Fish health effects from forest harvest and ectoparasitic copepods in northern New Brunswick
University of New Brunswick
Individual fish and fish populations can have varied responses to land use activities from forest operations. Road building, tree removal and silviculture are components of forest operations and can collectively have cumulative impacts on fish. Natural confounding factors like parasite outbreaks can also be an additional stressor on fish. Fish in watersheds with three different forest management regimes (intensive, extensive and minimal) were evaluated at increasing drainage areas. Brook Trout and Slimy Sculpin condition and relative density were not different between treatment groups. For Brook Trout, relative density was more likely related to instream habitat. The ectoparasite Salmincola edwardsii was observed on several Brook Trout in two watersheds. Higher parasite intensities were significantly associated with hyperplastic skin lesions on epidermal tissues. Fish may be resilient to forest operations; however, Brook Trout may be more susceptible to adverse effects when carrying high parasite loads.