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Providing methodology for tracing the origin of salmon lice larvae

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Figure text: The project will provide methodology for analysing different trace markers in individual salmon lice larvae. The picture shows nauplius (left) and copepodite (right). Photo: Andreas Hagemann, SINTEF.

Prevention and control of salmon lice is an ongoing challenge for the aquaculture industry. Increased knowledge about the spread of salmon lice is important in order to better deal with this challenge.

SPORLUS will provide methodology for tracing the origin of individual salmon lice larvae.  In order to verify and improve dispersal models and ultimately control and combat salmon lice, the development of a reliable method for determining the origin of salmon lice is important for understanding mechanisms behind the spread of salmon lice.

Several studies have been conducted with the aim of understanding mechanisms behind the spread of infection by salmon lice.  Various models have also been developed to estimate the spread of lice, which form the basis for the traffic light system.  Better knowledge about where salmon lice larvae come from is important in order to implement the right measures to reduce salmon lice problems in both wild and farmed fish.

Lice attach themselves to a new host while in the copepodite stage.  We need new analytical methods that can analyse small amounts in order to be able to trace back to the origin of salmon lice larvae.  Since it is likely that copepodites on one fish may originate from mother lice with different origins, it will be important to be able to analyse individuals.

SPORLUS will provide increased knowledge about possible tracing components that can distinguish between salmon lice larvae from female lice from wild and farmed fish.  Analyses that will be investigated are analyses of fat composition, isotopic ratio, and content of various elements.  If the project is successful, a further step will be to establish a database on variation in these chemical components/fingerprints between farmed fish and wild fish, which will be the basis for tracing salmon lice back to host fish.  The results of these investigations will be of great benefit to industry, research and administration.

Key Factors

Project duration

2023 - 2024

Project partners: NTNU og NMBU.

The project is financed by FHF (project number 901859)