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Keywords:

  • Atlantic salmon;
  • filter-feeding bivalves;
  • integrated multi-trophic aquaculture;
  • Lepeophtheirus salmonis ;
  • Salmo salar ;
  • sea lice

Abstract

Population management of Lepeophtheirus salmonis in Canada currently relies on chemotherapeutants to remove attached stages of the ectoparasite. However, some populations of L. salmonis are developing resistance to chemotherapeutants making alternate management measures necessary. This article explores the ability of filter-feeding shellfish [i.e. blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) and Atlantic sea scallops (Placopecten magellanicus)] to consume the copepodid stages of L. salmonis in the laboratory under static and flowing water conditions, with variable copepodid densities, and with the aid of a light attractant. Mytilus edulis consumed copepodids under both static and flowing water conditions, and the proportion of individuals ingested was similar at low and high copepodid densities, suggesting that M. edulis was not saturated at the concentrations tested. Also, M. edulis consumed more copepodids when a light attractant was present, suggesting that lights may be useful to concentrate widely dispersed copepodids around cultured shellfish in the field. Finally, P. magellanicus consumed the same number of copepodids as an equivalent total wet weight of M. edulis. During each of the four separate experiments, shellfish consumed between 18 and 38% of the copepodids presented per hour, suggesting that both species are well suited for low level removal of copepodids over time.