1st Record: Cayucos, San Luis Opisbo County/CA/Pacific Ocean (Culver and Kuris 1999) This sabellid polychaete was introduced with South African abalones (Haliotus midae at an aquaculture facility near Cayucos CA, and began infesting native abalones (Haliotus rufescens) and other gastropods (primarily Tegula funebralis (Black Turban Snail). An eradication was begun in 1996, by removing infected animals in order to break the chain of transmission. 1.6 million snails were removed.The polychaete was apparently eradicated by April 1998 (Culver and Kuris 1999). A survey of shoreline mollusks adjacent to 25 other California abalone aquaculture facilities, from Crescent City to La Jolla, found no other cases of T. heterouncinata escaping from culture operations (Moore et al. 2007).
Cayucos, San Luis Opisbo County/CA/Pacific Ocean (Culver and Kuris 1999)
|Fisheries Accidental (not Oyster)
|In 1990-1993, a disease causing deformation of shells and abnormal growth was observed in commercial aquaculture facilities on the California coast. Infestation of the shells by T. heterouncinata was identified as the cause. This parasite-like sabellid was recognized as a serious pest in culture facilities, and a threat to wild abalone populations. Several abalone culture facilities went bankrupt, while other suffered financial losses. Improved hygienic procedures controlled the infestation. However, the sabellid escaped into the 'wild', in the discharge area of a culture facility in Cayucos CA. It primarily infected the native Black Turban Snail (Tegula funebralis. This outbreak prompted an organized and apparently successful eradication program, in which 1.6 million snails were removed by state personnel, abalone farmers, and volunteers, in order to break the chain of transmission. Subsequent surveys of 25 abalone culture sites, along California's coastline, from Crescent City to La Jolla were conducted between 2001 and 2009 (Culver and Kuris 2000; Moore et al. 2007; Moore et al. 2013). The eradication program was apparently successful, with no subsequent occurrences of the worm (Moore et al. 2013). We do not know the cost of the damage to the cultured abalone crop, or of the resulting research, eradication, and monitoring programs, but it was probably significant.