Accuracy of the disease in Jersey ormer stocks (FOI)
Accuracy of the disease in Jersey ormer stocks (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 19 November 2021.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
Confirmation of the accuracy of the response given 12 October 2021 'Disease in Jersey Ormer Stocks' FOI Given that gov.je responses make a formal record of the information held by government and are accessible to all external inquiry;
Can you confirm the accuracy of this formal response?
'The Vibrio carchararie ('Wither foot') virus was first detected in the local ormer population in 1999 resulting in estimated stock losses of 70% to 90% in jersey waters. As far as we are aware the last local trace of the virus was in 2000'.
The statement contradicts the peer reviewed research after 2002 that allocates the bacterium Vibrio harveyi ORM 4 as the correct infective agent designation.
Is that intentional?
Of greatest significance is the use of the term 'Wither foot', this is clearly a reference to Withering Foot Syndrome disease of abalone caused by Candidatus Xenohaliotis californiensis and causes massive mortalities.
If the formal response indicates the presence of this rickettsia in the wild ormer population in 1999 then, as it is an exotic disease, it will have major ramifications for Jersey’s disease status given our current third country position with regard to EU disease legislation.
Was it intended to communicate the presence of this disease?
We can confirm this statement since the last local trace of the virus that we are aware of was in 2000.
This is based on information in Infrastructure, Housing and Environment (IHE) files which was sourced from the attached research document by Nicolas et al. (2002), although we would be happy to receive any further information in this regard.
Research of Nicolas et.al
Yes, it was intentional as Freedom of Information responses are created using information held by the Government of Jersey at the time of the request, which included the Nicholas et al. report referenced in Question B. This stated that Vibrio carchariae (V. carcharae) was isolated from dead ormers in Brittany and Jersey in 2000.
In a study that looked at V. carchariae and Vibrio harveyi (V. harveyi) as possible agents, they concluded that that the former was responsible for the mass mortality.
A second reference, Huchette & Clavier (2004), also cited V. carchariae as the cause of mass mortalities. Our files on the histology of the local Vibrio agent do not extend beyond this point but we are always happy to receive new or supplementary information in relation to the origin, extent and cause of the 1999 epidemic.
The term ‘wither foot’ is used by Marine Resources officers in reference to the disease responsible for the 1999 epidemic. We suspect that ‘wither foot’ is a vulgar rather than taxonomic term and we cannot account for the origin of its use in relation to the 1999 epidemic.
Departmental correspondence from 1999 and 2000 with Ifremer and UK biologists refers to the local disease as ‘withering syndrome’, therefore, it is conceivable that this gave rise to the department’s use of the term ‘wither foot’. However, we shall recommend that it is not used in future correspondence since there is clearly the potential for confusion with the Californian pathogen.