The effect of a warmer climate on the salmon lice infection pressure from Norwegian aquaculture
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionICES Journal of Marine Science. 2021, . 10.1093/icesjms/fsab069
Climate change can hamper sustainable growth in the aquaculture industry by amplifying and adding to other environmental challenges. In Norway, salmon lice-induced mortality in wild salmonid populations is identified as a major risk factor for further expansion. Higher temperatures will induce increased production of salmon lice larvae, decreased developmental time from non-infective nauplii to infectious copepods, and higher infectivity of copepodids. In a warmer climate, a modelling exercise shows how these three factors lead to a significant increase in the infection pressure from farmed to wild salmonids, where the infectivity of copepodids is the term with the highest sensitivity to temperature changes. The total infection pressure gradually increases with increasing temperature, with an estimated twofold if the temperature increases from 9°C to 11°C. Thus, making it even harder to achieve a sustainable expansion of the industry with rising water temperature. This study demonstrates how bio-hydrodynamic models might be used to assess the combined effects of future warmer climate and infection pressure from salmon lice on wild salmonids. The results can be used as an early warning for the fish-farmers, conservation stakeholders and the management authorities, and serve as a tool to test mitigation strategies before implementation of new management plans.