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Confidence in assessing the effectiveness of bath treatments for the control of sea lice on Norwegian salmon farms

Jimenez, Daniel F., Heuch, Peter A., Revie, Crawford W., Gettinby, George
Aquaculture 2012 v.344-349 pp. 58-65
Lepeophtheirus salmonis, Salmonidae, chemical treatment, confidence interval, economic impact, fish farms, lice, louse control, modernization
The salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis is the most important ectoparasite of farmed salmonids in the Northern hemisphere, having a major economic and ecological impact on the sustainability of this sector of the aquaculture industry. To a large extent, control of L. salmonis relies on the use of topical delousing chemical treatments in the form of baths. Improvements in methods for the administration and assessment of bath treatments have not kept pace with the rapid modernization and intensification of the salmon industry. Bath treatments present technical and biological challenges, including best practice methods for the estimation of the effect of lice treatment interventions. In this communication, we compare and contrast methods to calculate and interpret treatment effectiveness at pen and site level. The methods are illustrated for the calculation of the percentage reduction in mean abundance of mobile lice with a measure of confidence. Six different methods for the calculation of confidence intervals across different probability levels were compared. We found the quasi-Poisson method with a 90% confidence interval to be informative and robust for the measurement of bath treatment performance.