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Field testing "green-technology" sea lice traps and documenting on-site dynamics of sea lice early life history



The sea louse, Lepeophtheirus salmonis, continues to be a global problem for salmon farming operations Chemo-therapeutants and animal husbandry practices have been used to keep the parasites under control, however, studies have indicated that sea lice are starting to become resistant to therapeutants with continued exposure. There is also concern over the impacts of therapeutants upon the ecosystem in which they are being used. Additionally, operational practices at farm sites could be contributing to the magnification of sea lice infections on the salmon if control measures are not being used for all sea lice life stages (e.g. eggs) thereby allowing the parasite to continue to breed more successfully. A more integrated approach to pest management, including the use of alternative (non-chemical) treatments would be helpful in supplementing chemical treatments and preventative husbandry practices. Light-based traps are considered an additional (non-chemical) treatment method. In this particular study, traps were demonstrated in laboratory trials to significantly increase the removal rate of sea lice larvae from the water column, as larvae (both nauplii and copepodites) responded strongly to light. This project will field test the concept that physical light-based traps, in conjunction with an understanding of the on-site sea lice larval dynamics, can play a role in helping to control sea lice populations. It will also analyze and refine the effectiveness of the traps to specifically target sea lice and minimize the capture of non-target species.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2012 - 2014


Pacific: Vancouver Island West Coast

Principal Investigator(s)

Shawn Robinson

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