Language selection


Marine reservoirs of infectious agents associated with proliferative gill disorders in farmed salmon



Gill diseases contribute to economically important production losses in Atlantic salmon aquaculture. This project will improve our understanding of reservoirs of infections with infectious agents associated with these disorders. One of these, amoebic gill disease (AGD), was diagnosed for the first time in BC in 2014 and the causative agent, Paramoeba perurans, has been detected in BC. Another agent that is associated with proliferative gill inflammation (PGI) in Europe, the microsporidian Desmozoon lepeophtherii, has been detected in BC and Washington State. Several cases of a PGI-like condition were reported in farmed salmon in BC in 2015. This proposal capitalizes on an opportunity to benefit from a unique set of samples: juvenile salmon collected by industry as part of their sea lice certification program. Specifically, these samples will be examined for evidence of their involvement as reservoirs of infection with agents associated with proliferative gill disorders in farmed salmon. The objectives of this project are to:

  1. Determine distribution of P. perurans and D. lepeophtherii in wild Pacific salmon and salmon lice collected in proximity to marine netpens;
  2. Describe the occurrence of proliferative gill lesions in wild fish;
  3. Characterize the genomic sequence of BC variants of P. perurans and D. lepeophtherii;
  4. Conduct laboratory transmission studies to identify and quantify (host and environmental) parameters surrounding transmission of causative agent between candidate reservoir species and Atlantic salmon.

These objectives reflect the knowledge gaps concerning PGI and causal agents in farmed salmon in BC. The key anticipated project outcome will be knowledge related to the distribution and causes of PGI in BC. This knowledge will inform further development of farmed fish health management strategies.





Program Name

Program for Aquaculture Regulatory Research (PARR)


2016 - 2018

Principal Investigator

Simon Jones
Research Scientist, Pacific Biological Station

Date modified: