AEI 8:99-116 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00162

Salmon lice dispersion in a northern Norwegian fjord system and the impact of vertical movements

I. A. Johnsen*, L. C. Asplin, A. D. Sandvik, R. M. Serra-Llinares

Institute of Marine Research, PO Box 1870 Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, Norway
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The abundance and distribution of salmon lice Lepeophtheirus salmons originating from fish farms in a northern Norwegian fjord during the summer of 2010 was investigated by means of a numerical model, underpinned by field observations. In order to evaluate the robustness of the simulated distribution of the lice, we re-ran the simulation several times, changing the vertical responses of the lice to environmental cues such as light and turbulence, in addition to altering their vertical swimming velocity. The model was able to realistically reproduce the observed currents and stratification in the region. The simulated distribution of lice was not sensitive to different implementations of surface light nor to the light sensitivity level of the lice. However, the vertical swimming velocity and a mixing parameter influenced both their vertical distribution and horizontal dispersion. The aggregation of lice along land was influenced by their response to turbulent water. The simulated infectious stages of the lice were transported on average 20 to 45 km from their release site. The simulated concentrations of infectious lice varied in sync with lice infestations observed on wild fish in the area. Less than 1% of the simulated lice reached a farm site. The ratio between internal and external exposure ranged from 7 to 57%. Farms in the north of the fjord system were more exposed to lice released in the south than vice versa.


KEY WORDS: Salmon lice · Lepeophtheirus salmonis · Dispersion · Fjord · Aquaculture management · IBM · Model


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Cite this article as: Johnsen IA, Asplin LC, Sandvik AD, Serra-Llinares RM (2016) Salmon lice dispersion in a northern Norwegian fjord system and the impact of vertical movements. Aquacult Environ Interact 8:99-116. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00162

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