[Coral-List] FW: [ReefCheck-list] Reef Fishes dying in huge numbers

Thierry Work thierry_work at usgs.gov
Mon Dec 22 16:02:47 EST 2003

Dear all:

I would add to that that if some fish could be slit open and placed in 2 times volume of 10% buffered formalin (made by mixing 15 parts
37% formaldehyde to 85 parts seawater), we could have a look to see what's going on if there is interest.


William W Steiner wrote:

> I am assuming that this has not been observed before at least in the
> lifetimes of those seeing it so it is not a cyclical type of event.
> Perhaps it is a toxin that is present during certain seasons but slight
> temperature changes suggested below make the fish more vulnerable?  May I
> suggest a line of inquiry?
> A dozen or so fish (for statistical relevancy) of each species needs to be
> preserved on ice as soon as collected.  They should be examined for
> bacteria loads, toxins, other diseases, etc.  A dozen live fish of the same
> species should likewise be collected, sacrificed and examined.  This
> side-by-side comparison might give evidence to the cause.  It would also be
> nice to take some physiological/biochemical meaurements if possible of dead
> versus dying versus healthy fish, same species.  Field studies indicating
> the rate of spread, the direction of spread (following a current?) and fish
> behavior in the sea should also be monitored.  Dr. Thierry Work of the USGS
> Biological Resources Discipline located in Hawaii has experience in this
> area but someone would need to pay his costs.  Dr. Jim Parrish of USGS is a
> fisheries biologist and might also provide some insight especially on the
> ecological end.  His costs would also have to be covered.  I have included
> their email addresses in the event Kiribati officials would like to follow
> up.
> Good luck and Aloha
> Bill
> William W. M. Steiner, Ph.D.
> Director, USGS BRD
> Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center
> 3190 Maile Way, St. John Hall 408
> Honolulu, HI 96822
> PH   808-956-5691    Fax  808-956-5687
> Cell 808-294-0750
>                       "Gregor Hodgson"
>                       <gregorh at ucla.edu>                 To:       <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
>                       Sent by:                           cc:
>                       coral-list-bounces at coral.ao        Subject:  [Coral-List] FW: [ReefCheck-list] Reef Fishes dying in huge numbers
>                       ml.noaa.gov
>                       12/21/2003 06:29 PM
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taratau Kirata [mailto:TaratauK at mnrd.gov.ki]
> Sent: Sunday, December 21, 2003 5:48 PM
> To: 'ReefCheck-list at yahoogroups.com'
> Subject: [ReefCheck-list] Reef Fishes dying in huge numbers
> I would just like to report and if possible would like
> thoughts/comments on the incidence.
> Fish species of Naso annulatus, Alectis ciliaris, Alectis inducus,
> Carangoides orthogrammus, Lutjanus gibbus, Melichthys niger, Melichthys
> vidua are reported of in its third week of dying on four islands in our
> Kiribati group.  On some islands it is still going on while others stop,
> but
> two more new islands are also experiencing this.
> The islands are all coral atolls where they have small or
> no lagoon.  The fishes are reported dying on the outer reef near to the
> open
> ocean.  The fishes can be seen being washed ashore onto the beach at
> specific locations on these islands in large numbers (250-400).  The
> numbers
> may be greater for some species and slightly fewer for other species.
> The local people and fisheries are suspecting it is something related to
> increase in
> water temperature around the area.  However, this arises another doubt
> since
> we believe this fishes are able to tolerate increase in water temperature
> (slight).  Since the area which this thing is happening is in the open
> sea, it may be that the area which increases in water temperature is large
> and that the temperature rise is more than slight, or what do you think.
> Our local people are very concerned owning to the fact that we depend
> heavily on these resources for our livelihood.
> Thank you.  Should you like further information on this I am always
> available in supplying it.
> Best regards,
> Taratau Kirata
> Fisheries Officer
> Ministry of Fisheries
> Kiribati Government
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Thierry M. Work
US Geological Survey
National Wildlife Health Center
Hawaii Field Station
PO Box 50167
300 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 5231
Honolulu, HI 96850
tels: 808 792-9520; 808 554-6490
Fax: 808 792-9596

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