Sea lice infection levels on juvenile salmon during early seawater residency and migration out of the Strait of Georgia

PARR-2010-P-02

Description

Linked to project expansion: PARR-2011-P-11

There have been reports that suggest the poor returns of Fraser River sockeye salmon could be caused by infections with sea lice acquired from salmon farms during their northern migration from the Strait of Georgia. To determine the potential impact, if any, from salmon farms, background information is needed about the species of sea lice that are present and their numbers on juvenile salmon and non-salmonid hosts. This multi-year project involves sampling of juvenile salmonids and non-salmonids for sea lice during the out migration period. Samples are being collected from a numerous sites throughout the Strait of Georgia and Johnstone Strait to examine the role that salmon farms may play as a source of sea lice infections in wild fish. Prevalence and abundance of the different sea lice species and their developmental stages are being determined. Samples of juvenile Fraser River sockeye are also being examined for the presence of other pathogens and disease. This project is providing valuable information on:

  1. the species composition and abundance of sea lice in these areas,
  2. when and where fish become infected with sea lice,
  3. whether patterns of sea lice infection vary among years, and
  4. the overall health status of juvenile Fraser River sockeye salmon.

Program Name

Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR)

Year(s)

2010 - 2014

Ecoregion(s)

Pacific: Strait of Georgia

Principal Investigator(s)

Stewart Johnson
Pacific Biological Station, 3190 Hammond Bay Rd, Nanaimo, BC, V9T 6N7
Email: Stewart.Johnson@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Richard Beamish
Pacific Biological Station, 3190 Hammond Bay Rd, Nanaimo, BC, V9T 6N7

Marc Trudel
Pacific Biological Station, 3190 Hammond Bay Rd, Nanaimo, BC, V9T 6N7

Team Member(s)

Chrys Neville, DFO-Pacific region

Kyle Garver, DFO-Pacific region

Simon Jones, DFO-Pacific region