Caged Atlantic salmon as sentinels for the abundance and distribution of infective Lepeophtheirus salmonis copepodids in the Broughton Archipelago: a pilot study
Health management of cultured salmon in B.C. includes scheduled monitoring of parasitic sea lice, including Lepeophtheirus salmonis. Farmed stock are treated if sea lice infestations exceed the threshold defined in the Provincial Sea Lice Action Plan. Although infestations of farmed Atlantic salmon persist, associated disease has been virtually absent in B.C. and the parasite is considered a nuisance. The extent to which local environmental (e.g., salinity, temperature, currents) and biological (e.g., abundance, distribution and diversity of wild hosts) processes not associated with salmon farming regulate levels of sea lice risk within the Broughton Archipelago is poorly understood. There is very little information on the abundance and distribution of wild salmonid hosts in the BA particularly in the winter months, therefore farmed Atlantic salmon continue to be implicated as the most abundant hosts. A method for quantifying the abundance of planktonic sea lice larvae during the winter months is needed, particularly during the weeks and months prior to the out-migration of juvenile pink and chum salmon.
The objective of the proposed research is to determine the feasibility of using proven Scottish sentinel cage technology to better characterize the distribution of infective copepodids in the Broughton Archipelago.
2007 - 2009
Pacific: Vancouver Island West Coast
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