Multivariate evaluation of the effectiveness of treatment efficacy of cypermethrin against sea lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

Daniel F. Jimenez*, Crawford W. Revie, Simon P. Hardy, Peder A. Jansen, George Gettinby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: The sea louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis is the most important ectoparasite of farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in Norwegian aquaculture. Control of sea lice is primarily dependent on the use of delousing chemotherapeutants, which are both expensive and toxic to other wildlife. The method most commonly used for monitoring treatment effectiveness relies on measuring the percentage reduction in the mobile stages of Lepeophtheirus salmonis only. However, this does not account for changes in the other sea lice stages and may result in misleading or incomplete interpretation regarding the effectiveness of treatment. With the aim of improving the evaluation of delousing treatments, we explored multivariate analyses of bath treatments using the topical pyrethroid, cypermethrin, in salmon pens at five Norwegian production sites.Results: Conventional univariate analysis indicated reductions of over 90% in mobile stages at all sites. In contrast, multivariate analyses indicated differing treatment effectiveness between sites (p-value < 0.01) based on changes in the proportion and abundance of the chalimus and PAAM (pre-adult and adult males) stages. Low water temperatures and shortened intervals between sampling after treatment may account for the differences in the composition of chalimus and PAAM stage groups following treatment. Using multivariate analysis, such factors could be separated from those which were attributable to inadequate treatment or chemotherapeutant failure.Conclusions: Multivariate analyses for evaluation of treatment effectiveness against multiple life cycle stages of L. salmonis yield additional information beyond that derivable from univariate methods. This can aid in the identification of causes of apparent treatment failure in salmon aquaculture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number258
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Veterinary Research
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2013


  • Atlantic salmon
  • Lepeophtheirus salmonis
  • multivariate analysis
  • treatment effectiveness
  • aquaculture
  • sea louse
  • fish farming
  • ectoparasites


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