Baltic Sea. — Ber. Inst. Meeresk. Kiel86 1–65.Google Scholar
  33. Möller, H., 1983a. A survey on fish stocks of the lower Elbe River. — C. M./ICES,E 48.Google Scholar
  34. Möller, H., 1983b. High skeletal deformation rate of cod in the Elbe estuary. — Bull. Eur. Ass. Fish Pathol.3 7–8.Google Scholar
  35. Möller, H., 1984. A critical review on the role of pollution as a cause of fish diseases. Symposium report. First Conference of the European Association of Fish Pathologists (in press).Google Scholar
  36. Möller, H. & Anders, K., 1983. Krankheiten und Parasiten der Meeresfische. Eigenverl., Kiel, 258 pp.Google Scholar
  37. Möller, H. & Müller, H., 1984. Ein Vergleich von Hamenfischereierträgen auf der Unterelbe in den Sommern 1894 und 1982. — Fischwirt (im Druck).Google Scholar
  38. Müller, H., 1982. Biologie, Verbreitung und Schadwirkung auffälliger Ektoparasiten an Fischen der Nordsee und westlichen Ostsee. Dipl.-Arb., Univ. Kiel, 90 pp.Google Scholar
  39. Müller, H., 1983. The effects ofLernaeocera-infestation on cod(Gadus morhua). — Bull. Eur. Ass. Fish Pathol.3 21–22.Google Scholar
  40. Nieschulz, O., 1921. Die Lymphocystis-Erkrankung der Fische. — Fischerbote13 105–107.Google Scholar
  41. Nordenberg, C. B., 1962. Vorkommen der Lymphocystiskrankheit bei Scholle und Flunder im Öresund. — K. fysiogr. Sällsk. Lund Förh.32 17–26.Google Scholar
  42. Perkins, E. J., Gilchrist, J. R. & Abbott, O. J., 1972. Incidence of epidermal lesions in fish of the north-east Irish Sea area, 1971. — Nature, Lond.238 101–103.Google Scholar
  43. Peters, G., 1975. Seasonal fluctuations in the incidence of epidermal papillomas of the European eelAnguilla anguilla L. — J. Fish Biol.7 415–422.Google Scholar
  44. Peters, G., 1977. The papillomatosis of the European eel (Anguilla anguilla L.): analysis of seasonal fluctuation in the tumor incidence. — Arch. FischWiss.27 251–263.Google Scholar
  45. Peters, N., 1981a. Fischkrankheiten und Gewässerbelastung im Küstenbereich. — Verh. dt. zool. Ges.74 16–30.Google Scholar
  46. Peters, N., 1981b. Zur Ätiologie epidemisch auftretender Fischtumoren. — Fisch Umwelt9 93–109.Google Scholar
  47. Peters, N. & Peters, G., 1983. Papillomatosis of eels. In: Identification sheets for diseases and parasites of fish and shellfish. Ed. by C. J. Sindermann. ICES, Copenhagen1983 (Sheet 1), 1–4.Google Scholar
  48. Riedel-Lorje, J. & Gaumert, T., 1982. 100 Jahre Elbe-Forschung. Hydrobiologische Situation und Fischbestand 1842–1943 unter dem Einfluß von Stromverbau und Sieleinleitungen. — Arch. Hydrobiol. (Suppl.)61 317–376.Google Scholar
  49. Roberts, R. J. (Ed.), 1978. Fish pathology. Baillière Tindall, London, 318 pp.Google Scholar
  50. Rodgers, L. & Burke, J., 1981. Seasonal variation in the prevalence of “red spot” disease in estuarine fish with particular reference to the sea mullet,Mugil cephalus L. — J. Fish Dis.4 297–307.Google Scholar
  51. Schäperclaus, W., 1934. Untersuchungen über die Aalseuchen in deutschen Binnen- und Küstengewässern 1930–1933. — Z. Fisch.32 191–217.Google Scholar
  52. Schäperclaus, W., 1953. Die Blumenkohlkrankheit der Aale und anderer Fische der Ostsee. — Z. Fisch.2 105–124.Google Scholar
  53. Schnackenbeck, H., 1927. “Pockennarbige” Butt. — Fischerbote19 81–82.Google Scholar
  54. Shelton, R. G. & Wilson, K. W., 1973. On the occurrence of lymphocystis with notes on other pathological conditions, in the flatfish stocks of the north-east Irish Sea. — Aquaculture2 395–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sindermann, C. J., 1979. Pollution-associated diseases and abnormalities of fish and shellfish: a review. — Fish. Bull. U. S.76 717–749.Google Scholar
  56. Stich, H. F., Acton, A. B., Oishi, K.; Yamazaki, F., Harada, F., Peters, G., Hibino, T. & Moser, H. G., 1977. Systematic collaborative studies in neoplasms in marine animals as related to the environment. — Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci.298 374–388.Google Scholar
  57. Thulin, J., 1981. Sjukdomar och parasiter hos fisk vid Bärsebäckverket 1980. Statens Naturvårdsverk, Solna, 31 pp. (pm 1429).Google Scholar
  58. Vitinsh, M. & Baranova, T., 1976. Lymphocystis disease of Baltic flounder (Platichthys flesus L.). — C. M./ICES,P 6.Google Scholar
  59. Wichowski, F. J., 1983. Parasitologische Untersuchungen an Elbfischen. Dipl.-Arb. Univ. Kiel, 102 pp.Google Scholar
  60. Wilkens, H. & Köhler, A., 1977. Die Fischfauna der unteren und mittleren Elbe: die genutzten Arten, 1950–1975. — Abh. Verh. naturwiss. Ver. Hamburg20, 185–222.Google Scholar
  61. Wolter, R., 1960. DieVibrio-anguillarum-Seuche im Strelasund und Greifswalder Bodden. — Z. Fisch.9, 763–769.Google Scholar
  62. Wootten, R., McVicar, A. H. & Smith, J. W., 1982. Some disease conditions of fish in Scottish waters. — C. M./ICES,E 46.Google Scholar
  63. Wunder, W., 1971. Mißbildungen beim Kabeljau(Gadus morrhua) verursacht durch Wirbelsäulenmißbildung. — Helgoländer wiss. Meeresunters.22, 201–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Biologische Anstalt Helgoland 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Möller
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Meereskunde an der UniversitätKielFederal Republic of Germany

Personalised recommendations