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Association between sea lice from Atlantic Salmon farms and sea lice infestation on juvenile wild Pacific salmon in British Columbia

National Peer Review – National Capital Region

June 24, 2022
Virtual Meeting

Chairperson: Estelle Couture


Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), under the Sustainable Aquaculture Program, is committed to deliver science-based decision making related to sustainable aquaculture activities.

Sea lice are naturally occurring ectoparasites that can be found on marine fish in Canadian waters. Sea lice infestations can occur on salmon aquaculture sites and represent an ongoing challenge to the aquaculture industry and regulators in managing infestations and their potential impacts to negatively affect wild juvenile Pacific salmon populations in various geographic regions of British Columbia (BC). DFO Aquaculture Management requested Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat (CSAS) peer-reviewed science advice to inform the development and application of adaptive management approaches to address interactions between sea lice infestations in salmon aquaculture and wild Pacific salmon in BC. The science advice from this process is expected to further inform the development of aquaculture policy in DFO’s Conditions of Licence regarding the management of sea lice infestations on salmon farms. While there are several species of sea lice, the focus of this request for advice was Lepeophtheirus salmonis.

Note: The request for science advice related to sea lice in BC will be delivered in two parts. Part 1 will determine the association between sea lice on Atlantic salmon farms and sea lice infestation on juvenile wild Pacific salmon in BC. Part 1 will be delivered as a Science Response. Part 2 will build on Part 1 to conduct a risk assessment of sea lice in BC. Part 2 will be delivered as a full national peer review process.


Part 1 will address the following objectives:

  1. Estimate the number of copepodids (infective sea lice larval stage) produced by Atlantic Salmon farms in BC under current farm management practices;
  2. Summarize counts of sea lice on juvenile wild Pacific salmon in BC; and
  3. Determine the statistical strength of association between sea lice infestation pressure on Atlantic Salmon farms and sea lice prevalence on wild juvenile salmon populations in BC.

Expected Publication

Expected Participation


Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.

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