Get access

Use of agent-based modelling to predict benefits of cleaner fish in controlling sea lice, Lepeophtheirus salmonis, infestations on farmed Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L.

Authors

  • M L Groner,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Health Management, Centre for Veterinary and Epidemiological Research, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • R Cox,

    1. Department of Health Management, Centre for Veterinary and Epidemiological Research, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author
  • G Gettinby,

    1. Department of Mathematics & Statistics, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • C W Revie

    1. Department of Health Management, Centre for Veterinary and Epidemiological Research, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author

Correspondence M L Groner, Department of Health Management, Centre for Veterinary and Epidemiological Research, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Ave, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3, Canada (e-mail: maya.groner@gmail.com)

Abstract

Sea lice, Lepeophtheirus salmonis, are ectoparasites of farmed and wild salmonids. Infestations can result in significant morbidity and mortality of hosts in addition to being costly to control. Integrated pest management programmes have been developed to manage infestations, and in some salmon farming areas, these programmes include the use of wrasse. Wrasse prey upon the parasitic life stages of L. salmonis and can be stocked on farms at varying densities. Despite considerable variation in the usage of wrasse, there are few quantitative estimates of how well they can control sea lice and how best to optimize their use. To explore at what densities wrasse should be stocked in order to meet specific control targets, we built an individual-based model that simulates sea lice infestation patterns on a representative salmonid host. Sea lice can be controlled through the use of chemical treatments as well as by wrasse predators. We found that the wrasse can effectively control sea lice, and the densities of wrasse needed for effective control depend upon the source of the infestation and the targeted level of control. Effective usage of wrasse can result in decreased use of chemical treatments and improved control of sea lice.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary