Sores on Striped Bass – Not Mycobacteriosis

Good news from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, updating the story reported here.

 

September 28, 2012
MarineFisheries Advisory

LESIONS ON STRIPED BASS IN MASSACHUSETTS WATERS ARE NOT MYCOBACTERIOSIS


During this past spring and summer, the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries) received numerous reports from anglers of skin lesions on striped bass.  The general condition reported was red spotting visible along the sides of the fish.  Lesions such as these can be indicative of the presence of the disease mycobacteriosis, which is common in southern waters, especially Chesapeake Bay, but has not been documented in Massachusetts waters.  Many members of the fishing community expressed concern that it appeared that mycobacteriosis had reached Massachusetts.

Striped Bass with Red Sores

Anglers are reporting a high number of striped bass with red lesions or sores on their flanks. photo courtesy of Plug N Play Charters.

Mycobacteriosis is a generic term that describes diseases caused by a group of bacteria known as Mycobacteria. These types of bacteria are widespread in nature, particularly in aquatic environments. A small fraction of mycobacterial species causes disease in animals and humans.  A newly described species of mycobacteria, Mycobacterium shottsii, is the type most commonly associated with the current outbreak of mycobacteriosis among striped bass in Chesapeake Bay.  The disease is characterized by external and internal lesions that can kill the infected striped bass, thus the initial concern that the disease had reached Massachusetts.

MarineFisheries staff initiated a study to characterize when and where the lesions occurred and to determine if the lesions were caused by Mycobacterium.  The prevalence was generally low (<5%) in most areas of state waters but higher in certain areas including Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod Canal, Buzzards Bay, and Boston Harbor.  Lesions were seldom seen in striped bass off Chatham, where the commercial fishery was centered during July-August.

Many striped bass from both the recreational and commercial fisheries were examined internally and none had lesions within the spleen, the hallmark of mycobacteriosis.  In addition, bacterial cultures from the skin lesions did not produce any Mycobacterium.  Therefore, the conclusion of this study is the skin condition seen in striped bass in Massachusetts waters this summer was NOT mycobacteriosis.

Lesions on the skin of striped bass are a relatively common occurrence and have many causative agents.  The elevated prevalence seen in some areas this year may be associated with the anomalously high spring and summer water temperatures seen in Massachusetts and more southerly waters.

For more information, please contact Dr. Michael Armstrong at 978-282-0308 ext 109 or michael.armstrong@state.ma.us.

 

  1. charles bourget

    Many striped bass from both the recreational and commercial fisheries were examined internally and none had lesions within the spleen, the hallmark of mycobacteriosis. In addition, bacterial cultures from the skin lesions did not produce any Mycobacterium. Therefore, the conclusion of this study is the skin condition seen in striped bass in Massachusetts waters this summer was NOT mycobacteriosis.
    Lesions on the skin of striped bass are a relatively common occurrence and have many causative agents. The elevated prevalence seen in some areas this year “”may be””” associated with the anomalously high spring and summer water temperatures seen in Massachusetts and more southerly waters.
    For more information, please contact Dr. Michael Armstrong at 978-282-0308 ext 109 or michael.armstrong@state.ma.us.
    Mr Armstrong,
    The report leaves the most important aspect of these “anomolies” unanswered. Sure, you know what they aren not(the lesions) but you do not know what in fact they are….so it would be impossible ,with 100% confidence, for you to declare the 100% safeness to publics health.(“may be” this or that is not a definitve description) or credible retort.Your refering to the high water temperature as an “anomoly” and not climate change leaves me in doubt of your “science”

    Regards
    Charles Bourget

    Reply
    • Ronald H Mattson Sr

      I find it incrediable that anyone would come to the conclusion that Mycobacteriosis is not in Mass. Striped Bass. Some 75%+ of the Striped Bass found in the Chesapeake Bay have Mycobacteriosis,which is fatal(Virginia Institute of Marine Science-VIMS). Chesapeake Bay Striped Bass,which are highly migratory,do make up a portion of the Mass. Striped Bass population and therefore carry this bacteria on their migrations to Mass. This is common sense and no need for a NSF Grant. All along the Eastern Atlantic Seaboard I see very little want,by Departments of Natural Resouces,to enlighten the general public about the bleak future for the Striped Bass population. Could license sales be the great ‘right wing’ conspiracy?

      Reply
  2. Carl Pratt

    I am a firm believer that Massachusetts should inact a slot limit for Striped Bass. Why not for a couple of yrs., couldn't hurt, save the breeding stock. Smaller bass are better eating and I do not need to brag that I caught a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge striper. Think about it!

    Reply
  3. Eli Martinez

    carl I completely agree slotting for mass let the big cows go. with all these people fishing for trophy more than table. I think it would be a great idea taxidermists can make anything from the pictures and specs no need to kill big breeders just to take a picture get it to the scale and then figure out what to do with the meat.

    Reply
    • Desrayni Hanadhita

      Kalo di artikel sih katanya suhu yang tinggi ya? Tapi banyak sih agen yg bisa bikin ulkus gt. Aeromonas, Streptococcus, Vibrio, dll Tapi ga tw kl di salt water kaya apa :o

      Reply

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