Evidence of salmon lice-induced mortality of anadromous brown trout (Salmo trutta) in the Hardangerfjord, Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionØystein Skaala, Steinar Kålås & Reidar Borgstrøm (2014) Evidence of salmon lice-induced mortality of anadromous brown trout (Salmo trutta) in the Hardangerfjord, Norway, Marine Biology Research, 10:3, 279-288, DOI: 10.1080/17451000.2013.810756 10.1080/17451000.2013.810756
The Hardangerfjord, western Norway, is an area with a high concentration of salmon farms, high levels of infection of salmon lice in anadromous brown trout, and declining trout populations. This study assessed the marine survival rate of anadromous trout from the River Guddalselva, in the central part of the fjord, and tested the hypothesis that trout populations in this area are depressed by salmon lice infection. From 2001 to 2011, all descending smolts and trout returning from the fjord were captured in the traps at the field station of the Institute of Marine Research. In 2004 and 2005, parts of the smolt cohorts were treated with the Substance EX to prevent sea lice infection. From 2007 to 2010, all smolts (n=3557) were also tagged with individual tags. The results show a survival rate in the sea of only 0.58–3.41% for tagged smolts, which is extremely low. The highest survival rates appeared in the years with the lowest recordings of salmon lice in spring. The survival rate of Substance EX-treated smolts and controls was 3.41% and 1.76%, respectively. These findings suggest that salmon lice infection is an important contributor to the high mortality of anadromous trout populations in the Hardangerfjord.