A recently compiled national database on sea lice infestations on farmed Atlantic salmon, contains detailed records for the period 1996 to 2000 from over 30 commercial sites on the west coast of Scotland. The data indicate that the two prevalent species of lice, Lepeophtheirus salmonis and Caligus elongatus, have different trends in abundance and distinctive seasonal patterns of infestation on farmed salmon. For the economically important species L salmonis, its abundance on fish varies with the time of the production cycle, the time of year and the particular year. Weekly fluctuations in sea lice counts indicate that treatment can be very effective in controlling infestations but that the counts recover rapidly and regular treatments are necessary to ensure control. A comparison of sites using medium or large numbers of treatments suggests that they do not reduce sea lice infestations to the same levels. There is also evidence that sites using treatments based on different chemical constituents had significantly different levels of infestation.
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