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The epidemiology of the sea lice, Caligus elongatus Nordmann, in marine aquaculture of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., in Scotland

Revie, Crawford and Gettinby, George and Treasurer, J.W. and Rae, Gordon H (2002) The epidemiology of the sea lice, Caligus elongatus Nordmann, in marine aquaculture of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., in Scotland. Journal of Fish Diseases, 25 (7). pp. 391-399. ISSN 0140-7775

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Abstract

Although Caligus elongatus is one of two major species of sea lice that parasitize farmed salmon, its epidemiology has not been extensively studied. In this communication, the abundances of the adult stage of C. elongatus in salmon populations from 33 farms in the West of Scotland between 1997 and 2000 have been analysed for evidence of seasonal and annual patterns. The findings indicate that the pattern of C. elongatus is remarkably consistent from year to year, and directly opposed to that reported for Lepeophtheirus salmonis, the other major caligid species. In particular, adult infestations rapidly increase from the start of July each year, and are more prevalent on salmon in the first year of production than the second year. Treatment is seen to have an effect on levels of infestation but it is not clear why this species should have significantly lower levels of abundance in the second year of production. There is also evidence that fallowing has no effect on abundance. Strategic management programmes for the control of sea lice on salmon farms, which are increasingly effective in controlling L. salmonis, may also have to give greater consideration to C. elongatus.