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Confidence in assessing the effectiveness of bath treatments for the control of sea lice on Norwegian salmon farms

Jimenez, Daniel F. and Heuch, Peter A and Revie, Crawford W. and Gettinby, George (2012) Confidence in assessing the effectiveness of bath treatments for the control of sea lice on Norwegian salmon farms. Aquaculture, 334-349. pp. 58-65. ISSN 0044-8486

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The salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis is the most important ectoparasite of farmed salmonids in the Northern hemisphere, having a major economic and ecological impact on the sustainability of this sector of the aquaculture industry. To a large extent, control of L. salmonis relies on the use of topical delousing chemical treatments in the form of baths. Improvements in methods for the administration and assessment of bathtreatments have not kept pace with the rapid modernization and intensification of the salmon industry. Bathtreatments present technical and biological challenges, including best practice methods for the estimation of the effect of licetreatment interventions. In this communication, we compare and contrast methods to calculate and interpret treatmenteffectiveness at pen and site level. The methods are illustrated for the calculation of the percentage reduction in mean abundance of mobile lice with a measure of confidence. Six different methods for the calculation of confidence intervals across different probability levels were compared. We found the quasi-Poisson method with a 90% confidence interval to be informative and robust for the measurement of bathtreatment performance.