- From ProMed
- Date 17 Feb 2005
- Source: Los Angeles Times [edited]
- A disease that rots lobsters' shells and can kill the
crustaceans affects 30 percent of lobsters along the New England coast,
damaging the industry in many areas, scientists said Wednesday.
- The disease's cause and how it spreads remain a mystery,
though theories are emerging, and the scientists said they would seek state
and federal money for more studies.
- The disease does not taint the lobsters' meat but makes
shells too unsightly to serve whole. It can weaken lobsters so much that
some die prematurely.
- Researchers in the region first noticed the disease in
the 1980s, with shells marked by little black spots. But in recent years,
the researchers said, shells have become fully enveloped by the disease
and, in the worst cases, have rotted entirely.
- Scientists said trawl and trap studies showed egg-carrying
females were most susceptible to the disease. The studies also showed lobsters
living in warmer waters appeared to contract the disease more readily.
- Hans Laufer, a professor emeritus of molecular and cell
biology at the University of Connecticut, said he believed lobsters might
contract the disease from alkylphenols, chemicals that are byproducts from
industrial sources. Laufer stressed his studies were preliminary.
- In 1999, the lobster industry in Rhode Island generated
$30 million and employed 425 fishermen, according to Mark Gibson of the
state Department of Environmental Management. 4 years later, the industry
produced $16.7 million and employed 279.
- Undoubtedly the lobster industry has declined. There
have been a number of lobster die-offs in the last decade. Many arguments
as to the cause(s) may be made, including pesticides and warmer waters,
the latter promoting more bacteria and viruses. However, the ultimate cause
remains elusive; if the industry is to survive, clearly some research into
the demise of the lobster is needed. - Mod.TG
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
- Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
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