Effect of ectoparasite infestation density and life-history stages on the swimming performance of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBui S, Dempster T, Remen M, Oppedal F (2016) Effect of ectoparasite infestation density and life‑history stages on the swimming performance of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar. Aquacult Environ Interact 8:387-395 10.3354/aei00184
To overcome sustainability obstacles and improve operations, the Atlantic salmon farming industry is testing novel approaches to production. Redistributing farm sites to offshore locations is one such solution; however, tolerance to high-current velocity sites must be considered, particularly if fish health status is compromised by parasites. We tested the effect of parasite density and life-history stage on the swimming performance of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar using a swim flume. Salmon with 3 different salmon lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis densities (0, 0.02 ± 0.01 and 0.11 ± 0.01 lice cm-2 [mean ± SE]) were tested across the 4 major life-history stages of lice (copepodid, chalimus, pre-adult and adult) for critical swimming performance (Ucrit). Salmon Ucrit declined slightly by a mean of 0.04 to 0.10 body lengths s-1 with high parasite densities compared to uninfested and low densities, across the lice stages, while progression through the parasite life-history stages had little effect on swimming performance. Our results suggest that increasing infestation density of salmon lice incurs negative fitness consequences for farmed Atlantic salmon held in high-current velocity sites, with little difference in costs associated with attachment by different life-history stages of the lice.