Journal : ICES Journal of Marine Science , vol. 59 , p. 131–139 , 2002
Publisher : Oxford University Press
International Standard Numbers
Printed : 1054-3139
Electronic : 1095-9289
Publication type : Academic article
Issue : 1
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The abundance of salmon lice was examined in two stocks of sympatric anadromous Arctic char and sea trout in sub-Arctic regions in northern Norway in June, July, and August 1992 and 1993. One stock feeds in a coastal area exposed to moderate salmon farming activity (exposed area), while the other feed in a region without salmon farms (unexposed area). The salmon lice infestation on both species differed significantly between the exposed and unexposed area as well as between years and also between weeks within the same year. We did not detect, however, any clear significant differences in salmon lice abundance between sympatric populations of Arctic char and sea trout, or between different size groups of the species. The 1992 and 1993 infestation pattern in the exposed area showed an epidemic tendency in both Arctic char and sea trout, characterised by a sudden increase in both prevalence and abundance of lice larvae in July 1992 (23.6±25.7 lice/fish) and August 1993 (19.9±20.8 lice/fish). We therefore suggest that salmon lice epidemics, previously only observed on sea trout, may also occur in populations of Arctic char, and that fish farming contributes to the elevated lice level in wild fish. The fish in the unexposed area were also infested, although at significantly lower levels than fish from the exposed area. The infestation peaked in August 1992 at 13.0±18.1 lice/fish and August 1993 at 3.9±4.5 lice/fish, suggested that lice originating on ascending wild Atlantic salmon, or lice larvae drifting from farming areas, may infest Arctic char and sea trout also in unexposed localities in Subarctic areas.