Article

Safety and efficacy of emamectin benzoate administered in-feed to Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., smolts in freshwater, as a preventative treatment against infestations of sea lice, Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Krøyer)

Citation

Stone J, Roy W, Sutherland IH, Ferguson H, Sommerville C & Endris RG (2002) Safety and efficacy of emamectin benzoate administered in-feed to Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., smolts in freshwater, as a preventative treatment against infestations of sea lice, Lepeophtheirus salmonis (Krøyer). Aquaculture, 210 (1-4), pp. 21-34. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0044-8486%2801%2900822-5

Abstract
The safety and efficacy of emamectin benzoate, administered in-feed to Atlantic salmon smolts,Salmo salar L., held in freshwater, was evaluated as a preventative treatment against sea lice, Lepeophtheirus salmonis, following transfer of fish to seawater.  In the safety study, salmon smolts held in freshwater were fed with diets containing emamectin benzoate at nominal doses of 0 (control), 50 (recommended dose) and 250 (5× recommended dose) μg kg−1 fish day−1 for 7 days (days 0–6). Actual dose rates, based on measured concentrations of emamectin benzoate in feed, differences in fish weight, and feed consumed, were 0, 54, and 272 μg kg−1day−1, respectively. On day 9, fish were transferred to seawater and observed for 14 days. No differences in feeding response, coordination, behaviour, gross and histological appearance were observed between control fish and those that received 54 μg kg−1day−1. Among smolts that received 272 μg kg−1day−1, approximately 50% exhibited darker coloration, and one fish (1%) exhibited uncoordinated swimming behaviour. No pathognomonic signs of emamectin benzoate toxicity were identified.  In the efficacy study, smolts held in freshwater were fed an unmedicated ration (control group) or emamectin benzoate at 50 μg kg−1day−1(treated group) for 7 days (days 0–6). On day 9, fish were re-distributed to eight seawater tanks, each holding 30 control and 30 treated fish. On days 28, 56, 77 and 109, respectively, control and treated fish in two tanks were challenged with L. salmonis copepodites. When lice in each group reached chalimus stage IV, fish were sampled and the numbers of lice were recorded. Fish challenged at day 109 were sampled for the second time when lice were at the adult stage. Efficacy was calculated as the reduction in the mean number of lice on treated fish relative to the mean on control fish. Treatment with emamectin benzoate resulted in an efficacy of 85.0–99.8% in fish challenged at days 28–77, from the start of treatment, and lice counts were significantly lower (P<0.001) on treated fish than on controls. When fish challenged at day 109 were sampled at day 128, efficacy was 44.3%, but survival of chalimus to adult lice on treated fish was lower, and at day 159, efficacy had increased to 73%. These results demonstrate that treatment of salmon smolts with emamectin benzoate in freshwater was well tolerated and highly effective in preventing sea lice infestation following transfer of fish to seawater.

Keywords
Sea lice; Lepeophtheirus salmonis; Atlantic salmon Salmo salar; Emamectin benzoate

Journal
Aquaculture: Volume 210, Issue 1-4

StatusPublished
Publication date31/07/2002
Publication date online01/11/2001
Date accepted by journal08/10/2001
PublisherElsevier
ISSN0044-8486