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Investigation of risk factors associated with sub-optimal holding survival in southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) in Australia

Patel, KK, Fitzgibbon, Q ORCID: 0000-0002-1104-3052 and Caraguel, CGB 2020 , 'Investigation of risk factors associated with sub-optimal holding survival in southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) in Australia' , Preventive Veterinary Medicine, vol. 183 , pp. 1-9 , doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.105122.

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Southern rock lobster (SRL1, Jasus edwardsii) are caught from the wild waters of southern Australia and form an important commodity economically for the fisheries industry in Australia. Between landing and export, SRL are held in specialised tanks within holding facilities for varying time periods before being exported to China. During the 2015−16 fishing season a lower stock survival rate was reported by some holding facilities when compared to previous fishing seasons. An investigation was undertaken to identify possible causes and favouring factors using a retrospective, single cohort, observational study.A custom questionnaire was built and trialled to collect qualitative and quantitative information on facilities infrastructure and capacity (10 questions), water systems (16 questions), SRL stock and health management (12 questions). Onsite visits and interviews of consenting holding facilities, with active holding operations, were conducted. Facilities were categorised into different capacity and management profiles based on a multivariate factor analysis. The association between facility profiles and perceived sub-optimal survival was then explored using simple logistic regression models.Out of the 83 license holders on record, 63 were in operation at the time of survey and 52 (83%) consented to participate. Perceived sub-optimal survival was reported in 22 (42%) facilities. The capacity, bio-filtration and water management practices across the surveyed facilities was highly variable but did not appear to be associated with survival. However, ‘Intensive holding’ facilities compared to the ‘Extensive holding’ facilities were significantly associated with an increased risk of sub-optimal survival (OR = 7.0, 95% CI: 2.1–26.13, P = 0.002). ‘Intensive holding’ facilities were more likely to hold higher annual tonnage sourced from distant, diverse and higher number of sources, to multiple handle and stock SRL in crates (as opposed to free swimming in tanks), and hold them for longer time periods.Holding practices are highly diverse across the SRL industry with little evidence of impact on survival, however, intensive and large scale holding practices appeared to be at higher risk of sub-optimal survival. A longitudinal and finer scale study is warranted to identify which one(s) of the stock management practices directly impact SRL survival during holding.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Patel, KK and Fitzgibbon, Q and Caraguel, CGB
Keywords: lobster, post-harvest, southern rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii), holding facility, questionnaire, risk factor analysis, sub-optimal survival
Journal or Publication Title: Preventive Veterinary Medicine
Publisher: Elsevier Science Bv
ISSN: 0167-5877
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.105122
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© 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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