Defining the risk of sea lice infections through the development of an understanding of the early life history population dynamics of sea lice associated with Atlantic salmon aquaculture sites in the Bay of Fundy



A better understanding of the early life history infection dynamics of sea lice on salmon farms is essential to implementing more effective management measures aimed at disrupting the reproductive cycle of sea lice. Past management approaches have treated sea lice larval stages as passive particles thought to be swept away from farms with oceanographic currents; however, data confirming this assumption are scarce. Field sampling has shown that larvae are most often found in close proximity to active salmon farms, and lab studies have shown that sea lice populations can successfully reproduce in tanks with high flushing rates. These observations suggest that larval stages are far from being passive particles, and that they have certain early life history characteristics that allow them to remain on salmon farms rather than being passively flushed away by currents. The rapid proliferation of sea lice to epidemic levels results in significant challenges to the aquaculture industry, and can have unintended impacts on wild populations, including other fish and invertebrates. This project examines the relative risk of amplification and transmission of sea lice within the salmon aquaculture industry in the Bay of Fundy. The research will provide insight into infection dynamics within a farm as well as an assessment of the risk of transmission of sea lice to wild salmon farther away from the farm.






Aquaculture research: Alternative control methods for managing sea lice

Program Name

Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR)


2014 - 2017


Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary

Principal Investigator(s)

Shawn Robinson
Research Scientist, St. Andrews Biological Station
531 Brandy Cove Road, St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Team Member(s)

Terralynn Lander

Emily Nelson

Fred Page

Collaborative Partner(s)

Keng Pee Ang, Cooke Aquaculture Inc.

Gregor Reid, University of New Brunswick