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Identification and treatment of gyrodactylid infections in cultured Wolf-Eels (Anahichthys ocellatus)



Wolf-eels (Anarrhichthys ocellatus) are considered an appropriate new species for development in the Canadian aquaculture industry. Recent research has looked at the potential to move this culture species from experimental to commercial production. During their studies, researchers identified the Gyrodactylus spp. as a commonly occurring parasite responsible for recurring outbreaks in captive-reared wolf-eels and which impedes production. Wolf-eels are cultured at high densities to prevent innate aggressive behaviour. They also have a high reproduction rate. These two factors are thought to contribute to the fast spread of the parasite amongst cultured fish. The objective of this project is to investigate Gyrodactylus outbreaks occurring in captive reared wolf-eels, identify the species responsible, and develop an efficacious treatment protocol.

The first phase of research will involve the identification of the species of Gyrodactylus responsible for the disease outbreaks. This will include the collection of information on parasite reproduction and life-cycle which will be used to develop treatment protocols. The second phase will be to conduct controlled studies to investigate the effectiveness of different treatments (freshwater, hydrogen peroxide, formalin) and treatment protocols (dose, duration, frequency) in reducing and eliminating infections. Additional information will also be collected on various aspects of Gyrodactylus infections in wolf-eels including the behavioral, physiological and immunological responses of the wolf-eels to infections, and parasite site preferences (i.e. gill vs skin).

This research is needed to assess risk, develop treatment protocols and to provide new information that will be essential for a successful Wolf-Eels aquaculture industry.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2012 - 2013


Pacific: Vancouver Island West Coast

Principal Investigator(s)

Simon Jones

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