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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 12:559-570 (2020)  -  DOI:

Dynamics of dissolved oxygen inside salmon seacages with lice shielding skirts at two hydrographically different sites

Kristbjörg Edda Jónsdóttir1,*, Zsolt Volent2, Jo Arve Alfredsen1

1Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Engineering Cybernetics, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway
2SINTEF Ocean, NO-7465 Trondheim, Norway
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Shielding skirts are widely used as a non-invasive preventive measure against salmon lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis infestations on Atlantic salmon Salmo salar in sea-cages. Low levels of dissolved oxygen (DO) are reported from some sites, but not others. This disparity is usually explained by local variations in current flow and hydrography. The aim of the present study was to investigate these local variations through vertical mapping of DO and hydrography at 2 hydrographically different sites equipped with shielding skirts. The 2 sites chosen, Fornes and Soløya, are in northern Norway and are equipped with a permeable and a non-permeable skirt, respectively. Over a period of 3 d, current speed and direction were recorded outside the cage, while DO and hydrography were measured both inside and outside the cage, above and below the skirt. At Fornes, the DO inside the cage varied throughout the study period, while DO outside remained stable. The variation in DO inside the cage co-occurred with variations in strength and depth of a present pycnocline that broke down during the study period. At Soløya, DO levels were high throughout the study, and there was no gradient in salinity, temperature or density, indicating good vertical mixing. These data illustrate how the interaction between skirts and local conditions can influence the temporal and spatial variations of DO inside shielded cages and highlight the importance of studying local current conditions and hydrography when applying shielding skirts.

KEY WORDS: Lice shielding skirts · Dissolved oxygen · Pycnocline · Current flow pattern · Atlantic salmon · Salmon lice · Sea-cage environment

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Cite this article as: Jónsdóttir KE, Volent Z, Alfredsen JA (2020) Dynamics of dissolved oxygen inside salmon seacages with lice shielding skirts at two hydrographically different sites. Aquacult Environ Interact 12:559-570.

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