Estimating the temporal overlap between post-smolt migration of Atlantic salmon and salmon lice infestation pressure from fish farms

KW Vollset, BT Barlaup, S Mahlum, PA Bjørn, OT Skilbrei
2016 Aquaculture Environment Interactions  
To be able to design effective management to alleviate wild fish from parasite infestation pressure from fish farms, it is pivotal to understand when post-smolts migrate past areas of potential exposure to salmon lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis. Here, data from release groups of coded-wire-tagged Atlantic salmon Salmo salar smolts and their subsequent recaptures in a trap net in the outer fjord 12 to 97 km from the various release sites were used to estimate the smolts' progression rate and their
more » ... rrival time in an outer fjord in Norway. The arrival time estimates to the outer fjord are compared with modelled infestation pressure from local fish farms. The overall progression rate varied from 0.8 to 31.2 km d −1 (0.05 to 2.20 body lengths s −1 ), with mean and median values of 8.8 and 7.8 km d −1 , respectively (0.60 and 0.54 body lengths s −1 ). The progression rate varied with water discharge from the rivers into the fjords, fish length, condition factor and smolt origin. Simulated arrival time and capture of wild smolts suggest that smolts from the different rivers arrive in the outer fjord system with a difference of up to 4 wk. The arrival time for the rivers with the longest migration was estimated to be from mid-May throughout June. Infestation pressure from fish farms increased from the beginning of June in 2 of 3 study years, suggesting that an increase in lice exposure from fish farms will overlap with smolts from late-migrating populations in some but not all years.
doi:10.3354/aei00195 fatcat:cbfchz436narlazek24ylkcnqq