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Project Information

Title: Prince William Sound Herring Disease Program

Project Year and Number: 2007: 070819

Other Fiscal Years and Numbers for this Project: None

Principal Investigator (PI): Paul Hershberger, NOAA

Assisting Personnel: Diane Elliott, Eveline Emmenegger, John Hansen, Richard Kocan, Gael Kurath, Scott Lapatra, Jim Winton

Research Location: Prince William Sound

Restoration Category: Research

Injured Resources Addressed: Pacific Herring

Abstract: A leading hypothesis accounting for the decline and failed recovery of the herring population in Prince William Sound involves epizootic mortality resulting from infectious and parasitic diseases. Ongoing and past surveillance of herring diseases in PWS, initiated by Dr. Gary Marty and continued by ADF&G through the herring disease index, is extremely valuable and necessary to document changes in disease prevalence, but field surveys are unable to unequivocally demonstrate epidemiological relationships that modulate disease cycles. This proposed multi-year Herring Disease Program (HDP) consists of three components intended to provide predictive metrics that forecast future disease epidemics and offer empirical relationships useful in developing adaptive management policies to mitigate the effects of epizootic and chronic diseases. The first component involves laboratory validation of the ongoing PWS herring disease index. Long-term continuation of the herring disease index, paired with laboratory validation, is necessary to confirm the efficacy of future adaptive disease management strategies. The second component involves empirical studies intended to determine the basic epidemiological relationships between environmental and biological factors influencing infection / disease prevalence. The final component involves development of immunological and molecular tools that will be useful in predicting the potential for future disease epidemics. Combined, this three-tiered approach will provide the basic epidemiological information necessary to develop and validate adaptive management techniques intended to mitigate the effects of future herring disease outbreaks in PWS.


Geographic Regions Prince William Sound
Species Fish - Forage fish
Fish - Herring
Microorganisims - Microbes
Fields of Expertise Climate/Atmosphere
Commercial fisheries
Management & Policy
Population Biology
Recreational fisheries
Subsistence fisheries
Technological Methods Modeling
Tissue sampling/biopsy
Ecosystems Estuarine
Marine – Pelagic
Species Specific Research Issues Fish - Disease
Fish - Ecosystems indicators
Fish - Fishing effects and harvest strategies
Fish - Population dynamics
Microorganisims - Climate change
Microorganisims - Ecosystems indicators
Microorganisims - Population dynamics

Proposal: View PDF (13,878 KB)

Funding Recommendations: View

Funding Detail For: 2007 , 2008 , 2009 , 2010

Quarterly Project Tasks For: 2007 , 2008 , 2009 , 2010

Annual Reports: 2007: View (147 KB) 2008: View (175 KB) 2009: View (406 KB) 2010: View (313 KB)

Final Report: View

Publications from this Project: None Available