Sea trout (Salmo trutta L.) stocks on the West Coast of Scotland and Ireland have decreased due to reduced survival during the marine phase of their life cycle. Lice-infested sea trout returning to rivers could indicate that parasite burdens are contributing to the decline. Salmon farms represent a potential source of substantial quantities of sea lice, leading to a conjectured link between parasites on salmon fish farms and infestations on wild sea trout. To investigate the potential infective pressure on sea trout in Loch Shieldaig, offshore and sub-littoral plankton samples were collected and analysed for sea lice nauplius and copepodid stages. During the plankton survey, numbers of sea lice on a fish farm in the loch reached a maximum in November 2001. Soon after, numbers of sea lice larvae peaked in open-water samples and then in sub- littoral samples. Nauplii were found adjacent to the farm and occurred less elsewhere. This study reports a concentration of sea lice larvae at the head of Loch Shieldaig and indicates a possible relationship between sea lice numbers on the fish farm and lice larvae densities in the open-water of the loch and in the sub-littoral zone.
- LEPEOPHTHEIRUS-SALMONIS COPEPODA
- DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES
- CALIGUS-ELONGATUS VONNORDMANN