Acoustic tags and receivers were used to investigate the spatial ecology of coastal Atlantic cod Gadus morhua (n = 32, mean fork length: 50 cm, range: 33-80 cm) on the Norwegian Skagerrak coast in 2012. Monthly home ranges (HR), swimming activity and depth use varied considerably among individuals and through the months of June, July and August. HR sizes for the period ranged from 0.25 to 5.20 km2 (mean = 2.30 km2. Two thirds of the tagged G. morhua were infected with black spot disease Cryptocotyle lingua parasites; these fish had larger HRs and occupied deeper water compared with non-infected fish. The infected fish also tended to be more active in terms of horizontal swimming. From an ecological and evolutionary perspective, any environmental change that modifies G. morhua behaviour may therefore also alter the parasite load of the population, and its conservation and fishery status.
Keywords: Cryptocotyle lingua; acoustic telemetry; black spot disease; home range; life-history traits; local populations.
© 2015 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.