Citation Frenzl B, Stien LH, Cockerill D, Oppedal F, Richards R, Shinn A, Bron J & Migaud H (2014) Manipulation of farmed Atlantic salmon swimming behaviour through the adjustment of lighting and feeding regimes as a tool for salmon lice control. Aquaculture, 424-425, pp. 183-188. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquaculture.2013.12.012
Abstract This paper describes a study in which environmental manipulation of salmon swimming depth was tested in an attempt to reduce farm infection of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar by the salmon louse, Lepeophtheirus salmonis. The effects of submerged artificial lighting (positioned at 10m depth) in combination with submerged feeding (delivered at 5m depth) were tested with respect to salmon swimming depth and sea lice infection, following the hypothesis that L. salmonis infection in a commercial salmon population is reduced when exposed to deep lighting and feeding. This is based on two assumptions, firstly that planktonic L. salmonis larvae principally remain in surface waters (top 4m) and secondly, that deep lighting and feeding attract salmon to deeper water depths. Results from commercial scale trials confirmed that salmon swimming behaviour is altered under submerged feeding conditions with fish attracted to the feeding corridor during the feeding process. When the fish reached satiation or feeding ceased, they returned to the surface waters during the day. Submerged lighting attracted the fish to the illuminated water depths during the night. During the day, natural light overruled these effects to some extent. The number of L. salmonis on fish exposed to deep submerged lighting was significantly lower than the number of lice found on salmon in cages with surface lighting during the summer months. Submerged feeding showed no advantage over surface feeding with respect to the number of L. salmonis found in these trials. The results of the study suggest that swimming depth manipulation can be used at a commercial scale to reduce salmon lice burdens on Atlantic salmon stocks.