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Evaluating the effect of clustering when monitoring the abundance of sea lice populations on farmed Atlantic salmon

Revie, Crawford and Gettinby, George and Treasurer, J.W. and Wallace, C. (2005) Evaluating the effect of clustering when monitoring the abundance of sea lice populations on farmed Atlantic salmon. Journal of Fish Biology, 66 (3). pp. 773-783. ISSN 0022-1112

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Abstract

Using cluster random sampling theory and empirical estimates of the intra-class correlations for sea lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis abundances, methods on how best to sample Atlantic salmon Salmo salar from cages on farms were derived. Estimates of intra-class correlations for the abundance of the chalimus and mobile sea lice stages on Atlantic salmon in Scottish farms are given. These correlations were higher for mobile stages than for chalimus, and they had a substantive effect on increasing the number of cages and fish to be sampled for all sea lice stages. An important finding is that it is better to have a procedure that randomly samples a large number of cages using a small number of fish from each. This finding and the cluster random sampling approach have relevance to the monitoring of all marine species being farmed in cages or tanks.