Assessing the lice cleaning efficacy and diet of lumpfish in Canadian Atlantic salmon sea cages using metabarcoding and conventional diet analysis
The salmon aquaculture industry is a highly profitable industry, known to contribute significantly to the Canadian economy. During this time an ectoparasite called the sea louse may infect the salmon leading to animal welfare concerns a significant economic loss. Lumpfish are a species of cleaner fish used as a biological control for sea lice and offer a more sustainable and ecologically friendly option for sea lice management than previous chemical controls. They are a recent addition to Canadian aquaculture, and their cleaning efficacy must be well understood under Canadian conditions. The identification of whole diet and sea lice presence in lumpfish stomachs using conventional analysis and metabarcoding will aid in future efforts to enhance lumpfish cleaning efficacy. This research will benefit the industry partner, offering potential for economic gain and more efficient aquaculture management. And benefit the intern in completing a MSc thesis.