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Herring Disease Program - Annual Project Report 2012011-E, February 1, 2010-January 31, 2021

July 20, 2021

We will investigate fish health factors that may be contributing to the failed recovery of Pacific herring populations in Prince William Sound. Field samples will provide infection and disease prevalence data from Prince William Sound and Sitka Sound to inform the age structured assessment (ASA) model, serological data will indicate the prior exposure history and future susceptibility of herring to viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV), and diet information will provide insights into the unusually high prevalence of Ichthyophonus that occurs in juvenile herring from Cordova Harbor. Laboratory studies will validate the newly developed plaque neutralization assay as a quantifiable measure of herd immunity against VHS, provide further understanding of disease cofactors including salinity, and investigate possible routes of transmission for Ichthyophonus. Information from the field and laboratory studies will be integrated into the current ASA model and inform a novel ASA-type model that is based on the immune status of herring age cohorts.