Wild juvenile salmonids in Muchalat Inlet, British Columbia, Canada: factors associated with sea lice prevalence

Ahmed Elmoslemany, Crawford W. Revie, Barry Milligan, Lance Stewardson, Raphael Vanderstichel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The Muchalat Inlet, British Columbia, is among the most westerly points at which aquaculture is practiced in Canada. In this paper, we summarise data from over 18 000 wild fish sampled at 16 sites over an 8 yr period, between 2004 and 2011. The most prevalent wild species was chum salmon Oncorhynchus keta (82.4%), followed by Chinook O. tshawytscha (10%) and coho O. kisutch (4.3%). However, inter-annual and seasonal variation was evident, and smaller numbers of other Pacific salmon and stickleback species were sporadically observed. A high percentage of wild salmon (∼95%) had no sea lice parasites present, with less than 1% of the fish hosting a mobile-stage sea louse. Of the data for which sea lice species were recorded, just over 96% of samples were identified as Lepeophtheirus salmonis. Logistic regression models assessed the association between the presence of lice and a range of independent variables. These models indicated a significant degree of spatial variation, much of which could be explained in terms of salinity levels. There were also important variations through time, both over the season within a year and across years. In addition, coho salmon were significantly more likely (odds ratio = 1.65; 95% CI = 1.20-2.3) to be infected than chum salmon. The protective effect of low salinity was most clearly seen at values lower than 15 psu, although this was dependent on fish species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-120
Number of pages14
JournalDiseases of Aquatic Organisms
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • chum salmon
  • ectoparasite
  • epidemiology
  • lepeophtheirus salmonis
  • oncorhynchus
  • salinity
  • Vancouver island


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